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Kemp Sails PYRA Poole to Weymouth Race and Weymouth to Poole Race

by Liz Bennett 20 Jun 2017 16:59 BST 17-18 June 2017

A glorious sunny morning greeted a fleet of over 15 boats on Saturday. With the tidal gate at 'Cape Saint Albans' due to shut an hour after the start and no breeze, race officer, Dave Hale on Blue Extacy hoisted the AP and instructed the fleet to motor toward Weymouth in search of breeze. Finally it piped up to an almighty 6 kn from a generally southwesterly direction and Dave set a gate start at DZ C buoy. The building tide saw many boats go backwards swiftly towards the headland, and after a couple of hours sailing there was not much progress toward the first mark of Atomic Buoy. Several boats dropped anchors and many retired.

The hardy souls who stuck it out were all new boats to PYRA this year. Congratulations to Mark Carey and crew on Zorra3, Ben Dillistone and crew on Mintaka and Mark Titterington and Hannah on Elevation, who managed a resounding victory. Asked about tactics they modestly explained "it was a bit of an accident"... they dropped their anchor off shore with 3 kn of foul tide. After 45 minutes or so they tried to raise the anchor but it was trapped, it took a further two hours to free, by which time the breeze filled in to 9 to 10 knots.

The rest of the fleet cheered the finishers from the balcony of Weymouth Sailing Club, who hosted a fantastic rendezvous sponsored by Kemp Sails.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny.. with around 3-5 knots of patchy easterly breeze. The fleet slowly motored back toward Poole, in the last of the foul tide with hopes of the breeze filling in. The gate start was set from Atomic Buoy, and the fleet set off with nearly 10 knots of breeze on the nose. At St Aldhams head those who stood on picked some spectacular lifts. The fleet split, at one moment those inshore looked good, the next the offshore boats looked better. The breeze died and radio crackled with retirees. Persistence paid and zephyrs wafted the fleet under spinnakers with the help of the tide toward the finish line.

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