The clocks went forward last night, so that’s the official start of British summertime, Warsash sailing club are holding the 3rd race of the spring series, but here at SYC we are still battling it out in the winter series. Maybe next year we can look at the race schedule and not drag winter out any longer than it needs to be. No wonder the daffodils are confused.
I decided not to race to today, for no other reason than I didn’t want to. I think I need some of that shampoo Cheryl Cole is advertising, the one that’s “gonna get me Mojo back, why aye pet bonnie lad”. However, seeing how the forecast of light west winds for today transformed into winds gusting in excess of 40 knts, I made the right call. My crew are oblivious of the fact that ‘it’s me mojo that’s went’ (Cheryl speak), they just think I’m an old salt that can forecast the weather accurately by gazing skyward, squeezing the seaweed, and seeing whether the man or the woman comes out of the cuckoo clock first!
16 skippers and crews made their boats ready for today’s race. In each of the classes the first place in the series could still be decided by the outcome of today’s race. In the Sports Boat Class, Humdinger and Shere Kahn were both in contention for 1st in the series, in Class A it was between Ruffian and Vado, and in Class B Tomahawk and Bandit.
Shere Kahn and Ruffian were out practicing the day before the race, keen to get the very best from the team, as was Sparkle, however judging by their performance in the winter series so far, they were out trying to identify the difference between the blunt and the sharp end.
The race officers today, horseman of the apocalypse from ‘Free and Easy’, assisted by out of a job helm Richard Craven set a non standard course that would push the boats to the limit (and beyond in some cases). The course was South about to the green, out to the easterly, back to the green, out to the easterly, back to the red and then no. 2 to finish. (Unless your name is Dennis, then the course is “any way I want to go”).
The Sports Boats were first away, Humdinger crewed by the Wolfman and Wayne (good name for a country and western act if you ever think of diversifying), Jon, Tom and Craig, making another aggressive start to get first over, followed closely by Bruce Karen, Mick, Harry and another young un on Shere Kahn, and Sin Bin, with Richard and Richard and 3 crew who are not called Richard. Fourth boat over in Sport Boat Class was desperate Darren’s Weird fish, with Uggy, and 2 guests from Bridlington crewing a little behind the main pack. In pre-start manoeuvres Weird Fish had entertained the crowds on the balcony to some incredible bursts of speed downwind, not quite the warp factor of the starship enterprise, or the boat speed of a certain local Albin Vega, but quick none the less.
Humdinger were first to the green, and once around were first to hoist the kite, which gave them a lead that was not to be broken. You have to give it to the Dinger boys, when the going gets rough, this crew can get it going.
In Class A Ruffian and Vado were competing for first over, Ruffian just had the advantage and got the plaudit. Skipper Pete Mac desperate to win something after losing the protest last week. With regards to the protest, that battle may have been lost, but the war continues, and the findings have now been referred to the RYA. Both parties have employed the legal teams recently involved in fighting the various law suits of BMW Oracle and Alinghi. All I can say is someone’s going to lose a house.
The remainder of Class A were somewhat spread out, ‘Arry Arundale skippering Dash, with among the crew, the clavicle kid, whose main task this trip was to use his sticky out bit to open the can of condensed milk Judith had brought, to go with the ‘sell by date’ apple turnovers Mr. Pastry had brought, and our new Vice Commodore, TT Nick Taylor, Kassy, Troika, and a last minute Swanshot. Also starting with Class A was Richard ‘aye aye’ Redmond, on Susi 4. This was a mistake not noticed by the officials, as he was supposed to be starting with Class B.
In Class B, Tomahawk, with skipper Tom Clark, and winter crew, Steve Parker, whose own boat is still in a pizza oven in Whitby, but I’m told the pepperami and 4 cheeses will be going on next week, Rudi, who suffered a severe buttock injury in the last race, that still needed a twice daily application of a bread poultice (Google it) and Brian Sizer’s minder, were first over, followed by Team Pensioner, (note to Kelly, shipping someone whose under the pension age, does not disqualify you from being team pensioner, the average age still qualifies you for the title, and here’s the good news, you have won a packet of ‘Werthers Originals’). Jack Sparrow’s cat on Bandit, crewed by the Isabella boys, and Steve and Steve on Sparkle completed the pack.
There was one more in Class B. Our very own starship trooper Paul Andrews on racing yacht Apollo, starting somewhat behind the rest. All of Class B rounded the green and headed off to the easterly mark, with exception of Apollo. They appeared to be re enacting a drunken version of Torvill and Dean’s Bolero, as they tripped, spun, and lurched there way to the green, at which point they retired. (Paul, maybe you should read the first chapter of your novel, where the hero wins the race in arduous conditions, you might fair a tad better).
After the first lap, Humdinger led the Sports Boats, and Weird Fish retired, Darren, unusually having a sudden attack of common sense when the boat tripped and was held in the 90 degree position for several minutes. (Don’t think the visitors from brid will be back). Halfway into the second lap Sin Bin suffered sail damage which forced them to retire.
Ruffian had to issue a call for medical assistance as one of the crew was reported to be injured; they retired and headed for dock. Swanshot also retired at this point. In Class B, Sparkle retired due to sail damage. This was disappointing for them, as for the first time in the winter series, they were making the boat go, perhaps they HAD read the first chapter of Paul Andrews’s novel. Bandit were also forced to retire, mainly I think due to Jack Sparrows cat, mistakenly using a none waterproof mascara, and not being able to see the mark.
It was a race of attrition, but there were some finishers. In Sports Boat 1st was Humdinger, followed by Shere Kahn. In Class A Vado, Dash and Kassy, (Troika was disqualified for choosing to sail his own course and not the one set). In Class B, Little Jeannie (what a difference that folding prop made, eh, Kelly), Suzi 4 (who started 5 mins early) and Tomahawk.
The race officers decided that conditions were not really fit to sail a second race, (a decision which caused some people to throw the toys out of the pram). That being the case, the series winners, all well deserved, were Shere Kahn, Vado, and Tomahawk.
Tom Clark, having now won the series, and no longer having need of the crew, decided he wouldn’t give them a lift back in the dinghy so they had to swim for it.
Into the club, Steward Eddie was pleased that only one race was sailed. It was the last episode of Larkrise tonight and he did not want to miss it. Would the post office be sold, would she choose Fisher or Daniel? You could feel the tension.
So that was the last race of the winter series, and the last of my regular reports.
I would like to mention the two teams from SYC who are taking part in this year’s Round Britain and Ireland race. Pete and Emma on Ruffian, and Wave and Dave on Resolute. Safe passage to both teams, and having been, there and got the T shirt, I would like to offer them some advice. I wouldn’t presume to advise 2 such experienced teams on how to sail, but make sure your arrivals in each of the four stop overs are between 1600 and 1800hrs. That way you get two parties in each stopover.
My good and dear friend ‘Ferret’ Kennedy mastered that one, didn’t miss a party and finished second in class.
And finally, the ‘how far can you tip trophy’. Whilst I have no doubt that during today’s racing, there were many contenders, the allocation of the trophy does depend on me seeing it tip, or being presented with photographic evidence. That being said, this year’s nominees are T 4 2, when Mick sat on the downhill side when he shouldn’t have, Vado, when Steve Russell refused to ease the mainsheet in the last race and 2 Eternity, I know I haven’t raced, but this was nominated by Pete Mac, who after stepping on board to do a sea check, thought he had stood on the wobbly board at Alton Towers.
And the winner is……………………………………….Vado.
And have you noticed I haven’t mentioned the ten percent increase in the price of Cider. That’s because everyone else takes great pleasure in mentioning it to me.