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Poole Yacht Racing Association last outing of the season to Weymouth

by Ken Morgan 24 Sep 2015 14:19 BST 19-20 September 2015

PYRA's last outing of the season to Weymouth always attracts a large entry list, this year 23 boats (10 in class 1, 7 in class 2, 4 in the non-spinnaker class 4 and 2 class 5 multihulls). The trend towards larger boats is very noticeable.

The forecast for the weekend was generally spot on with 2 days of fine sunny weather but light winds. Certainly the 1100 hours start on Saturday was very light with a mere 3-4kts from the NE. Blue Extasy was prepared to lead a motor convoy to get us away but instead, we just about managed a downwind start off the Swash line, albeit with some tight jockeying among the class 2 boats.

Unexpectedly, the breeze soon built to around 12 knots progressively veering and then dropping away again during the day. Tidal strategies paid off, most noticeably for Blue Extasy as she went tight inshore towards St Aldhelms, making good way towards her class 1 win even with an excruciatingly tight hourglass! As soon as it cleared, Esprit followed suit to provide continuing entertainment for the opposition.

At the back of the fleet, two-thirds of what used to be class 3 battled it out at close quarters rounding DZ A to starboard, then in again leaving Arish Mell to port, taking our time at each lest the wind should die completely. In practice the breeze held out, albeit right around to SW by the finish. The other ex class 3 boat, super light Pink Panther, was meanwhile way ahead en route to the first of her 2 weekend class 2 wins. Quadrophenia and Smithy won classes 4 and 5 respectively.

Hope and Glory, having lost her prop on Friday, skilfully short tacked her 50' into the narrow harbour. Crews made a quick turnaround for the 1800hrs RV at Weymouth SC, generously hosted by Poole Sailing with drinks all round and bottle prizes for the provisional class winners. A brief distraction and big cheer as Japan beat S Africa, then PYRA Captain Roger Bond led the Loyal Toast with rum tots before a splendid communal supper.

PYRA joined Weymouth SC for Bart's Bash 1100hrs on Sunday morning with a modest SW breeze. A good mixed fleet of Poole and Weymouth cruisers and Squibs sailed a triangle sausage course before the PYRA boats peeled off the finish line, hoisted kites and continued back to Poole, leaving Arish Mell to starboard and Peverill Ledge to port, times to be taken at each.

The breeze was frustratingly light, especially with the foul tide due to kick in at 1500hrs. Hope and Glory, Esprit and Blue Extasy, again tight inshore, broke away leaving the following class 1 boats to butt up against the tide at St Aldhelms. From there on close inshore to get the narrow line of back eddy, just below the rock climbers, was the way forward.

Hope and Glory won class 1, Pink Panther class 2, Quadrophenia class 4 and Smithy class 5. For some it was a very long day but worth it in glorious late September sunshine. Now down to sorting out another varied and challenging PYRA programme for 2016.

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