CHERBOURG + ST VAAST
PYRA’s popular St Vaast adventure followed a different route this year – across to Cherbourg on Saturday, round to St Vaast on Sunday, then back to Poole on Monday – so no time for St Vaast’s bustling market-day. Hmmm – hence only 7 boats turned up for the early start on Saturday…….But never mind….As usual some excellent sailing and good fun ashore was enjoyed, lubricated by kn8t and Jotun’s very generous and welcome sponsorship.
Shebeen took on start boat duties for Saturday’s race, slightly taken aback by a light north-westerly instead of the forecast healthy south-easterly. A clean get-a-way for all classes with kites just full enough to pull them through the nasty cheeky chop off Old Harry – well all except late starters Pluto, Blues and Shebeen all falling into a windless hole and drifting off towards Swanage while the fleet disappeared. At last, maybe a full hour behind, we grabbed the new easterly and went high in anticipation of that elusive south-easterly. It filled in and gave us a brisk slightly open fast fetch. The 1800hrs RV time saw us still about 6 miles out but comfortably placed to come in on the start of the west going ebb. The dying wind backed so kite up and into the Grand Rade finally getting across the Finish Line at 0.6kts!
Meanwhile, Joy had arrived 3 hrs earlier just a few minutes ahead of Pluto (how did she do that after the start hole?). The Shed followed close behind. Peter Biggs organised the RV on the YC balcony – drinks for all courtesy of kn8t and Jotun and a unanimous vote to bring the Sunday start forward to 1130hrs.
Athene started the Sunday race just outside the East entrance – a cracking shy kite reach all tight together save for the white sailing Ceres safely down to leeward. While the faster boats slowly pulled ahead, Blues finally broke through our lee. Gybe after the second cardinal to go deep dead down the strong tide close to the rock hazards managing to close the gap on the leaders further out. Pluto’s A sail wanted to reach providing much amusement with their multiple gybes. The wind curved around the headland exactly as forecast so a continuing but progressively slowing run down to the finish – Joy leading, almost 20 minutes ahead of Blues and Shed, then Pluto and Shebeen…. Athene unnervingly close behind despite their delayed start and Ceres acting as rearguard.
The warm humid afternoon, complete with a few plops of summer rain allowed just enough time for some long division and multiplication (who needs computers?) and then the RV upstairs in La Marina. Guest crews from Solmate and Blue Extasy joined the fun. Bottle prizes for all competitors, all from kn8t and Jotun together with very generous Jotun Antifoul vouchers to the fastest overall in each race, Joy in Leg 1 and a photo finish between Joy and Shebeen in Leg 2.
Monday – up at 0430 and out to La Gavendest to do the 0610 start – all classes together, joined now by Amethyst. Just enough wind accelerated by the new tide and away ….into a bank of fog. After an hour or so as the wind fell away, boats started radioing in their retirements. Shed was making way but, perhaps prudently, accepted Amethyst’s generous offer of a tow home. No call from Joy though till several hours later just north of 50.00.00 – commendable perseverance to win them another 1st.
The fog was thick and lasted till just a few miles out from Bar Bouy. Radio communication between the close but invisible motoring fleet was reassuring while AIS really proved its value.
Another excellent PYRA weekend and thank you to kn8t and Jotun.