No time for bacon butties on Saturday morning so had to settle for an 8am eye-opener at the Somerset Police Club while Papillon was prepared. Horrors! I’d forgotten my keys to the Bar! Saturday was shaping up to be a tough day….
The start was slated for 10am so with much trepidation we set off accross the sound for the RBYC courtesy of the five horses inside the trusty Yamaha motor…The sound was proving to be as lively as she looked from up west however once inside the harbour things quieted and we were able to complete our preparation.
Chugging past the Yacht club we noticed a distinct lack of fellow racers…then with about 15 minutes to the gun we saw Solaise and Sliding Bye. Centipede joined the group giving a total of 4 J’s for the race. At least we wont come any worse than 4th.
The course was given and before we knew it, sails were up and we were off. Since the Papillon crew strive for consistency above all else, we were last over the line yet headed bang on for Two Rock. Solaise was well ahead followed closely by Sliding Bye. Centipede needed to put a couple of tacks in so as to make it through the channel which put Papillon in 3rd as we headed gingerly out into the sound.
Within a couple of milliseconds of going through Two Rock, we were all drenched from head to toe. Great. About 10 gallons went down my bib pants and filled up the legs to the knees because I had velcro’d the bottoms up. Well I drained that off and got comfy on the rail for the schlep upto the Grays Bridge BOCA mark.
Naturally, we rounded the mark in last place and proceeded to Grace Island. We werent too far behind, which pleased us. When we arrived at the G Spot, Centipede was doing funny things with her Jib. Looked like it had got wrapped around the forestay and the batten was holding it there. Siezing the moment, Papillon dramatically edged into 3rd place again and held this lead for quite some time (by Papillon standards).
Solaise and Sliding Bye were well ahead, Papillon was 3rd around ‘40′ as we headed on for the Lantana mark. Papillon narrowed the gap on this leg. Solaise had gone wide and Sliding Bye looked like she had hit some dead air on the wrong side of the mark which allowed us to catch up. Papillon came roaring in from Cavello bay area keeping the balance between flatter waters and good wind pretty good (we thought). 3rd around the mark with Centipede not too far behind, we set off for the run back up to 40. Solaise had flown her chute which, from our perspective, looked to be a bitch to handle. Nevertheless, it was this that put some serious water inbetween herself and Sliding Bye.
We elected not to fly the chute based on only 4 of us an even rookier crew than normal. Cant recall whether Sliding Bye flew hers or not however she was well ahead of us again. All eyes were on Centipede as she rounded Lantana and popped her spinnaker. Well, that was that as they sailed past us. We were upset for a moment and then in a moment of great alacrity, Centipede went over, spreaders in the water. Broach-tastic!
Their spinnaker was billowing around for a good while and we thought we might have a chance to catch them up but they quickly regained control and were back underway. By this point, Solaise might have well have been half way to America.
We rounded 40 again in last and set off for KP which, surprise, we rounded last.. .on the run back to 40, I thought it might be a good time for a spot of lunch. My lunch consisted of a Marathon bar and an apple thoughtfully provided by my wife. Unfortunately, the apple had worked it’s way from my bag into the bilge. Yum! Anyway, I dipped it in the briney which gave it a wonderful salty taste to accent the algea-oil combination it already had.
Back at 40, we had a novel twist on things. Instead of port-rounding in last place, we did a starboard-rounding in last place. Brought a cheer to us anyway. Last slog back to the finish line and we held our position (last) and crossed the line only about 150 yards behind Centipede. That’s pretty good going for us! I’m sure Neil & Co would have been on their eleventeenth pint by then. Oh well.
Anyway, we took the sails down and brought the horses up from below and set off for the slog back to Boaz Island. Despite our meteorologist cum skipper assuring us throughout the day that things would calm down, I think they had actually got worse. Back at the police club, things were in dire straits. The bar still wasnt open!!!!! I had to ring round a few people and eventually got Gippo who came with his keys and opened up. We had about 11 billion Amstel Lights and then put Papillon to bed.
All in all, a great day out. Glad we completed the course with nothing breaking. Our first time doing anything other than W/L and I think we much preferred it. Have we have had our regular crew, we would have had our kite up and I think we could have taken 3rd…which would have been great!