For reasons we shall go into later, there were no results for this Sundays race, however, there was plenty of racing on the Saturday…
Dave Clark, a sailing instructor, (doing well for himself now he’d split from the other 4, if your not into sixties music that will have gone right over your head, Google him) had come along on Saturday to give on water training to the sports boats crews. Crews from 6 boats attended the briefing in the Sunrise café. It was to be an over tide event, and as I needed to be back early afternoon, I crewed on Sin Bin, with Rich Craven on the helm, and retiring Commodore Steve, and Fred, from Ruffian.
At the briefing, were told what to expect. It wasn’t what I expected. It was going to be hard work, the instructor read out a list of manoeuvres we would be carrying out, I wouldn’t have minded if I was going to be holding the stick, but I wasn’t. Why didn’t I just say I was too busy when first asked?
After the briefing the crews made their way to the boats. Five 707, and one cuckoo in the nest, a Sonata, had signed up for the day. I don’t think Mike Turner on Bee Sharp really meant to be there, I think hed got the dates for this course, and the subsequent one, ‘How to get your boat of the cradle in 3 easy moves’ mixed up.
Out on the water, on a dull day with a SSW breeze, the instructor announced he was laying a short course, and we would be racing. He wanted to see Kiwi drops!, (I know I hadn’t a clue either), bear away hoists, attack the start line on port, timed runs, favourite bias, committee boat end or not, among a dozen other tricks. It’s a lot to take in, our prestart preamble on Shameless usually revolves around, whether the Saturdays are better on the eye than Girls Aloud, (Girls Aloud every time), who would win the dancing, the ice dancing, the jungle or the X factor, and have we any beer on board. Now I had to concentrate, and my head was hurting. (Not in a rum punch hangover sort of way).
We had 3 races, 7 laps in one and a half hours. As well as Dave Clark, barking instructions on the VHF, we had Fred, himself a sailing instructor, on board giving his version of instructions. There is no doubt Fred is a very knowledgeable when it comes to the mysterious art of sailing, but he is definitely an advocate and fully paid up member of the Pete Ramsey Mac school of teaching. ‘If I shout they’re bound to understand’.
The 3 races passed in a blur. I recall very little, we crashed into Bee Sharp on the first start, their fault, lucky they weren’t in ‘Bits and Pieces’. We crashed into Stormchaser in the second race, our fault, but they got ahead singing ‘Catch me if you can’.
Steve Russell, on the foredeck, he’d lost the toss for the mainsheet, was up and down like Paul Lester’s health, (mostly down then). Steve wouldn’t need horlicks to make him sleep tonight. After 1.5 hrs of very close intense racing, I was feeling ‘Glad all over’ when the dinner break was announced, and my cue to leave. As we headed for the harbour, I could see the daffodils in bloom on the grassy slopes of South Cliff. ‘Here comes Summer’.
I hope you spotted I ve just weaved 4 song titles from the Dave Clark Five into the above text. The racing/training, resumed after lunch, but the breeze had picked up to make the afternoon uncomfortable and cold for the remaining crews.
Co owner of Blue Rusher, Brian Sizers minder, and Will Ferrell (Google him) lookalike Tony Owen, succumbed to a bit of seasickness, and was rendered useless for the rest of the day. No change there, Sam’s words, not mine!!!!
It had been a very useful, worthwhile, and informative morning, but I was glad now to be heading for Whitby dressed as Van Helsing. It’s a Goth thing.
Sunday morning - the 6th race of the winter series. I felt good this morning. The wind was light, just the way I like it, the sun was breaking through, and my head wasn’t banging like Kelly the drummer boy in a practice session. The clocks had gone forward, the daffodils were out, and it was an early start, so longer in the pub. Perfect.
Race officer today, Richard ‘Eye Eye’ Redmond, set course E.
In prestart manoeuvres, as we paced the line, all yesterdays lessons were going through my head, port or starboard, line bias, running start or standing start, Holly Willoughby or Fearne Cotton, (got to be Holly), one of the crew shouted Ruffians coming up behind you. I just thought it was Conan playing his favourite game, ‘lets Muller a 70’ however, as he drew alongside, we were treated to lovely rendition of ‘When Irish eyes are Smiling’, led by Daniel O’Donnell. A very moving moment.
Surprisingly we made a good start, and beat Humdinger to the green. YES, and also on the subsequent leg to the Wheatcroft. Stormchaser led the way, followed by Blue Rusher, all that learning yesterday had obviously sunk in, (Pity he wasn’t sailing as fast when the Iranians were chasing him). Shameless in 3rd, Humdinger 4th, and Grand day out 5th.
At the Wheatcroft, the Wolfman and his team hoisted the kite with super efficiency, whereas we thought it might be better to first crochet some tank tops with the pole and the spinnaker halyard, and the barber haulers, and the down haul, and the uphaul.
The lead boats spread out looking for the easterly mark, however, it was soon established it wasn’t there. The race had to abandoned, or had it. A suggestion to change the course to M, was acknowledged by Stormchaser, as they were only 10 feet from the red flag, the next bouy had the course been changed, it was pointed out to the race officer, that rules are rules, (and where would we be without any rules, that’s it France, I love Al Murray, no not the tennis player) and that you cannot change a course when boats are heading for the mark that’s missing. (You can if you’re quick replace the mark).
We thought it weas all over, opened a beer, and headed for the dock, not too disappointed; we had beaten Humdinger on one leg, had practiced a text book Kiwi drop, and were heading for the pub. Then the airwaves crackled to a suggestion from the racing yacht Apollo, ever the politician and legal eagle, ten minutes of chatter boiled down to ‘lets have a vote’, slight logistics’ problem there, where would we put the ballot box?
Into the club. Eddie was ecstatic that there making a second series of Downton Abbey. There was much discussion about what had just gone on. I stopped listening after a while. The rules are layed down, it was no ones fault, and no one got hurt. And we had still beaten Humdinger to the Wheatcroft. Happy days.