Sponsored by Morgan Carey
PYRA POOLE-ALDERNEY-CHERBOURG TRIANGLE
The forecast for Friday was depressingly dour with a thundery low due to pass over during the race, winds expected to veer from light NE round to SW6/7, rain all day, thunder and lightning, fog and probably plague and pestilence to boot. A few didn’t turn up but the majority of entrants were there on the 0700 start line in the Swash. As expected we went off with a comfortable spinnaker angle, lightish but building to around 13 knots at 0900. The faster class 1 boats worked on the basis of getting ahead of the forecast strong south westerlies, but all of the class 2 boats went west towards the new wind to hopefully get a more open angle and use the later east going tide to get back to Braye.
The NE breeze gradually dropped to 6knots by 1300 but still no rain and about 4 miles visibility. We sat it out fully expecting a wet and windy second half to the race. 2 hours later still nothing and no sign in the sky of the promised change. At 1515 Shebeen at the tail end of the fleet retired having done the sums and reckoning it was now mathematically impossible to achieve the 2100hrs time limit. We motorsailed, the rain started, the spray hood went up and after an hour or so the wind duly went SW. By 1830 we were cracking along, slightly open at 6 knots in 12/13 knots of breeze sailing in at 2045. Clearly we couldn’t have made the TL and likewise the other class 2 boats also retired.
The class 1 boats did finish way before us with Addiction taking the trophy ahead of Blue Extasy followed by The Grey Silkie.
A late rum tot was enjoyed at Alderney SC courtesy of the sponsors Morgan Carey Architects.
Saturday’s leg to Cherbourg was completely different. Beautiful warm sunshine and what felt like a brisk south westerly. A kite start again out of the harbour entrance with some calling for water against the few on starboard gybe as the rocks came unnervingly fast towards us. Port gybe northwards to stay well above the race for the last hour of the ebb, then gybe back as the wind dropped and the infamous Alderney chop shook the wind out of our sails. With Alderney it is all about the tide which was going to send us approximately towards Cherbourg whatever we did with our sails. The wind steadied at around 9 knots from the SSW. 3 knots of tide under us pushed the apparent wind forward so we fore reached under an impossibly trimmed flat kite right down low over the bow and sheeted down well aft under the tweaker.
A really fun race this time with Blue Extasy winning class 1 ahead of The Grey Silkie, followed by Destiny and then Addiction. Class 2 honours went to Shebeen just ahead of Solmate, followed by Virago and Dequila. Koko won class 4.Morgan Carey Architects awarded bottle prizes for these provisional results on the sunny terrace of Cherbourg YC.
Sunday back to Poole with a very light forecast. An 0715 start courtesy of Blue Extasy at the west entrance to the Grand Rade with a most welcome steady 11 knots from the WNW. The grey clag over Cherbourg gave way to a sparkling blue day with an exceptionally easy sea as the wind backed allowing a shy kite reach which we maintained, albeit impossibly shy, till 1700. A close encounter in the shipping lane where the tight reach limited our options, but easily sorted with AIS and a call to the freighter who obligingly turned a couple of degrees to port allowing us on our merry way.
All went well, at least for the class 2 fleet (rumour advises that class 1 found a hole) until 6 miles from Bar Buoy when we were neatly uptide heading for Anvil Point. The wind veered through 100 degrees to come straight out of Poole probably delaying our finish by an hour but at least adding the variety of what would normally have been an enjoyable upwind beat.
Reporter – Ken Morgan