After so long off the water there’s a fair few of us that think a little race is mitigation for reducing the severity or pain that Corona virus has caused so many of us. It has pushed my business to the cliff edge, it’s left friends jobless, friends have lost mums and dads.

So it was finally good to get the rescue project off the hardstanding and on the water. For those of you furloughed that have been learning new skills or making ‘Corona projects’ sadly for the new boat from now on called “David Styroker Brine”, also known as Dr. Octavius Brine or better known as “Dave” for short; this is what happens when you let children choose boat names, better than mcboatface I guess.

Dave had sat on the drive all through Corona Virus untouched, whilst I looked on at social media furlough projects, whilst we fought to survive, boat bumbling was a long way from my mind. Dave sat getting a tan unloved on the drive whilst we searched and haggled for a way to keep Suffolk Sails running.

On close inspection “Dave” was a bargain for a reason! A few new ropes, a bucket of sand to put our collective heads in, ‘don’t do today what you can put of till tomorrow” saw the team rigging up and bodging a few hasty rigging items.

The sailing club had been busy getting systems in place to race, this meant no changing rooms and outdoor race office. Pre posted entry / sign on and course posted digitally and on outdoor course board to help with metre plus mitigation. There was a busy boat park, as the largely singlehanded fleet decided on wind versus effort (it’s been so long I think some sailors have forgotten that old adage “a bad day on the water…”

With “Dave” ready the team launched and then quickly came back ashore when they realised the centreboard was seized. A quick capsize and another bodge and the team took to the water…. She “Dave” floats!

Race 1, Summer Corona Cup?

Course: Oyster (port)

Kingsfleet (port)

Visitors (starboard)

Oyster (port)

Kingsfleet (port)

Line

Wind 8-10knots, tide nearly Highwater (about an hour to go)

At the gun Dave hit the line first, closely followed by Roger Lewis and David Robertson in the RS400, Team Moriarty in the wardrobe (sorry wayfarer), Chris Coe in the RSswimmer and a gaggle of lasers (sorry Harley didn’t see you). With the spinnaker set on Dave, Scammell/Read struggled to hold the line as Lewis/Robertson sailed a more direct course into the lead, the leg tightening to not quite a beat. Chris was getting to grips with mast up sailing and was catching, Harley the lead laser close behind Scammell/Read.

Lewis/Robertson held the lead around oystercatcher pursued by Scammell/Read, Harley next followed by Chris still right way up and team Moriarty. This was a beat to kingsfleet, Scammell/Read tacked early to try to get some separation from Lewis/Robertson. A tactic foiled by some terrible jib sheet knotting (we’ll cover the 7P’s again I’m sure, Scammell report to the Headmaster!) Lewis/Robertson tacked to keep them between the fleet and the next Mark. Rounding kingsfleet Lewis/Robertson held a small lead from Scammell/Read.

Lewis/Robertson hoisted their asymmetric and clung to the Felixstowe shore to cheat the tide, the hoist with Scammell/Read was not quite as slick, it took some time to work out which system was not running before the kite could be set. This let Lewis/Robertson get away and left Scammell/Read being shadowed by the only multihull in their race…🤔

With the kite set Scammell/Read held on to Lewis/Robertson but the damage was done. It was all about keeping second on handicap from the laser who I think had now got in front of Coe still struggling with multi-tasking a kite on a singlehander (well he is a man…) Lewis/Robertson rounded Visitor with a healthy lead and headed back up River. Scammell/Read managed to get in front of the Dart 18 and rounded Visitors and headed upriver.

“oystercatcher, it’s over there” says Matt,

“yeah, I think Rog is having a navigational issue, let’s not make it obvious just yet” I reply.

By the time Lewis/Robertson stopped the old man ramblings and realised they were long past Oystercatcher Scammell/Read had cut the lead to equal, with the tide helping Scammell/Read and Lewis/Robertson needing the kite to get back it was going to be close.

Scammell/Read turned Oystercatcher first with a small lead from Lewis/Robertson. A match race, how exciting!

Match racing when you have the lead is simple, keep your boat between the next Mark and the opposition, he tacks? You tack. So when Lewis/Robertson tacked we tacked, easy; but it’s never easy. We got a header, then a hole, Lewis/Robertson saw their opportunity and tacked onto the lift, they had breeze too….

“I sailed into this b*****d header I may as well sail out of it…”

“he’s got breeze”

Scammell/Read turned kingsfleet with a very small lead, at least the kite hoist was now working for us and we set and started to look for the best run back to Visitors. Lewis/Robertson hoisted and started the pursuit, the breeze was softening a little which suited the Merlin. We pulled out a little bit more, then a lot more.

“Rog has found the bottom”

“yep, he’s on……………….

……….

……. And he’s off, just behind the Dart”

With a healthy lead Scammell/Read turned Visitors and held the kite for a line honours and handicap win. Winner winner chicken dinner, Lewis/Robertson crossed next and then… And then.. We didn’t see; but results for handicap were: 1st Scammell/Read, 2nd Paddy and Tom Moriarty, 3rd laser (Harley??) Sorry results bit of Corona sailing is not quite upto speed!

So “Dave”has gone off to the legend Graham Eeles for some much needed work before were can start refitting systems, next week it’s an RS sail.
PS: check out tthat mainsail on the merlin SEXY!!!! 😍