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Poole Yacht Racing Association - Yarmouth and Back

by Roger Bond 12 Sep 2019 19:51 BST 7-8 September 2019
Poole Yacht Racing Association - Yarmouth and Back © Mike Fox

A Class 3 perspective

In Poole Bay, our Race Officer, Peter Biggs, on 'The Grey Silkie' our Committee boat for the weekend, got all yachts away on time in a fair northery breeze beat back to the shore.

The three MG 27s in Class 3 lead the way but not for long; Classes 1 & 2, who started 5 minutes later, passing under spinnaker at a busy windward mark. The kite reach took us all of the 8 mile leg to the Christchurch Ledge buoy, and from there a fetch to the next mark.

Class 1&2 to Mid Bay buoy and Classes 3&4 inshore to Rig buoy which turned out to be missing! However, the GPS coordinates provided a 'virtual' mark which all three MG's duly observed: in order, Minstral, Athene and Mojito - all within a few minutes.

Next it was North Head to Starboard for all Classes. The MG's where now on each others transoms: passing Sconce to port and finishing fast under a flood tide at our Black Rock transit; just seconds separting them after three hours racing.

Our traditional rendezvous was, on this occasion, aboard the Macgregor's Elan, 'Flair V' with overspill on the pontoon. Drinks aplenty were generously provided by our sponsor for the weekend; POOLE it.

Our MC, Roger, delivered a potted history of Royal Navy History 'on this day' the 7th Sept, followed by a traditional Rum Tot and Loyal Toast. Prizes were also awarded to the provisional winners of each class:

Class 1: Joy, a racing keelboat JPK 1010 skippered by Dave Butters
Class 2: Brendon Pell on 'Vento Novo' a Dehler 29'
Class 3: Ian Aitkin's MG27 'Minstral'
Class 4: Single handed, Bob Wheeler on his classic Elizabethan 30, 'Skykomish'

Full results can be found at

The race back to Poole was designed to take advantage of the few hours of ebb tide and minimise the risk of little or no wind early afternoon. Thus SW Shingles was the first mark with option of a shortened course at Perenco in Poole Bay. The fleet sped rapidly away under the tide and full spinnakers past Sconce...

...but the northerly breeze dropped early at Hurst narrows and the fleet slowly inched toward the needles. Class 2 decided early to shorten course at SW Shingles mark.

Others decided to call it a day while others persevered; including the three MGs with 'Minstral' getting around before the wind completely died. 'Mojito' took over an hour after slipping past and missing the mark on first attempt!

Thankfully, the SW breeze started to fill slowly and 'Mojito' gradually made her way back and rounded the mark and shortly after slipping along at 1.5 knots but were soon up to hull speed however and later, mid-afternoon, approaching Bar Buoy was having to flatten sails to keep her gunnels dry. The final short leg down The Swash to our finish line was sufficiently rapid to keep the kite in the bag!

Challenging racing thanks to our ever-changing weather!

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