rallies and regattas, trip logs

OGA55 rally part 3

Race day! It was with much excitement that we released from the raft and made our way out through Cowes. Since we were third out, we left early and picked up a mooring outside the breakwater to observe the fun.

It was quite a sight to see the fleet massing- 68 boats started. Alice helmed our start and then Niki took over. We were against wind and tide both and kept to the shallow water on the mainland side, but still could not got past Lepe at the mouth of the Beaulieu River.

After about 3 hours of beating, we reluctantly retired and were back in Cowes in 20 minutes!!

Alice had time to join the dinghy race and then, after a rapid wash and brush up it was off to Cowes for a very enjoyable evening at the celebratory dinner, where the race was replayed over and again between skippers and boat stories shared.

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rallies and regattas

OGA55 rally part 2

Today was fun day at the rally, with all manner of entertainments. Alice and I started by constructing our “log boat”, using a “one design” hull, some garden cane and plastic bags for sails.

Alice then began preparing her entry for the “bake off” – fresh rosemary and tomato bread in the thermal cooker.

This was then followed by sailing the OGA dinghy (a new design of modern gaff dinghy for Home construction) and Alice had a go helming another dinghy.

Meanwhile there was rowing, sculling and smack dinghy sailing. We made sure we took time to see the larger gaffers in the sun on their pontoon.

To Alice’s delight, not only did her log boat win the race, but her bread beat off stiff competition to be judged top in the bake off!

A thoroughly enjoyable day was rounded off with some live music. Tomorrow is race day!

rallies and regattas, trip logs

OGA55 rally part 1

One of the pleasures of owning a gaffer is being a member of the OGA and attending their rallies. I always meet like minded sailors and find out more about boats, how to sail them and interesting places to visit.

The weather has been a little mixed, so I sit here writing this with the rain clattering on the cabin roof, whilst the others are at the cinema.

We are based at the Folly Inn, with various excursions up and down the river. Yesterday I had a lovely sail to Victoria Yacht Club in Wootton Creek with Bob Steele, skipper of another Cape Cutter.

There has also been an opportunity to send the drone up and capture some of the action around the moorings. Lots of social time too, chatting to the other crews, who have travelled from around the uk and also from the Netherlands.

rallies and regattas, trip logs

Cape Cutter 19 rally 2018 – day 7 – Return to Largs

The final day of the Cape Cutter week was to have been a good sail across open water around the back of Bute to Largs. However the weather had other ideas. Just like our regatta, the warm settled weather was coming to an end, but in the meantime, there was no wind.

We passed the day under motor and were able to get a little help from our sails as we traveled south, but they were no use at all once we rounded Garroch Head at the southern end of Bute.

The motor was very pleasant in the sun with plenty of wildlife to spot- porpoise, dolphin, gannets, razorbills and guillemots.

Many of the fleet hauled out today, whilst a number are staying on to enjoy some sailing.

Official proceedings were brought to a close with a celebratory meal as guests of Largs Sailing Club, where we were treated to another wonderful meal. Organisers Gary and Malcolm presented prizes and were thanked by one and all for their stirling efforts in organising this most enjoyable rally.

rallies and regattas, trip logs

Cape Cutter 19 rally – day 6 – Loch Fyne

Thursday was race day for the Cape Cutter fleet. We awoke to grey misty weather and the light wind was forecast to drop during the day, so an earlier start was called for. The race was to be from Portavadie, some 8nm up Loch Fyne to Otter Ferry.

Andrew, skipper of Ladybird acted as race officer, with young Josh blowing the countdown hooter.

The fleet divided in two, with some choosing to sail off the shore to the deeper water, on the hope of cleaner air as well as fair tide; the rest, meanwhile chose the short distance closer to the shore, dodging the fish farms.

As the race drew on, the wind dropped away and the prize position would go to the skipper that could find the gusts.

First to round the starboard buoy marking the finish was Dennis, solo skipper of Mary Ann. The next three years places were closely taught and went to Ladybird, Cape Whisper and Sapphire.

Racing done, we repaired to the excellent pub at Otter Ferry, which has convenient moorings and a jetty for visiting boats.

By the time we had begun the homeward leg, the wind had died to the faintest whisper, so it was motorsailing to our overnight berth at East Loch Tarbert.

rallies and regattas, trip logs

Cape Cutter 19 rally – day 5 – Portavadie

We were greeted by the most glorious morning on our mornings at Kame. We had passed a most peaceful night and the water was glassy smooth.

We all made a leisurely start, waiting for the wind to fill in, rowing ashore, swimming or just sunbathing.

The boats departed one by one. Some left as soon as a zephyr of a breeze appeared and other waited for the breeze to fill in further. Those that left early got the best of it and slowly rounded Ardlamont Point into Loch Fyne.

Later boats ended up in very light airs, motoring between puffs to find some wind.

Having passed into Koch Fyne, the fleet had a very pleasing reach for about three quarters of the way to Portavadie; however the wind just stopped like a fan had been switched off. Perhaps the wind farms could turn electricity into wind for the benefit of sailors in such situations?

Portavadie is a new marina, sitting in a basin carved out of the granite. The facilities are very good and we enjoyed some well earned cool beers and a lovely meal to round off the day.

rallies and regattas, trip logs

Cape Cutter 19 rally 2018 – day 4 – Kyles of Bute

Lively conditions looked certain after our departure from Rothesay, timed around the departure of the ferry. However, as we reached the edge of Rothesay bay, the breeze had become light and very variable. Tystie had left first and was loitering, hoping for a photograph of the fleet together, but the boats were very spread out by the time the fleet reached the bottom of loch Striven.

A naval ship making for the pier at the base of Striven had us all reaching for our pull cords. By the time we entered the East Kyle of Bute, the narrow winding strip of water separating Bute from the mainland, there was a steady breeze and we made good progress towards the narrows at the northern extreme of Bute.

The blustery conditions challenged a number of the fleet. Several boats had minor rigging issues to rectify, but Aurora suffered from an engine which would not re-start and Moneypenny experienced a snapped mast head. The break was above the hounds, so skipper Gary continued on staysail and engine, with neither main nor foresail now available.

Mary Ann and Irene came to Aurora’s aid, the former to provide a tow and the latter, astoundingly, to lend a spare outboard.

At the northern tip of Bute, the Burnt Isles separate the East Kyle from the West. Dodging the ferry and winding through the buoyed channel, the fleet emerged into very light airs. Some anchored in a peaceful bay, whilst most of the fleet explored Loch Riddon before heading south to our destination, the Kames Hotel just south of Tighnabruaich.

A strong wind provided an exciting run almost dead downwind to the moorings which were to be our overnight stop. Conditions were choppy as we arrived, but gradually the wind died away. Not all boats had a tender, so a certain amount of entertainment was had shuttling all the crews ashore.

Small tenders are easier to store in the restricted space inside a Cape Cutter, but those with larger tenders had a much easier row ashore. An outboard can be a mixed blessing for a small tender too, and Ladybird’s inflatable canoe seemed to fare best of all.

The sight of twelve Cape Cutters moored in the golden evening light made a splendid view during our well-earned dinner, before we returned to our boats by the light of the full moon.