So there it was gone, 2011. For reasons dictated by the tide this year, our annual New Years day race was held on the 2 Jan. New Year had been and gone, in fact it should have been called the bank Holiday Monday race, but that would have involved re inscribing the trophy, kindly donated by Britain's eldest (active) yachtsman, Brian Sizer.
Its probably just as well that the race was deferred a day, having seen the state that many of the entrants were in on New Years Eve, attending the Bi annual Jack Sparrow lookalike/sound-alike/wobble about like you’ve been shot alike contest, hosted this year by SYC, 2 years ago by the Appledore racing gig club, and 2013 by the Red Lion Inn, Clovelly. Make a note in your diary. So that’s enough trivia, more about today's race.
Before we carry on, its been a while since my last report, and we will have new members thinking “who is Bucko, and why is he writing a race report” I shall explain, my previous boat was the smallest in the race fleet, and invariably I was at the back of the pack. I was asked if I would write a race report, and from my vantage point at the rear, I thought “I can do that, its all going on in front of me”. So I did. Then last year I decided to move up a league, and bought the 707 Shameless. And although were invariably at the back of the pack still, mainly because my crew ,who I love dearly, and who are to yacht racing what the Marks Brothers were to Classical Theatre, (Google em,) we are still in a different weather system ahead of those of you who prefer to sail the slower boats.
16 skippers and crews made there boats ready for the ten am start on a cold, windy January morning. Why? The WSW 6 to 7 occ 9 had not put anyone off. Neither had the zub zero temperatures. Sam Kennedy has got the right approach to sailing, go somewhere warm, breezy, and with plenty of cold beer, and the only thing to worry about is whether or not the shorts will dry, before you get to the bar... Well it had put me off, ever since I fell off in 55knts SW last May, Vernon Dawson race (google it) it doesn’t take a lot to put me off. Once I’m out there I'm fine. I’m strapped on tighter than the Wolf-man on his Utterly Butterly wing walk, (hands up who remembers that) so I rely on my crew to cajole, convince, impress me that its fine to go out. And guess what, they lie. Oh yes.
The wind freshened as we made the boat ready, it’ll be fine I was told. I’ve heard that one before.
Race station duties today fell to Black Sheep. Alana Parker took up the reigns assisted by Win Russell, always good when theres glamour as well as intelligence in the race hut. (Take note Lee Scaife, cos you comply in neither category).
Course K was set, no 2 to the green which is now red, (dont ask but Rudi Barman is now Quartermaster, I think) so for the first time ever Paul Lester recognises it as green, out the easterly, back to the red, which is still red, (for now), No 2 and repeat.
5 number 707s entered the fray, Stormchaser, sneaking in a quick sail, yacht racing taking a back seat now that the New seekers tribute band they formed last year had really seen bookings take off, there’s talk of a summer season at Butlins Margate. Steve Bramhams 'Grand Day Out' Steves crew today picked from the various applicants to his lonely hearts ad on the club noticeboard. G Spot, owners Matty and Bruce just about sober now, and crew Jacks definitely not. Wolfman and Wayne and there regular crew on Humdinger, not seen much of this team this autumn, Steve and Tom on the newly acquired Black Sheep, sailing today without the Scottish 70 champion they’ve had on loan these past few weeks, and the formidable Dave Flett, and it showed. Hero to Zero eh boys.
And Shameless, with my regular crew, and today guest appearance by big Mick, whose new year resolution is to not let another Scarborough Baker, (no not Sam and Helen) go to the wall, so he’s now eating pies, not for personnel pleasure, but for the Cause!
The regular big boats were out, martin Donnellys 'Dash,' now back in Scarborough after Martins successful round Britain voyage, via all the pubs he could get to by boat. Just a small observation Martin, unless you are actually going to try make your living as a Dr Emmett Brown look a like, (google him) its time to get the shears out. Kassy were on the water, the boat with more owners than a cheap racehorse. 3 owners present today, Mick, Chris, and Doug ' lovely eyes'. (not my name for him, I was never confused, but its what the team call him, im told!) Assisted by Mr Moss, and the more glamorous half of the fabulous Baker twins, Helen.
