Another dubious forecast, very light, somewhere between NW and SW, with ominous calm predicted somewhere, sometime. Race Officer Jim Lawton set course K 14 X, an easy one to shorten if necessary.
Barely enough wind to stem the tide at the start, a few kedged, and a brief increase in wind with about five minutes to go allowed some sailing. A lull just before the start caused ‘Aloha’ to drift over early, but the rest of the 20 strong fleet got away cleanly, with ‘August Sky’ in the lead, a very smart spinnaker hoist with only two crew. Meanwhile ‘Aloha’ recrossed the start line, but was seen with Nigel Sheppard climbing the mast, to retrieve a lost halyard.
A very light north westerly gave a very slow run to WM3, but just before the mark a big windshift to the south caused those who had stayed low, in more tide, to have to tack to get round, with some alterations in the order, but an increase of wind to F3. ‘Aloha’, unusually, stayed well north and was catching up nicely. Now a fetch to WM1, a dead run across the tide to WM1, then another long fetch in a steady breeze to the NW Knoll, freeing off a bit to the North Eagle, with some boats trying spinnakers, not always succesfully. The order returning on another close fetch towards the Colne Bar was ‘Crazy Suzy’, ‘Absolution’, ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Barcarol’ – Kevin Knox’s First Class 8 in her debut race, ‘Triton’, ‘Behave’, ‘Easi Rider’ , ‘McGregor III’, ‘Moon Shadow, ‘Aloha’, ‘Caroline’, ‘Breezy’ – the rest of us were still going out.
Back to the Bench Head, and another circuit round the NW Knoll, N Eagle and Colne Bar, and a close beam reach all the way to WM3, with spinnakers becoming just possible, especially for those like ‘McGregor III’, who went well over to the Sales Point side before hoisting.
All apparently well after a slow start, but the wind had remained very light all day at Osea, picking up briefly around 1600 before dying away to a flat calm, which greeted the leading boats between Thirslet and Stone, allowing all later boats to catch up. About 1800 the Race Officer was relieved to see a large flotilla drifting with the tide past Marconi. The leaders drifted over the finish line, with the wind then picking up for about 20 minutes for several tight 3 and 4 boat finishes before dying away again as ‘Carolanti’ was last boat over, only 30 minutes after the first finisher.
Another day for the slow boats, ‘Moon Shadow’ romping home on corrected time from ‘Sophie’ with ‘Soprano’ eleven minutes back. It’s happened quite a few times before over the years, not a very good indicator of performance, but even so a particularly creditable showing from ‘Behave’, with only Malcolm and Rod on board, on the sort of day when this class would be expected to really struggle.
In IRC ‘Triton’ beat ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Absolution’, a reversal of the usual order.
First – ‘Moondance’ – Rod Martin – Harlow Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Sophie’ – Guy Hawkins – Blackwater SC
Third – ‘Soprano’ – Pat Murphy – Blackwater SC
First – ‘Triton’ – Peter Copsey – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Third – ‘Absolution’ – Eric Reynolds – Maylandsea Bay YC
Of the boats that have now completed five races, ‘Sophie’ has 16 points, ‘August Sky’ 23, and the rest rather a long way behind. However, ‘Moondance’ has 9 points from 4 races. The weather has produced a rather unsatisfactory series so far, and we sincerely hope for more wind for the last 3 races. In IRC ‘Absolution’ has 8 points, ‘Blue Moon’ 9, and ‘Triton’ 11, so a bit more exciting, but the boats on higher handicaps are not getting a look in.
Maldon Little Ship Club
Saturday and Sunday 13 and 14 August
Outward from the Nass to the Royal Harwich Yacht Club, and sociable evening, and back on the Sunday.
BJRC Race 7
Marconi SC Cruiser Cup
Saturday 27 August, 1030 at Marconi line
Another Saturday, but an earlier start, so back home at a reasonable hour.