The SKB Sails Tuning Fork Regatta got the 2014 racing season off to a fine start at Mylor YC on Saturday afternoon, in a brisk easterly wind, writes Chris Davis.
As always at this time of year we could have managed with more sun, just to ease the air temperature up slightly, but that did not discourage nine boats from turning out.
The format of the event was three short, snappy races, on a windward-leeward course, each race to last no more than about one hour; the aim was to shake the boats and crew about a bit, blow the winter cobwebs away and find out what equipment needed attention on the boat before the season starts next week in earnest.
The first race certainly achieved the aim.
Most boats reefed down, still managing to sail the 3.5 mile course in around forty minutes, but two hardy skippers decided to try out their spinnakers This provided entertainment for those watching, and certainly cost them places; places mean points, and points mean prizes.
Line honours in this race went to the First 285 Wizard of Clee (Tony Hardman), with the Rustler 31 Alias (Trish and Brian Adams) crossing the line second.
Wizard won the race on corrected time and Alias took third place but the Westerly Merlin Chalonnaise (Steve Pendray and Fiona Pascoe) took second.
The second race proved the old adage that the boat making fewest mistakes wins.
Line honours were taken by the Contessa 28 Tressa of Lymington (Alex Davis), which was a reward for having the courage to set the big spinnaker, with the Sundream 28 Adelie (Chris and Jane Horn) finishing second, but Tressa slipped to fourth place and Adelie to fifth place on corrected time. The Shrimper Dawn of Polruan (Steve Przybylski) crossed the line nine minutes after Tressa and took the race on corrected time, with Chalonnaise taking second once again.
The final race was longer, at about five miles, allowing the crews perhaps to relax slightly on the two reaching legs. No spinnakers for Tressa in this race, as the masthead spinnaker block had given up the unequal struggle during the previous one, but that did not stop Alex taking line honours once again by some three minutes. However this lead was not enough once the handicaps had come into play, Tressa taking third place on corrected time. Wizard of Clee crossed the line in second place, and Chalonnaise took a well-deserved win once again.
Overall, this was a very successful afternoon's racing. No boat dominated the event, and much was learnt about sail setting and tidal tactics in a brisk wind. Chalonnaise and Wizard of Clee showed that achieving consistent results win series, each boat finishing with five points, with Chalonnaise winning on best scores, and third place was taken by Tressa of Lymington with fourteen points. It was a great pity that Dawn of Polruan had to retire from the final race with a gear failure. She took fourth place in the series with fifteen points, despite the retirement.
Results. Race 1. 1st: Wizard of Clee (Tony Hardman); 2nd: Chalonnaise (Steve Pendray and Fiona Pascoe); 3rd: Alias (Trish and Brian Adams). Race 2. 1st: Dawn of Polruan (Steve Przybylski); 2nd: Chalonnaise (Steve Pendray and Fiona Pascoe); 3rd: Wizard of Clee (Tony Hardman). Race 3. 1st: Chalonnaise (Steve Pendray and Fiona Pascoe); 2nd: Wizard of Clee (Tony Hardman); 3rd: Tressa of Lymington (Alex Davis).
Series results. 1st: Chalonnaise (Steve Pendray and Fiona Pascoe); 2nd: Wizard of Clee (Tony Hardman); 3rd: Tressa of Lymington (Alex Davis).