The 2016/2017 Spring Series started with more of a whimper than a bang, with the field decimated by a combination of old age, feeble minds and doping bans issued by WADA following an investigation into nefarious behaviour at the recent AGM.
As a result, there were just 3 starters. Crooz and Valhalla were crewed by the usual suspects, while Attila, having been abandoned by her usual crew (who were mysteriously all “washing their hair”), had press-ganged various ne'er-do-wells and One Mo’ Time cast-offs into agreeing to be shouted at for a solid two hours by skipper Peter "Dead Calm" Bernard.
Crooz won the start by streaking over the line at 0.2 knots, just 50 seconds after the gun, and quickly* caught Valhalla, who had blown her 8 minute head start by needlessly moving her pig-iron from one side of the bilge to the other in an ill-conceived attempt to emulate the movable ballast capabilities of yachts 90 years her junior.
* Note: this is the last time that the word “quickly” will be used in this race report.
By contrast, Attila was busy preparing for her impending gun by executing the type of pre-start strategy that leaves America’s Cup skippers waking in a cold sweat. Stranded on the wrong side of the committee boat and being swept over the line by the tide, Bernard’s legendary cool was temporarily disturbed by the sight of the race committee on the start boat pointing and laughing in a manner most unbecoming of the professional sports administrators they so clearly are.
With a heroic act of stoicism, Attila girded their collective loins, performed an agonizingly slow 270 degree gybe and inched their way towards the line. Following a successful “starboard” hail on the runt of the Elliot litter that was limping home last in its own race, Attila burst over the line just 7 minutes and 59 seconds late, clenched their jaws, and set about the herculean task of catching and over-hauling the crack race crews ahead of them.
In an adrenaline-packed next half hour, Attila ghosted past Crooz and Valhalla around KFC, her 2.5 kts SOG more a function of tide than boat speed, but eventually there was sufficient wind to fill the kite and she proceeded unchallenged towards the top mark, stopping on the way back only to wave goodbye to Valhalla, who had given up the ghost and decided that this was the day for Rory to finally make himself known back at the pub.
Crooz was last seen tacking backwards and forwards through 180 degrees off Taylor’s Bay, before she too decided that enough was enough and valuable pub time was being wasted.
All that remained was for Attila to liaise with the race committee around a course shortening, and to sail across the finish line not once, but twice, to make sure her time had truly been marked.
“Who’s laughing now”, thought skipper Bernard, as he imperiously waved his thanks to the true professionals aboard “Wherever” and motored home eagerly anticipating another sleeveless BPYC vest to add to the collection.