We knew it was going to be a challenging race when our foredeck, tasked with going down below to write down the course, popped out of the hatch to ask if we had any more tape. With 16 marks to round the labyrinth of a course set by the Dragons took us down to MYA1 with numerous visits back to 24/25/26 (in varying order) which would allow the course to be shortened if the wind died.
The start saw Musical and Skipper over the line by inches and having to return, whilst Bluetack, Watersong and Cry Havoc timed the start perfectly.with Spinnakers flying. The fluky winds saw Watersong, who’d taken an early lead fall into a hole behind the flats on St Mary’s Island. This allowed the rest of the fleet to catch and pass (eat dust suckers!). However, the glory was short-lived when Watersong crossed to the north shore, sailed around us all and got to the first mark with a comfy lead. Apart from a few fleeting glimpses as we occasionally passed them heading in opposite direction Watersong’s race was won.
Whilst Watersong may have had the race in the bag, the rest of the fleet were still jockeying for position. Blue Tack sailed brilliantly just staying far enough ahead of the chasing boats to give us hope of catching them, but stretching away i front as they rounded each mark and setting off on the tide. Musical was locked in battle with Cry Havoc for third and fourth, swapping places on each opposing tack for most of the race. But the highlight of the race was definitely watching Skipper try a new rather ‘nifty’ technique flying their spinnaker sideways, I do hope someone got a photo as it’s an odds-on contender for the Sonata class’ much contested ‘Oops’ trophy.
It took until the last rounding of 26 and 25 for Musical to finally pass and stay ahead of Cry Havoc, and with the last of the incoming tide carrying the fleet down Heartbreak Reach without incident the race was done. Final results (though not official) : 1st Watersong, 2nd Bluetack, 3rd Musical, 4th Cry Havock, 5th Skipper.
Thanks to the Dragons for setting a challenging course, and to those on rescue and race officer duties.
Ian – Musical Express