Well, that’s it folks; last sail of the PSC season.
The morning dawned grey, with mist hanging in the valleys, and not a breath of wind across the bay. This was contrary to a forecast of 11 to 27 knots, north westerly. Instead, the mizzle gave up to a heavy shower, and much prevarication in the clubhouse; some saying they’d go, some not, some signing on and then crossing off on the race sheet. As usual, Jeremy H rallied some enthusiasm, and nine boats were tempted when the rain stopped, and a gentle westerly turned a grey day into a good sailing day. The night’s south-easterly winds had raised an alarming surf, but Team Porthpean formed a launching party, which saw everyone off the beach, some more dramatically than others. Unfortunately, or should I say, selflessly, Paddy and Steve were last off and suffered the ignominy of being washed back to the beach three times, before they caught a favourable lull in the sets.
We all enjoyed surfing down the waves before the start, although the wind didn’t seem to hold, the gusts strong at first, lasted only a few seconds. Sarah R capsized her Laser to do a repair. I have to say she looked very brave, but very small under those dark skies, bobbing up and down on a long swell. By the start, winds were gusting between 10 and 18 knots, making hitting pin end on the button, tricky. Jeremy and Suzanne got over excited, which is a lovely place to be, but not on the start line. As usual we ambled over, in our own time, but at least at the pin end.
We found that with the increase in the wind, the only way to keep Kessy flat, was to luff her through the gusts; not a fast way to sail. Once round the first mark, we struggled on a very close fetch to the beach marks, followed by an absolute down-wind leg, which both Jan and I hated, ever waiting an involuntary gybe, in 18 to 20 knots of wind which left us glad to put the spinnaker away and be flogging back upwind again. Alan seemed to be revelling in the winds, and after taking the lead, kept it. I imagine a little boat, with gunwale wings in those seas would be difficult, but to sail it on a close fetch and then a dead run, you have to say, makes his a deserved win. We followed Paddy and Steve, who had the wisdom to bang the corners, rather than risk tacking the shifts, and Jeremy and Suzanne, who by now had regained most of what was lost when re rounding at the start. On the third round, we thought maybe a reach over to Charlestown, before raising the kite to go downwind would make it steadier. This afforded us nothing. We were still dead downwind, and worse, we allowed Dave and Mike to catch us. We didn’t see Pete and Tom, but I guess Tom was keeping up his valiant efforts, in order to keep his mast skywards. I did hear grumblings from the front of the Scorpion about water boarding, but I can confirm that is only part of the torture of crewing a Scorpion. For much of the race, we had been vying with the RS400 with Nigel and Ken. We were feeling pleased with ourselves, not knowing they were fighting a broken mainsheet block. We followed them downwind, until an almighty gust sent them off towards Polkerris. Jan mentioned maybe they’d got Mena dhu on draught over there.
We thought about the second race, but to my mind the swell was getting no less, and I reckoned coming ashore near the top of the tide might be difficult. Thanks to Nigel and Ken, who had called it a day earlier, our landing was pretty easy. That is, but for the raft of seaweed that had formed in the swash and dragged at our legs. By the time we got everyone ashore, the seaweed was everywhere. How it gets into your wetsuit and regions only my doctor knows, is a mystery.
I shall round off with many thanks to Janet P and Stacey on rescue, especially to Janet who my grandfather would have applauded as “Duty beyond the call, old chap!” Also, many thanks to Andrew and Jenny for race box, galley and CAKES! And remember, it’s only 19 weeks, and we can do it all again.