The smallest boat was Jonny Mallory's 'Taurtus'. Spurred on by a successful Autumn series, where he just missed out on a series win, purely down to the skill, unsurpassed sailing ability, cunning and tenacity of Lee Marton in Aprilis. (I know, I know but I need my roof looking at, OK Lee). Jonny's crew were Jack Sparrows cat, on crewing duties while he makes his own vessel, ' the Queen Anne’s revenge' into a sea going boat that complies with SYC minimum requirements. You might need the help of Penn and Teller with that one! (google em). Jack's daughter Elizabeth, Sam Baker, the less glamorous half of the fabulous Baker twins, doing his best Joey Essex impersonation, looking ream in his best shades, (now most will have to google that reference). Sam was accompanied today by a mystery blond, sporting very stylish pink wellies, do they do size 12?
Leaving through the bridge to the start, I looked to see if any vessels were leaving the marina, to my surprise I saw Joker, in full sail, mating with a trawler! That’s one that Attenborough hasn’t filmed, the offspring should be interesting.!
So onto the water. When you see a Swan 37 with 2 reefs, you don’t have to be Miss Marple to realise that its windy. And the fairies frock on our Christmas tree was blowing over her head, that’s adverse weather. Too windy. Windier than the forecast, and there’s a few of us got that t shirt!
Within seconds of hoisting our main, it blew completely out of the luff groove. We sorted that and headed to the start area. 10 knts under reefed main, hoist the jib, only it stuck half way up, going to be one of them days. By the time that got sorted we were off Cayton bay, not ideal. We tacked and headed to the start, and the boat fell over, several times, (once cos big Mick hadn’t tacked when the boat did). We had a quick vote and decided that we would try and get back, alive. Our race was over. Everyone else managed to make the start, and Dash was first over. Vado were first to the green, which is remarkable seeing as its red. (The only thing theyd be first at for the rest of the day, unless you counting nearly scooping a 707 into the cockpit). The Humdinger boys tried to fly a spinnaker!!! Now that was brave.
The racing was close. A few retirements, through gear or backbone failure were inevitable. Several crewman went overboard, but were quickly retrieved, young Henry on Joker was one, but fortunately father Robin has hands the size of a drot bucket, (google it) and was able to swing him back aboard. And on Kassy, Doug 'lovely eyes' (blame Mick Holder) also decided it would be a good idea to test the water temperature with his ears.
At the finish, the results were very close. Joker were first over the line, followed very closely by Humdinger. But when the hon handicapper had shuffled the results, the race was won, and deservedly so by Starchick, the Starlight 30 that bears no resemblance to Geoff hills Starlight 30 apart from the blue stripe, so is it really one?. Whatever it is, they won, end of and congratulations.
Humdinger came a very credible 2nd , less than a minute behind, Vado 3rd and Swan shot 4th. Joker, despite taking line honours, came 7th. Come on lads wake up and smell the coffee, sell it an buy a 70!
We retired to the club to discuss our damage, (broken jib battens) which was very light compared to some. When I told Steve Bramham it was a heroic move not to reef, he explained he couldn’t, the reefing block he relied on had pulled out of the deck, and he had split the main, he couldnt reef if he wanted to. Stormchaser broke the kicker, still, a couple of gig’s at the Evron centre would soon pay for that. Eddie was unusually chirpie today, it was the end of a very busy festive period, but I think it was the Christmas edition of Downton Abbey, and the BBC new adaptation of 'Great Expectations' that had put him in a good mood. As you know, he loves a good period drama does our Eddie. On that note, I always set off to race with 'Great Expectations' and I'm always disappointed!!! Whys that I wonder.
And this years/ last years how far can you tip trophy. I should be awarding it to myself, for tipping so far I fell off and spent half an hour pretending to be an Easterly cardinal and preparing to meet my maker, (no, not baron Frankenstein). However, it being such a covetted trophy, I can hear the cries of 'cheat' already. So I have awarded it to the boat that I saw tip, and stay tipped for long enough to alarm the observers, and the winner is …........................................................... drum roll .............................................. G Spot. Congratulations Bruce and Matt. Trophy presentation date to be announced later.