A strong Easterly wind forecast – just what was needed to balance up the dominance of light westerlies so far this season. A good Force 5 and a very lumpy sea on the Marconi start line for the 18 boats present, all except Tommy Mills First Class 8 ‘Geronimo’ and Eric Reynolds’ ‘Absolution’ with a reef in the main, and most with small jibs.
Race Officer Richard Collis had a true wind reading from Walton Pier and decided that the long Easterly wind course would give too long a beat to Wallet No. 3, with the potential of stronger wind coming, while the medium course would not give enough sailing time, so selected course 9 as the best compromise, with cross tide legs D and W to start and finish.
Immediately after the start ‘Ned Kelly’ protested to the Race Officer that ‘August Sky’, ‘Absolution’, and ‘Carolanti’ had passed the wrong side of channel mark no.1 – Goldhanger Spit. The message was not heard in the busy conditions, except by ‘Absolution’, who assured the RO that they had passed correctly, but did not hear any reply.
‘Geronimo’ shot off into the lead, heading for West Mersea 12 off Pewit Island, then to WM1. On the way the fleet had a good sight of the last day of Mersea Week, with Squibs, dinghies, J80s, and classic gaffers with huge spinnakers.
It was going to be a strenuous beat all the way to the outer mark, with a trip up the Colne to Colne 8 first – a reach both ways for a bit of relaxation, but no spinnakers to be seen. ‘Soprano’ was observed as the only boat with full main and large genoa, but she took a reef in later. ‘Caroline’ looked particularly good, it could well be her day.
A one sided beat to the Spitway, some quite large seas but not too confused, then a reach back straight to the North Eagle – a change from the usual beat to get there. North West Knoll to starboard, up and down the Colne again, and a bigger gap opening up between the main fleet and the tail end of ‘Ned Kelly’, ‘McGregor III’, ‘Carolanti’ and ‘Sophie’.
A broad reach back with the flood to WM1, with the wind just starting to ease a little, some reefs being shaken out. Unfortunately, we then heard on the VHF that ‘Absolution’ had been dismasted just before Bradwell, one of the Kevlar running backstays having broken with no obvious provocation. ‘Triton’ was next behind, and stood by, but they sorted it out and motored back up river. After WM1 a few more spinnakers were hoisted – ‘Aloha’ experienced a few broaches which discouraged ‘Dan Dare’ from following suit for a time. Most others carried them for a proportion of the way home .
A few more casualties – ‘Monkey Business’ tore her mainsail and retired, and ‘Poohstick’ and ‘Quixotic’ made the ‘W’ course error and also retired, but most finished in good order, and enjoyed a different, slightly more energetic day, with special credit going to the short handed boats.
The Protest was investigated by Marconi Committee, and as a result ‘August Sky’ and ‘Carolanti’ acknowledged that they may not have sailed the correct side of Goldhanger Spit and retired. ‘Absolution’s assurance that they had observed the mark was accepted.
5 minutes redress was given to ‘Triton’ for standing by ‘Absolution’, and ‘Quixotic’ also escorted her part way up river – thanks from us all.
‘Caroline’ emerged a worthy winner after an excellent performance, followed by ‘Soprano’, also in weather to really suit her, with ‘Geronimo’ third, less than a minute behind, and having finished first over the water, after a no doubt exciting time, with only three crew. In IRC ‘Triton’ again beat ‘Blue Moon’, with ‘Crazy Suzy’ third.
First – ‘Caroline’ – Andy Ellis – Marconi SC
Second – ‘Soprano’ – Pat Murphy – Blackwater SC
Third – ‘Geronimo’ – Tom Mills – Maldon Little Ship Club
First – ‘Triton’ – Peter Copsey – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Third – ‘Crazy Suzy’ – John Littlewood – Marconi SC
Counting five races of the 7 sailed, ‘Sophie’ still leads on 16 points, ‘August Sky’ on 23, but with ‘Moondance’ on 9 points from 4 races. ‘Soprano’ is next with 27, then a cluster of boats in the 35 – 40 range, all obviously with big discards available.
In IRC ‘Absolution’ leads on 8 points, with ‘Triton’ and ‘Blue Moon’ tied on 9.
BJRC Race 8
Blackwater SC Krohn Cup
Sunday 11 September
1000 start at Osea
Back to Sunday starts for the last two races of the season.