Cruiser charity race

18 May 2014

The club open day was yesterday and the idea was for new members to put some money into a pot then come out with an existing member on a cruiser race. Stuart and I turned up at 1200 and hung around looking to see if anyone was coming with us and just as we'd decided to go to sea anyway, and backed out of the berth, there was a shout and we were beckoned back to collect Helen. She was keen and ready to go though not much experience. Lovely sunny day today with wind forecast around F3 so conditions should have been perfect.

Once we'd motored out against the strong incoming tide and then shut off the engine it was apparent that the wind was less than expected and there was quite a strong tidal current taking us in the wrong direction. A committee boat start sequence got going for 1330. Remembering previous races where we'd flapped about and been late off the start line, I re-started the motor and drove for the line until T - 5 minutes then shut it off again. However, once again, we found we couldn't move against the tide and the start line seemed unattainable! A couple of boats judged it better and got away over the line and off towards the first mark but there were several of us on the wrong side of the line. Tramuntana got tangled with a lobster pot, Herrag was even further back than we were, Dedicated Dancer and Bajau had started ok and were on their way. Catamaran Orca got over the line as well.

It was a lovely sunny day and we were quite happy out there but after about 30 mins it was clear we'd never get over the start line so we called in to say we'd retire. We were not the ony ones! Instead we had a great time showing Helen how to tack the boat around, how to hold a course, watch the telltales, taking turns on the helm and eating sandwiches in the sunshine. Lots of boats were around, other cruisers, speedboats, a couple of lovely looking wooden boats that we don't often see out. After about an hour of this we noticed we were still quite near the river entrance so at about 1430 we decided to come in. High tide so the river was more still, though the wind inside the harbour felt stronger than it did outside. Stuart dropped the mainsail as we passed the Look and Sea restaurant and we took a moment to do some sightseeing as we motored around up the river in the sunshine.

Back on the berth at 3pm and off to the clubhouse for refreshment. Lots of people around and lots of boats to watch as the fleet returned, a bowl of roast potatoes appeared, a great atmosphere. Two boats had actually finished the (shortened) course and were only 5 seconds apart on corrected time!

The pot of money went to the winning skipper's chosen charity, Helen said lots of nice thimgs about Elsa, all had a good time, so a very successful day even though we didn't finish the race!


  1. What a fabulous time I had. Everyone at the yacht club are really friendly, I came on my own to the 'party' so was very appreciative of that.
    Thank you Alistair for a great sail, it was calm and slow, making it easy for me to learn . . . . you and Stuart were very kind answering all my questions . . . and I absolutely love Elsa, so thanks to her as well : )


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