Apparently not only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. With the temperature forecast to hit 40°C (and very nearly achieving it), and with a number of yachts known to be not competing anyway, it was perhaps unsurprising that only a few yachts chose to race in preference to say, well, almost anything else that didn’t involve facing a hot West Nor’Westerly at 20-25 knots.
Breva, Megisti Blue, One Mo’ Time, and Martela appeared ready to race. They were welcomed by our much appreciated, replacement starters for the day, Cap’ns Peter and Jen, and their yacht, Steel Sapphire, en route to one of its favourite destinations for yet another makeover. The generosity with which Peter and Jen support the local shipwrights, riggers and marine engineers may well earn them OAMs in the next honours list.
Cap’n Paul and his crew on Breva were first to cross the starting line, hotly pursued by Megisti Blue who had decided to capitalise on their low handicap by also reducing crew weight. Cap’n Bob may have later regretted this as he found that with only Helmsman Tony, himself and one other crew, there was a considerable effort required to rein in the very quick Breva. So much effort, in fact, that a second reef was implemented.
Meanwhile, an unheard-of event was happening on One Mo’ Time: there was no discussion about whether to use a symmetric or an asymmetric spinnaker. The crew were bewildered: had this ever happened before? Of course, there was still the tactical decision to be made: when and where to fly the aso. At this point, there were some mutinous words and thoughts that, with reduced crew numbers and in view of the aforementioned heat and wind strength, “not at all” would be a good time and place, and “let’s go for it and have some fun” was not met with a strong round of applause. Fortunately, a couple of gusts above 30 knots caused even Cap’n Duncan to have second thoughts, and One Mo’ Time remained spinnaker free.
At about the time Cap’n Bob was thinking he couldn’t catch Breva, he got lucky. Breva took a deep tack after rounding Shark Island on the first return leg which allowed Megisti Blue to pass ahead. Then Breva crossed the finish line for the first time and headed home, forgetting that this was Course 2 which, unless shortened (and no shortened course flag was flying), requires yachts to go twice round the course. Oops.
This lucky break for Megisti Blue meant that there was nothing between it and winning Race 2 and the Errol Hazelwood Handicap, provided it could finish the race and stay ahead of One Mo’ Time, which it did.
But I’m sure you’re all asking the same question that we were: what happened to Martela? We saw her before the start, but never on the course. At the clubhouse post-mortem, Cap’n David explained that they first had trouble raising the mainsail, then twisted the headsail getting it up, so decided to skip the whole pesky business of sailing and play to their strength: they abandoned the race and opened the beers. It’s good to see that the old traditions of the Blues Point Yacht Club live on.