Skinners Saturday points series 12th May 2018

The morning looked good, with scudding Cumulus clouds coming up from the SE, but it were reet cold! Paul Evans had swapped with Jack Penty as Race Officer and with Jeannette set up the flags and paraphernalia in the ops room. We got on board Trifle with Michelle as guest crew while Kit was away at Cub camp. While the rig was sorted I undid the mainsail tack shackle and reinserted the lower luff bullet, which had mysteriously come out of the groove. A no 1 genoa was selected although it looked a bit fresh. The cars were adjusted accordingly and off we set waiting for our 1400 start.

First away were Q class with two contenders, Tai Mo Shan and Atalanta. Tai Mo Shan went for a blaster of a start close to the quay on port tack while Atalanta with just Stuart and Rick working like a one armed paper hanger trying to hoist the main with less than 60 seconds to the start in mid stream. Their start was our 5 minute gun and so we hoisted genoa intending to follow the example of Tai Mo Shan. Eagle eyes Finn on the foredeck noticed that I had managed to trap the pole up haul in the tack shackle so Gaye armed with pliers assisted by Finn managed to free the up haul, re-attach the shackle and cope with two tacks.

Off we went following Jane Goddard in Popincoota who got an amazing start some 3 boat lengths ahead of us. Over on the western side of the fairway were the rest of U fleet with Wilkie, Kizzy and Kaimana having a tussle for positions.

W fleet who were looking good a couple of weeks ago are now back down to Sweet Friday with Len wondering about his deodorant? Come on you roughty toughty sailors. Charm represented the G fleet and good old Arthur Williams and his crew sailed Winnie in the B fleet.

Q class went Gp, Vp, Tp, Gp, Wp. U class went CAp and Vp. On Trifle we chased Popincoota hard down the fairway with rapid tacks drawing us nearer to her stern. Eventually as we cleared the fairway and powered under her lee to take the lead. The wind gave us a shifty beat and eventually we cleared the docks and port tacked down the western shore. Wilkie was down to leeward making ground in less chop while Popincoota put a short starboard hitch allowing her to clear Governor. We tacked a tad early for Castle as the pressure was dropping and I decided it was not good policy to T-bone Black Rock! Popincoota had made a significant gain in the middle ground with a healthy lifter. We were greeted by every sailor's delight with a pod of Dolphins breaking surface and going north up the channel.

Trifle rounded 1st and we set a starboard kite while looking for the Vilt. It was hidden in the hull of a moored tramp steamer but my crew soon discovered its location. The wind was aft of the beam, on the beam, well forward of the beam and darned well on the nose all at the same time? Or so it seemed! So much so that Popincoota managed a near broach and Wilkie lost a sheet with a swathe of blue kite in the wrong part of the sky! They both elected for headsails and it was a close call for us. However the wind then went on the beam and we made the mark followed by a decent gybe. The sky over Falmouth was as black as Newgate's Knocker and I pointed out the two funnel clouds dropping out of the cloudbase over the observatory skyline. I wondered if we were in for thunder and lightning and waterspouts? The rain had eased and we made progress to the club turning mark with dropping wind while the yachts behind caught up.

The kite was dropped and a beat to Governor, then Trefusis and home was the course on the club wall so off we duly went in a slightly modified wind from the first beat. As we neared the docks to get out of flood tide it all went soggy and hard to light. The wind was oscillating so frequently that the windex suffered a dizzy spell! Kaimana, Kizzy and Popincoota followed our path and were lapping at our heels while Wilkie and Sweet Friday, who had become embedded in U fleet were romping ahead with their own private gale on the opposite shore.

I get very squirmy when the wind does this and changed my seating position several times. Looking back at the boats lit by sun against the black clouds would have made a great photo. Michelle said they looked as if they were glowing Persil white! We got a puff and of we set with the beat rapidly changing to t dead run and then goosewing genoa and a gybe just before Governor. We got away from the fleet by the skin of our teeth and rounded the mark. The expected run to Trefusis was now a port beat with tell tales stuck to the sail till the rain stopped again and we rounded a healthy distance ahead of the group behind.

Wilkie had made ground and led the gaggle to Trefusis. The beat back into the harbour was a nightmare for all concerned as the wind oscillated in both strength and direction. As we got into a port reach with breeze I confidently predicted a kite finish once past the lifeboat. It happened with a great windward launch executed by Finn and Michelle. Poor old Bob and his crew on Wilkie suffered the vagaries of the wind taking him from the leader to third in the pack.

So it was that Kizzy crossed in second place followed by Kaimana, Wilkie with Popincoota bringing up the rear. We thought it quite funny that during the race we heard Charles Choak's dulcet tones on the radio asking Atalanta to pick up a hat dropped over the side of Tai Mo Shan. Thatís one way to get the opposition to do turns without penalty. In the end it was Atalanta crossing 5 seconds behind Tai Mo Shan who got 1st place on handicap.

Soggy sailors then had a feast of cakes care of two lovely ladies washed down with tea, coffee and ginger beer. See you all on Tuesday for another thrash hopefully in the dry?

Chris Jelliss