Race 1 – Blackwater Cup

With all the forecasts differing, and changing every time you looked, we didn’t know what to expect, except that it would be rather cool.
Sixteen boats at the the start – excellent for the first race, but there was only just enough wind from a bit east of south to stem the tide or manoeuvre. RO George Whitchurch, in ‘Panpipe’ set an ambitious course – E 4 P, hoping for more later, but with options for shortening.
A fetch to WM3, off Tollesbury, with a few flat patches and slow progress, the faster boats getting away better, so we split into two bunches. However, when the rear group reached the mark, they saw most of the faster boats, making for WM12, due south, becalmed on the Bradwell side, some even to the east of the baffle, struggling to make any headway against the ebb. Others tried tacking back on the north side, some boldly went for the middle, but it was nearly 1430 when we heard West Mersea Committee boat ‘Molliette’ reporting 15 knots of wind from the SE further down the estuary. When a little filled in, and the leaders could round no 12, ‘Dan Dare’ was in front, followed by ‘Barcarol’, then ‘Aloha’, ‘Caroline’ etc. VHF relay boat ‘Blue Moon’ had discussed a shortening with the RO, and finally settled for leaving out the leg to the North Eagle, as the wind had finally arrived, and quickly built to a good F 3 – 4 from the south.
A close reach to WM1, a beat to WM2, a fetch to the Bench Head, then up the Colne to the Inner Bench, spinnakers for the first time, back to NW Knoll, Bench Head and round the triangle again, before the long run for home, via WM12 and WM3.
So really, the race started again after 3 hours, but we then had a good sail. A long race, and chilly by the end. No problem getting onto the moorings!
In the end it wasn’t as much of a lottery as had been feared, and ‘Dan Dare’ managed to retain her lead on corrected time to win the BJRC race from ‘Aloha’ and ‘Poohstick’, going ever better. In fourth place was Sue Sheppard and John Gibson’s ‘Moonshadow’, with Andy Pickering on the helm, starting to show her potential after disappointing performances in 2016. The IRC win went to ‘Blue Moon’.

BJRC

First – ‘Dan Dare’ – Alan Hoy – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Aloha’ – Nigel Sheppard – Blackwater SC
Third – ‘Moonshadow’ – Sue Sheppard and John Gibson – Blackwater SC

IRC

First – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Second – ‘Evolution’ – Eric Reynolds and Kevin Whittle – Maylandsea Bay YC
Third – ‘Monkey Business – Dave Onyons – Marconi SC

The full BJRC result here:

The full IRC result here: