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Virago started the PYRA fleet off from Vinyl Solutions for the Tapper Funeral Service Friday RTI feeder race , no doubt pleased that they were well out of the carnage at the favoured pin end as at least 2 boats (who shall be nameless) aborted their barging charge at the last moment. At least one protest followed which will hopefully be amicably sorted this week. There didn’t seem to be any significant damage other than battered ego.

The short beat out to Haven Insurance was followed by a 20 mile spinnaker leg to Cowes via North Head giving an opportunity to shorten course should the breeze fail. It didn’t. We enjoyed 12-15 knots on the quarter to N Head, a tightish but easily do-able reach up to Hurst with the back end of the fleet getting through on the start of the flood. A few gybed towards Lymington to avoid the worst of the ebb tide inside the Solent, a couple went tight along the south side coming out from Yarmouth for a close inspection of Black Rock, then tight in again rejoining the now almost flooding tide at Hamstead Ledge. Most seemed to take the shortest straight line route and probably gained by that.

Somewhere at the tail end, Fraid S’Eau and Shebeen crossed the Egypt Point FL simultaneously but their one point rating separation made the difference.

A lovely sail in near perfect conditions with a well attended rendezvous at the main beer tent in Cowes, courtesy of Steve Tapper. Watch out for the results due to go online late tonight/early tomorrow.

Saturday’s RTI was one of the most enjoyable I can remember over the past 30+ years. Warm, sunny, medium to stiff breeze (we briefly saw 28 knots true off Sandown Bay), no panics through the gap even though our plotter track neatly bisects the wreck symbol, clean air and no more than a couple of homicidal maniacs encountered en route. Enigma apparently lost her rig soon after the start and Peter Kent (temporarily seconded from Shebeen to help out on Zorra) broke his arm during an accidental gybe approaching Bembridge. Poole boats did well with a clutch of firsts and single figure places.

Exhaustion ensured an early return from the bar, so the PYRA fleet reassembled with clear heads and renewed enthusiasm for the Sunday race back to Poole. Grey skies but looking good for a third great sailing day.  Destiny did start boat duty seeing the fleet off on a beat in a comfortable SW breeze and smoothish water. The forecast suggested a veer mid morning which came in bang on time lifting us about 20 degrees along the Island shore. Concentrating our efforts along the south side of the channel we went close in to the Fort Victoria pier tacking to scoot sideways past Sconce and out past Hurst  Standing on along the shore towards N Head was then counter-productive as the breeze dropped off and we could see the opposition clearly making faster progress further out. From there on we put in the first of several tacks to stay on the windward side of the fleet which seemed to pay off, at least in relation to the boats we could see. As ever, what might have been happening to the class 1 and the faster half of the class 2 boats remains a mystery, so we await the results with interest.

Ken Morgan (Shebeen)

75 Years of PYRA

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