Donald Macdonald, skipper of the Oyster Lightwave 395 "Rainmaker" reports....
Once we knew were going to be released from lockdown it was time to replace Celtic Week with Channel Week which was the start of the organisational problems as all marinas had different implementation plans and half not accepting group bookings and other changed to turn up if space you can come in.
Unusually the week was completed as per revised itinerary including 1st Offshore Series race the feeder into the series.
The feeder race Lymington to Brixham was a fast single tack affair with arrival about 2am. That evening the whole fleet enjoyed dinner in Brixham yacht club, a most friendly helpful place with stunning views into Torbay harbour. After a day’s rest in Brixham a leisurely start on Sunday with a midday start for the race to Plymouth. Unfortunately the wind did not oblige by turning up so motored all the way.
Again the whole fleet had evening dinner together at the Himalayan curry house with a selection of dishes brought out for al to try. A leisurely 1300 start Monday for the Round Wolf Rock and finish in Falmouth. The race start was just outside the breakwater in sunshine F3 it did not take long for the rain and mist to descend to make it the wettest race of the week. The wind was a little up and down and during the initial 12 hours and big gains and losses were made regularly and this was generally in miles. The mist and rain lifted in early hours of Tuesday morning with all going around Wolf Rock in daylight 4-5am. The leg back to the Lizard was a choice between normal white sail or the Code 0. In the end no one could tell if the Code 0 helped. 1st into Falmouth Anticipation with Class 1 win. Class 2 was won by Vela Fresca. In the early evening Mustigo retired from the race due to bees running amok back home and needed sorting.
With lay day Wednesday and the fleet spread around different marinas the get together was in the afternoon at the Chain Locker pub.
Thursday’s race from Falmouth to Dartmouth 70 miles and 0700 start. The wind looked like it may die later plus Start Bay renound for being calm as very good wind shadow to the SW breeze therefore a precautionary shorten course waypoint south of Start Point. All enjoyed the spinnaker leg from Falmouth to the point, although Pyxis did get a wrap and wine glass the was unable to be cleared so took a time at Start Point no doubt hoping that the race retrospectively is shortened which was the case as some had taken nearly 3 hours to do 4 miles. With time getting on plus tide rushing out The Dart the finish mark location and the water looking very glassy. 1900 shorten course message went out although Azora had just made the finish. 7 boats managed to get on Dartmouth town jetty and Roxanne got a berth in Darthaven. Azora was the party boat for daily prize giving, Class 1 Juliette Class 2 Vela Fresca.
Another early start for Dartmouth to Portland. The motor out from Dartmouth so early and with the sun out made for a really picturesque view of the town. Unfortunately out of the river there was not any wind with fog seen in the distance rolling our way. After motoring nearly 35 miles the fog caught us up and so did the wind so a start was set. With visibility less than 100 meters at times the race started under spinnaker. The CSB could not see all the boats but the ones that were visible were clear.The fog lifted as we approached Portland Bill and all took the inside passage. The wind direction was such that it was a dead downwind point of sailing going past the Bill. The gybe was needed to do the 5 mile dash to the finish, Roxanne, Juliette nailed it, Anticipation dropped the spinnaker then gybed, Rainmaker went a fair way west to sort out rope twist on pole end before completing gybe. Result was Juliette line honours and class 1 win with Pyxis Class 2 winner. OiOi had joined us for the trip to Portland, if she had entered the series would have won the race and in IRC on corrected time would have had a 15 minute buffer.
Final Race Portland to North Head. 30 minute motor for the wind to arrive and stabilise. Yet another spinnaker start in 6-8 knots. Asymmetrics doing their angles, symmetrics going straight down wind nothing much in it as the wind built. In the sunshine a glorious sail was had by all. As the wind built the common theme in all skippers thought processes was when do I take the spinnaker down as after the finish was not an option with the shingle beach less than 0.5nm away and doing 8-10 knots. Rainmaker had the decision made as the topping lift parted company followed by the guy tripping from the pole so a very unstable sail led to the inevitable broach, race over. Pyxis did it all under control even if a little unorthodox letting halyards and sheets go and doing the recovery low down. Polished Manx needed to do a gybe and as this spinnaker was borrowed decided to drop it and white sail from nearly 10 miles out. The wind as all approached North Head was 20-24 knots and some nice waves to surf on. In the end Anticipation got it all right with a win in Class 1 and Pyxis took Class 2 honours.
The 9 days of racing was enjoyed by all, the weather helped a little. Final result was that Juliette took Class 1 honours along with IRC. Class 2 winner Pyxis.
I wonder what 2021 will bring?
CHANNEL WEEK PHOTOS