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Ajax class at Falmouth Week 2018

by John Howard 20 Aug 2018 13:00 BST 10-19 August 2018
Pintail, Aquila and Achilles in the Ajax class during Falmouth Week 2018 © Leslie Brown

Day 1 – Helford River SC

A nice force 3/4 SW Breeze with a start line under the water tower and a windward mark laid somewhere half way up the dry dock, well actually just under the lee of Pendennis Castle, was set up for the 12 competitors.

Off the start Persephone managed the committee boat end of the line, and to make a change they weren't doing any circles this time. Polly Oliver took the leeward end on the St Mawes shore and a fairly even start led to an interesting first beat. Polly Oliver, our guests down from Royal Harwich made the most of the left and crossed the fleet to lead at the windward mark followed closely by Pintail, Persephone, Redoubtable and Aquila, masterfully crewed by the Octogenarian farmer from Messack. Trying to get out of the shadow of the headland proved to be the decisive moment of the race. Polly Oliver got away to a handsome lead and this was slowly whittled down by Pintail over the next 2 laps, culminating at the windward mark of Pendennis where Polly Oliver managed to sneak through a tiny gap between Pintail on starboard and the mark. They were then defending their lead down the run from a fast Pintail who was making good progress. Persephone watched them play their games and closed up a lot at the leeward mark to make the short beat up to the finish more interesting.

Pintail managed to get in front of Polly Oliver but some skillful wriggling and finish boat bias saw the team from RHYC sneak back in front to take the first race of the series. Pintail were a smidge behind with Persephone filling the bottom step on the podium. Aquila were safely fourth and a fantastic result for Hereward Tresidder who managed to keep in the hunt for the whole race and just stole fifth from Kali on the finish line...

Day 2 – Mylor YC

A NW breeze was our treat for the day with some of the biggest tides that the Carrick Roads has to offer just to make things a trifle interesting.

Polly Oliver and Pintail once again did a fantastic job of getting away from the windward mark in clear air, this time however Kali led them both after a cracking first beat. However the long run down to Zone gave Pintail an opportunity to sneak ahead and they took every advantage. A great beat all the way up to Sunbeam, the last 200m of this leg were particularly entertaining with 50 degrees shifts. Nigel Sharp the race officer must have had a good giggle about that one! Polly Oliver once again showed excellent pace in tricky conditions to over haul Pintail for first. A couple more laps and Persephone at last started making some ground and managed to rob Kali of third on the finish line.

Some notable performances from Redoubtable who was once again in the thick of it and also from Victory who were also doing really well but managed, along with Hermes, to sail through the start line and were dsq'd from the race.

Day 3 – Restronguet SC

Race 1 - A westerly breeze steadily built during the day and the race officer, Nigel Sharp, decided to have some fun with the fleets and set the windward mark just under the lee of the biggest hill available. How he must have laughed about that. Artemis made the most of it with a couple of personal 40 degrees lifts that were not usable by anyone else and stormed to the lead closely followed by Polly Oliver. Persephone was third and Kali 4th, Aquila managed to steal a couple of spots on the finish line. Achilles and Vim were both OCS.

Race 2 - Persephone was a bit too keen at the start and had to go back, Polly Oliver stole a great start and led at the windward mark, with Vim, Kali, Aquila, Persephone and Pintail following around. On the second beat the tide had turned and Persephone went left and made some big gains cutting off all but Polly Oliver. Pintail managed to catch up on the downwind legs and apply pressure for 2nd place but the heavyweights on Persephone were always going to control the situation upwind in the strengthening breeze. Vim held on for 4th Artemis 5th and Kali 6th.

Day 4 - Champagne Day!

A westerly 4 was the order of the day and for once we were not racing around buoys under mountains - thank you Nigel Sharp! A much closer race all round, off the start Polly Oliver once again chose the pin, and once again they were correct leading the rest of the fleet round the windward mark, Aquila sailed a blinder of a first beat and rounded second closely followed by Persephone, Pintail, Vim and Kali.

The white sail reach down to Carricknath proved interesting when Pintail switched on their silent jet powered 230hp bilge pump and sailed through underneath Aquila without slowing in the slightest, Persephone had managed to overtake Aquila but not quite clear an overlap so the gybe mark saw Pintail in 2nd, Aquila 3rd and Persephone in 4th but all really close. More place changes on the next 2 beats and Polly Oliver were sailing brilliantly to maintain their lead. Persephone worked up to 2nd and Pintail looked solid in 3rd. Kali made some good gains to steal 4th from Aquila close to the line - retribution perhaps for a couple of races ago where the situation had been reversed.

