Sonata Race Report ~ Sat 22nd Oct

Today’s race report titled: Man Vs Depth sounder
Well, what can one deduce from today’s race from the decks of the mighty Blue Tack.
This weekend’s racing was a case of “he who dares” with most crews (and when I say crews, I mean drivers) being a touch too cavalier with the depth sounders.
In “champagne” sailing conditions the fleet of 6 boats mustered as normal in the clubhouse.
The course was unusual in that a windward upriver start against the tide was organized using the clubhouse start line, followed by a longish meander downriver to Autumn or thereabouts.
6 boats made the start and at the sound of the gun a tense upriver battle began.
As the race began with most boats hugging the shallows to stay out the tide as much as possible, a close tacking battle ensued with places changing places regularly all the way up river.
We took a punt and headed to the shallows by Upnor castle which turned out to be an inspired navigational move (see captain Covid!!) and Watersong terrified by our navigational masterclass covered us by moving to the shallows. It turned out to be a pretty good move for us on Bluetack, getting to the windward mark in 2nd place behind Watersong.
We had a bit of a problem hoisting our spinnaker for the first time with one corner knotted like a hanky on a seaside postcard that lost us a bit after that going downriver but this did not hold us up for long and we headed into heartbreak reach.
True to its name, and not for the first time this season, we stood still whilst in this case, Screwloose found a good burst and shot through below us into 2nd place, much to our frustration where they stayed whilst we headed off downriver, with the rest of the fleet hot on our heels behind.
So ensued a roundabout journey of spinnaker blasts and short tacking up the shallows and out the tide.
First, and to our delight on Bluetack and no doubt Screwloose, the infallible Watersong, after a nice scrub earlier in the day managed to dirty their bottom (ooh err missus) and ground to a halt on the mud. Sadly they had the talent and wherewithal to get themselves off without too much bother and managed to keep the lead. Screwloose too had a little kiss on the mud we believe but were equally up to it and it did not hold them up too much.
After what seemed a dizzying, exhausting but enjoyable few laps of the various cans by Darnet Fort, with a lot of close tacking in the shallows going back upriver against the tide we were closing on the boats in front but got a little greedy rounding Folly. The road got a little bumpy all of a sudden when the depth gauge dropped from 4 metres to 1 and led to an emergency tack by Captain Covid. That’s another battle scar on the keel for the old girl!!!
Turned out we weren’t the only ones having a bit of grounding experience around Folly, Skipper by all accounts, following in our tracks got a little too close to the canons.
Think there might be a few sonatas with rather dented/modified keels by now.
Back up front we were able to nibble away at Screwloose’s lead and indeed almost caught them by the shortened finish at 30 (How much did Captain Kirk pay the OOD to finish at 30?)
Anyway, it was a good challenging race, final order we believe was 1st.Watersong, 2nd Screwloose, 3rd. Bluetack, 4th. Musical, 5th. Cry Havoc, and 6th. Skipper,
Special mention to Cry Havoc who did very well as only 2up, and sailing under white sails only.
And finally…. In a true show of inter class collaboration the Commodore was heard to utter in the bar post racing thanks for “showing us where the mud was ” (as they don’t have echo sounders.)