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SAILING: Boats battle hard in misty Falmouth sea
GLOOMY looking weather did not match the racing at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club on Friday evening.
Grey wet mist was over the course but gradually the darker mainsails appeared but they were not clear against a grey-green background.
A strong breeze did clear away the mist and it powered the two leading fleets away from the start east of the Vilt. At first most beat south along the St Mawes shore to avoid the incoming tidal stream but this had to be crossed in order to round the Governor to port.
Pascos Jaguar led the fleet to the mark where they bore away and reached over towards Lugo flying their white asymmetric. The following group already some good way back chased but some found that on this second leg the strengthening breeze was too shy for their fuller cut spinnakers.
At the back of the bunch Vindscreen Viper chased the much larger Sarabande to the buoy but after bearing away Vindscreen Viper hoisted their dull red spinnaker and started to catch up on all the others. Already the leader had gybed at the Lugo and lead the charge into St. Mawes harbour looking for the elusive turning mark.
In the IRC 2 fleet the grey hulled Demolition lead a much closer group to the buoy, at one stage Macavity, looked as though they were, but the incoming tide pushed them back into the middle of the fleet.
They all followed the same course towards St Mawes, but the wind had freed for a while, and so most of them flew their spinnakers en route to the Lugo.
In U fleet Moonlighter was in the lead and Nitro had to bare away under the stern of Jemalda on starboard just before the Governor. Once off the wind Midnight Cocktail, who had been near the back, hoisted their spinnaker and flew past the others and got into the lead and kept it all the way to the finish where they crossed the line more than three minutes clear.
Nitro looked sluggish on the water and even under spinnaker they did not seem significantly faster but they still managed to cross the line well ahead of two much larger boats.
Coming out of St Mawes the two leading fleets beat to the Black Rock buoy where they bore away and reached north with Pascos Jaguar well in the lead but chased hard by Daring Xtreme and Vindscreen Viper flying their spinnakers.
It was active work for the crews because the wind was changing speed and direction all the time so that sails had to be trimmed all through the race and the mainsheet trimmer on Xtreme complained of arm ache after the race.
Things were made more difficult by the absence of one of the turning marks but the fleets found a lobster pot to round. The westerly wind became ever more flukey as the fleet came to the finish line where the shelter of the town made it very hard to judge where the next gust was to come from.
The usual Killigrew puff did not appear and on Macavity they felt that they lost out badly on the last stretch before the end. On board Tresillian they split their year old main sail so they had to retire and bring in the damaged sail for re-gluing.
RESULTS: IRC 1 fleet: 1st Vindscreen Viper - D Adams; 2nd Pascos Jaguar - C Brown; 3rd Daring - D & C Bloor.
IRC 2 fleet: 1st Demolition - M Sharp; 2nd Excelle - J Fox & T Claridge; 3rd British Beagle - R Edwards.
U fleet: 1st Nitro - M Chamberlain & D Richards; 2nd Midnight Cocktail - A Cook; 3rd Moonlighter - P Collins.