(Report from Halcyone.)
Last race, lots of wind, last chance for a decent sail in a remarkably windless season.
Six helms and crews showed up to race. Zephyrus didn’t race, she had just returned from Bute, the run back had taken three and half hours, at times surfing at 10 knots.
Several crews dithered on the moorings before the race, wondering whether the pro-longed gusts over 20 knots would persist, or get worse as forecast. Hermes opted for a neat reef in her main.
On the way to the start Kelana came alongside the fleet, with several Gareloch sailors on board, filming the occasion, just back from the RNCYC’s final cruising muster.
Teal took on Race officer duties, and set a course along the Shandon shore. In the boisterous conditions it was hard to hear the starting signals. Teal and Halcyone made good starts, Catriona closed on the start mark too early and had to duck behind Teal. Thalia, Hermes and Ceres weren’t far behind. Athene hadn’t heard the signals and opted to follow without racing.
Closing on the windward mark Teal, Halcyone and Catriona were close, Teal slightly ahead, Halcyone crossed Catriona on port to round the mark in second. Neither Teal nor Halcyone opted for spinnakers initially. Catriona on the other hand, always motivated by being behind popped hers up, slewed to windward, just avoided broaching, got it settled, overtook Halcyone, so Teal popped hers up. The three had stood out well into the loch planning to gybe to the leeward mark later. Meantime, Thalia reached along closer inshore and looked like she would round the mark first, she didn’t, not quite.
Rounding the windward mark for the second time Catriona chased Teal out into the loch. Halcyone and Thalia stayed inshore. The four began to converge again at the leeward mark, but still in the same order. Rounding the mark Teal and Catriona once again struck out into the loch. Halcyone and Thalia made shorter tacks inshore. Approaching the Z mark and the finish line, Halcyone was well ahead of Teal and Catriona, they had been busy defending and attacking each other and had forgotten to race the rest of the fleet.
Might Halcyone win, could we finish after two laps, no, we had only been racing for 52 minutes, not the requisite minimum hour, we had to do another round.
Striking out for the windward mark again Halcyone’s excitement was short-lived, her guest crew spotted the starboard lower shroud dangling unattached, the mast wasn’t fully supported. Teal and Catriona caught up, Halcyone jury rigged a repair, kept in touch, but couldn’t catch them.
Teal crossed the finish line first, rounding off a run of first places. After a frustrating season she had her mojo back.
1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Ceres