Blackwater Cup Race Report
None of the weather forecasts seem to agree, as 9 boats lined up on the Marconi line for the final race of the BJRC season. In the end the race had everything; no wind, 35+kts of wind, 180 degree shifts, sunshine, rain storms, broaches, torn sails, chinese gybes and the odd run aground!
Race officer Barry Foulds a set short course out to the Bench Head followed by loops to the Knoll and North Eagle — aware that a course shortening might be likely.
The fleet set off into a light easterly, which quickly faded away as rather ominously the eye of the storm passed over the Blackwater. The wind started to shift to the west as the first boats of Aloha and Blue Moon found themselves having to tack up to No 12 where following boats started to lift spinnakers.
A few boats tried to hold spinnakers in vain across to No 3. Blue Moon and Aloha getting caught out again and having to beat back against the tide to make the mark
All spinnakers were up again at No 3 on the roller coaster to Bench head, as the wind quickly built to over 30kts. Poohstick was the first to entertain, with an unplanned gybe and massive broach, taking several minutes to get it back under control. Dan Dare dropped her spinnaker for safety. Rocket, Aloha, Easi Rider and Caroline pushed on with spinnakers up, living on the edge most of the time
The leading boats of Aloha, Caroline and Easi Rider all had spectacular broaching moments as they attempted spinnaker gybes in 30kts — all ended up on their side taking on water. Caroline’s skipper (Andy Ellis) commented that they thought they were sinking!. Rocket and Blue Moon followed Dan Dare and preferred to goose wing their way to the Knoll — still a scary experience
Caroline pulled in 3 reefs before the Knoll turn and it proved decisive as others drifted to leeward as they pulled in their reefs.
Most boats were now having a challenging time and as the tide turned, the wind built to over 30kts and the sea started to chop up. Rocket and Blue Moon bounced on the shallow Eagle sand on the beat back to the Bench Head
Barry Foulds quickly took the right option of taking out the loop to the North Eagle and No 2 and the fleet headed for home.
On the long beat to No 3, Caroline’s decision to pull in 3 reefs and Blue Moon managing to make a headsail change, resulted in them pulling away from the chasing group of Aloha, Easi Rider and Dan Dare
The wind had now built to force 6-7 as Caroline rounded No 3 and No 12 with a straight beat home to the finish line. Subsequent boats slowed by being forced to tack up to the finish line. Aloha, Blue Moon and Easi Rider enjoyed a close battle all the way to the finish
Split spinnakers, shredded luffs and wet boats left crews exhausted but exhilarated from surviving storm forces winds! A tribute to all skippers that everyone finished safely.
In the end, a storming performance from Caroline, some 12 minutes ahead of Blue Moon on corrected time, the next 4 boats finishing within only 2 minutes of each other
Congratulations to Caroline (BJRC) and Blue Moon (IRC)
First 3 boats in BJRC fleet were:
Andy Ellis Caroline
Richard Robarts Blue Moon (skippered by Rorie Ash)
Steve Sharpe Rocket
In the IRC Class
Richard Robarts Blue Moon
Charlie Ball Silver Fox
Final Series Rankings
Playboys 11 points
Blue Moon 14 points
Aloha 18 points
Evolution 5 points
Blue Moon 7 points
McGregor III 15 points