Despite the weather forecast three intrepid boats rocked up for what should have been the Poole and back passage race. Group collaboration agreed that only an idiot would want to sit the rail all the way to Poole in 25 knots so a sensible but challenging route to Yarmouth was decided on by Dudley Stock in his RO role. Xtract , ( Dudley Stock), and Hot Rats, ( Robbie and Lis Robinson), turned out to joust in IRC whilst in cruiser class Ayaya fought a close run battle against …… well obviously the opposition were so far behind that none of us saw them that weekend.
After updating the RO marks list to current buoy names the fleet agreed a beat against the tide up to Berthon, a run down to West Lepe and a fetch to NGR with a finish at English Berry Co. The slightly smaller Xtract sailed alone some route but as Ayaya, a very comfortable Dehlar 44, had a reef, Hot Rats were able to give Ayaya a friendly match race up the North shore. Ayaya and Xtract made the sensible decision to enjoy their G&Ts downwind from Berthon whilst the Hot Rats crew, in peak training after an exhausting Cowes Week and sa win approprotely on the Royal Southern day, went for the mast head kite and burnt off downwind past Ayaya in some 25 knots down to West Lepe. After rounding NGR, Ayaya and Hot Rats split with Ayaya going into the deeper water and Hot Rats taking advantage of the tide change on the shore to keep pace with Ayaya. A sneaky tack to windward of Ayaya on the lay line to the finish gave Hot Rats theoretically line honours by about 1 second with Xtract sailing in sedately in 3rd place. Dido with Danial and Suzie couldn’t say no to a party so turned up mid afternoon in Yarmouth. Obviously being the smallest boat Xtract generously hosted the pontoon party allowing a slight variation on the tine honoured tradition of trying to sink the pontoon as the weight of guests threatened to swamp the host vessel!
The next morning saw all the boats neatly washed down by a lot of rain which kindly switched off at about 9.30. The RO, as outside boat, held the fleet up until Dudley and his crew had finished a good breakfast. A downwind cascade to West Lepe and Cowes Radio was agreed with a fetch to Royal Thames, a run down to HWS, (something very large was tied to Royal Southern with an exclusion zone in force!), and a finish at Coronation. Hot Rats appeared to be the only boat who realised where Charles Stanley was and, after waiting at the start for the other boats to join in, all three set off.
Ayaya, distracted by the foiling GP50s in training took a closer look on the North shore and lost out on some of the tidal advantage but other than that the possible over exertions of the partying the night before kept the crews sedate in sunshine and 14 to 18 knots. Hot Rats led in to the first two marks being overtaken by Ayaya en route to Royal Thames. Ayaya went for the straight line route to HWS whilst Hot Rats hoisted on a bear away with gybe half way down to the leeward mark. After an embarrassing wine glass during the gybe was resolved on Hot Rats a glance to the rear noted Xtract apparently hoisting , setting and then dropping her kite which a wee while later reappeared. Rumour has it that a crew member mistook the skippers command to “ease that rope” as an instruction to blow the kite halyard but what goes on the boat stays on the boat! Ayaya managed to get inside overlap and swept over the top of Hot Rats at HWS to equal the score on line honours at the finish.
After an enjoyable weekend and some close racing Hot Rats took 1st place from Xtract on both legs to claim the weekend whilst , despite queries from the RO, Ayaya were confirmed to have sailed the correct routes and hence took a commanding lead in their class. An excellent summer carvery was enjoyed back at the Club by many of the crews with a celebratory drink or two for those with podium places to finish off a very enjoyable weekend.
Report by Lis Robinson (Hot Rats)