Ben had agreed to crew with us again for the Jubilee Race but we were quite anxious about the weather.
Although the rain was forecast to stop, the wind was due to be force 6 gusting 7. Decisions about a course, or indeed whether the Race could even go ahead, were made early on Sunday morning with strong winds still in the forecast. The decision came over the VHF, there would be a race with an inshore course and delayed start time until 1100, Sunday 6 August. James called by and offered to crew with us as well as Ben, which was an excellent offer and we decided there was no excuse to remain in the Harbour. There was a phonecall from Pete, ‘Are you racing today. as. you don’t have a handicap?’ Hurriedly finding a tape measure, Steve and James measured up and we sent our details in just in time before setting two reefs. Ben was delayed as he was bailing his Leamington scow, ‘Anna II’ after yesterday’s deluge but we were all aboard ready to set out for the very breezy start line outside Suffolk Yacht Harbour.
Despite not going out to sea, the course was certainly an exciting affair with wild wind and waves for most of the time. Setting out from the SYH Club line just outside the Harbour, we raced down the Orwell and up the Stour, turning at No. 1 buoy, and back. Our elapsed time was 4h48m with ‘Hardy’, first boat on elapsed time finishing in just 3h22m. This was the first time we’d entered an OGA race and were placed 16th, with our ‘scratch’ handicap, and pretty pleased with the result. The only casualty was a broken fairlead, ripped out of the deck as the jib sheet pulled through on a tack. There were also moments when the bowsprit was certainly taking the strain, having a distinct, if worrying curve at times and the cabin looked as if a tornado had hit!
A quote from the Press Release reads: “The Race Team, better sheltered in their hut on the line than they would have been on a committee boat, were impressed that despite the still challenging conditions, 25 boats turned out for the start. They sympathised with those who chose to stay in the marina, but admired the determination of those gaffers of all ages, shapes and sizes wanting to race.”
Despite the wind, Jeff Welch managed to shoot this amazing drone footage with ‘Cachalot’ about 50 seconds in on the left . . .