The day dawned bright and cheery with little of the breeze that was to come later. Dan, Polly and the young apprentice Race officers set Lizzie, with the help of Kaye Price on station by the 8kt harbour entrance buoy for easterly courses. It was blowing in gusts on the mooring off FSC when I reattached the sails to Trifle but it was still a marginal no 1 genoa and that’s what Gaye, Peter and myself set off with as we slipped the mooring bound for start line and beyond. An early decision was made to dump no1 and put on our small no2 genoa, which proved more than enough.
Twenty two blokes in a far off land to the east were kicking a lumpy inflated sphere around a field, which combined with some fresh wind reduced our fleet to 22 yachts. Ultraviolet, Peter Stephens, showed some spectacular fast reaching across the ensemble of waiting yachts a couple of minutes before his start with Cornish Meadow, Steve Hutt.
The two Firebirds were gone in an instance and five minutes later 9 yachts took up the challenge to start in Q class. Their start looked close from where we were but the crack and rustle of multiple square metres of sailcloth made it difficult to see what was happening. We also needed to concentrate on our start and the boats around us as it was all happening at a rapid pace.
Six boats made it to the U class start and in Trifle we powered up on the committee boat end with a good few milliseconds to spare. The rig was a tad slack and as such we were unable to point as high as usual with the no 2. Moonlighter who was just behind us started to out point us and match our boat speed as did Popincoota to a lesser degree. That said we did a quick tack and dipped Moonlighter, which gave us a better tack angle to the first mark Ws.
Three W class yachts started and Len in Sweet Friday kept a good pace with Elli the Aphrodite 101 of Robin Roebuck. Levity, Guy English stuck in there for all it was worth. Magpie of Mylor upheld the G class boats as Miss Agnes, Mike Rangecroft, retired before the start and went back for an early beer!
Three Working Boats, Victory, Rita and Cousin Jinny started without their colourful topsails as the wind was ever increasing in strength.
The first tack toward Waterloo gave us the impression that we had gone the wrong way as most of U fleet passed ahead of us. However it is always fluky on the eastern shore with the turbulence from the land. Popincoota, Alan Grose got to the buoy and went off leading by a country mile. Next round was Mary Boon, John Cruise, who went low to lee bow the tide en route to Governor the next mark. It was a shy port reach and in less wind I would have set a kite. We got ahead of Moonlighter but got caught under her lee which allowed Ron Jones in Deep Purple to go over the top of both us and forge ahead. Governor rounded we set off for St Mawes Turning Mark and made it in 4th place behind Mary Boon. A shy Kite run to round Castle starboard and then home ensued so we hoisted our reacher kite and played catchup. Deep Purple set her large masthead kite and looked a tad overpowered in the substantial gusts. A few attempted gybes after Castle saw her wildly broaching while heading for the sewage works – reminiscent of “Those Magnificent Men”.
Popincoota was gone being chased by Mary Boon who just forged ever closer in the gusts. We chased hard and kept to the docks side, not wishing to gybe twice before the finish. Deep Purple appeared over my shoulder fresh from her toilet and slowly overhauled us up the trots to the finish, In the event we beat her into third place behind Popincoota and a victory for Mary Boon.
En route the moorings we were amazed at the sight of Rampage coming to the finish line with a full kite and a mass of white water surrounding her waterline. Later on the launch ride home I expressed my hope that a photo had been taken of her. John Hicks stated that he was doing a little more than 8 knots. I reminded him that FSC still have an exemption from HM provided the yacht is under control! A bushy eyebrow was hoisted skywards and 'nuff said!
The results will be on the website as this is published. Thanks to Race officers, Committee boat staff, Ops room operators and everyone involved in the evening. I believe the 22 blokes resolved their dilemma by a modern version of the “OK Coral”. See you Saturday. See also the report of the Menagerie race