Day 5 - Royal Cornwall YC

Race 1 - Another fresh north westerly and the race officer Nigel Sharp confused our course with his crochet pattern that was keeping him busy during racing - well it must have done as he failed to spot Artemis sailing through the start line on the second beat within a boat length of the committee boat! The start produced some entertainment with a dust up between Polly Oliver and Persephone resulting in Polly Oliver being over the line and sailing around the committee boat and starting at the back of the fleet. However, it didn't slow them down much as by the windward mark they were up to 2nd behind Artemis and in front of Persephone and Pintail. The final beat up to Trefusis and Persephone and Pintail made the incorrect call to go left up the beat, Polly Oliver chasing Artemis went right and Artemis tried to hedge their bets and stay in the middle. Polly Oliver found a lovely 40 degrees lift and cruised past Artemis to take the win, Persephone and Pintail found themselves in a whole heap of trouble as both Vim and Aquila appeared from the right and took a well-deserved 3rd and 4th respectively.

Race 2 - Artemis again were on form and were fast away. A great race ensued with a real tussle for 3rd between Pintail and Persephone but Polly Oliver and Artemis were once again leading the way. A poor gybe / drop from Persephone at Cream of Cornwall let Pintail through with only one beat remaining. Vim has been consistently improving through the week and were now close on the heels of this pair in 5th. The final beat saw Artemis controlling Polly Oliver, Pintail covering Persephone until a couple of shifts saw the positions change however Vim had gone left unnoticed and made the most of the change of tide and shot up from 5th to 2nd cutting off everyone bar Artemis. Polly Oliver was 3rd, Persephone 4th and Pintail 5th.

Day 6 – St Mawes SC

More westerly force 4 gusting 5 and the race officer set the windward mark in relatively clear breeze in the entrance to Falmouth Harbour, we were all shocked, but then the wind gods thought that would be no fun and a 30 degrees wind shift saw an AP flag flying and a 15 minute postponement while the windward mark was moved to its permanent mooring between Sunbeam and the largest hill in the area. At the start Polly Oliver and Persephone went left and were down by the pin, Artemis went right and and it was these 3 boats that eventually rounded the windward mark very close together. The run down was interspersed by a large commercial catamaran trying to cross the fleet, well noticeably Artemis, however the captain of Artemis knows some people who know some people, allegedly a phone call was made and suddenly the catamaran was reversing out of Artemis' way! Persephone managed to sneak in front of Polly Oliver when they went for an unnecessary gybe but then let them back through by over standing the windward mark. Artemis then came down the last run on a lovely bit of breeze and managed to squeeze in the middle of Polly Oliver and Persephone but a poor gybe at South Narrows let Persephone back through and they held onto 2nd behind Polly Oliver at the finish. Pintail were 4th and Vim continued their good form with a 5th and Aquila 6th.

Day 7 – Flushing SC

Another fine westerly breeze and this time, for once the windward mark was in open water! Persephone and Vim were on the pin and went left up the first beat, Artemis and Polly Oliver were more central and for once Polly Oliver' sat nav appeared to be slightly broken as they did not round the windward mark in first... Artemis rounded first closely followed by Persephone, Polly Oliver and then Vim. The shy reach from the windward mark down to Carricknath was entertaining as it was quite tight. Artemis and Persephone made decent gybes and were astounded to hear some swearing on the foredeck of Polly Oliver who were definitely having a bit of a moment, allegedly a late night and the octogenarian farmer were the cause! Pintail flew down the run to Bohella and were right on the heels of Artemis and Persephone. A split on the beat let Artemis make the most of a couple of lovely shifts and all of a sudden, they were 100m clear. Persephone opened a bit of a gap on Pintail who were narrowly ahead of both Polly Oliver and Vim who were catching up quickly. The shy reach up to Sunbeam again let the leaders stretch out but once again the run down to Pascos had all of Pintail, Polly Oliver and Vim catching up with breeze on Persephone. The long beat up to the finish line at Trefusis had the fleet split, Artemis played the middle and covered everyone enough to take the win. Persephone chose to cover Pintail and Polly Oliver up the Trefusis shore and let Vim go hard left where it paid again handsomely, and they stormed into the finish line to take second. Persephone held on to finish 3rd ahead of Pintail and Polly Oliver with Aquila closing into finish 6th.

Huge congratulations to the crew of Polly Oliver for a stunning performance this week, Mike, Bob and Amanda have thoroughly deserved their win. We look forward to welcoming them down in St Mawes in the future.

Persephone with Nigel, John and Kyran finished 2nd with some pretty consistent results but no bullets.

Artemis with Paul, Ian and Dave worked their way up to 3rd with plenty of great results including 3 first places.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmSundayMondayTuesday 1Tuesday 2WednesdayThursday 1Thursday 2FridaySaturdayPts
1Polly Oliver17Mike Clayton1121113158
2Persephone33Nigel Savage33322542318
3Artemis21Ian Woods1471514213120
4Pintail36Richard Bown22633654423
5Vim46Luke Scott891446325230
6Kali45Gary Morse644647761437
7Aquila53Lindsey Thomas414575467637
8Achilles48Richard Townshend751487888851
9Redoubtable32Hereward Tresidder5691414101410963
10Mary B42Rob Mathewson1414798141411770
11Hermes70Anthony Armitage9148141411991070
12Polyphemus40Mike Grice108101414914121477
13Victory19Mike Black1114111091414131179

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