trip logs

Trip Log: Reaching, Racing and Roll Tacks

It was not the most restful night in St Mawes, as any passing boat’s wake made Aurora roll considerably; fortunately there was not much traffic, but we had several unwelcome surprises early in the morning so we were up early. The first task was to inspect the “sea life cage”, which turned up a berried velvet swimming crab (aka Queen Nippy) and two Leech’s Spider Crabs. The livestock was duly returned to the sea bed and we got underway to Mylor.

The weather did not look promising, but the threatening banks of cloud moved back far enough to provide some welcome sun and a nice sailing breeze. Niki and the girls went into Falmouth for some shopping, so I joined Cape Cutter 19 Sapphire and Cornish Yawl Lucy for a turn around Falmouth bay. The plan was to go out a short way into the bay and then come back for a lunch stop.
 Unexpectedly, the condition were perfect. The sun shone and the breeze blew and Aurora raced across the bay on a beautiful three-sail reach and it seemed such a shame to turn round that we carried on towards the Lizard. Eventually with the Manacles reef approaching, we turned around and reached back again. The bay was thick with boats, but the stars of the show were the huge superyachts racing in the Pendennis cup.

We were soon back in St Mawes for a raft-up and a cuppa, but later than intended; time to get back to Mylor for the race briefing. By then the wind had dropped to the lightest of airs and I joined fellow Cape Cutterer Dennis on his boat, Mary Ann.

We passed the intelligence test and worked out the course we had to follow and were waiting our turn for our class to start, when someone turned the fan off and we drifted to a halt. Unfortunately, we were some way from the start line. With a (fortunately weak) foul tide, we were in danger of being unable to even cross the start. However, my dinghy days were not wasted and we managed to use the faintest gust of wind to roll tack Mary Ann around.
 This put us a long way behind the shrimpers, who were not caught out like us, and behind Sapphire, the other visiting Cape Cutter in the race. Nettie, the resident Cape Cutter, skippered by Richard Rickard, was caught out even worse than we were; as they approached the committee boat, it was decided to shorten course and the committee boat left to finish the larger fleets- this left Nettie with no start line to cross!
 Dennis carefully followed the gusts and we managed to pass Sapphire and several shrimpers to finish fourth on the water. The evening was rounded off nicely over a beer or two in the club house.


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