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Craftinsure 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Ajax class at Falmouth Week 2021

by John Howard 17 Aug 23:52 BST
Troy - Ajax class at Falmouth Week 2021 © Lindsey Thomas

Race 1 - Helford River Sailing Club - Sunday 8th August

Westerly breeze that varied between F3 and F5 led to an interesting conundrum for the race officer with an ever-increasing incoming southerly spring tide, the result was a knitting pattern of a course that would have baffled Tom Daley. The windward mark was set over towards the Trefusis shore and a series of laps of short windward legs and long white sail reaches was to follow.

To continue the theory of the championships Artemis and Polyphemus started early and had to come back. The majority of the fleet aimed up the centre of the course while Kittiwake and Polyphemus pushed hard left, up tide, and enjoyed more breeze and came into the windward mark in first and second place followed closely by Redoubtable, Pintail and Polly Oliver. Polyphemus managed to get to the front on the ensuing downwind leg and stretch a substantial lead over the next legs while Polly Oliver managed to push through into second.

As the fleet closed up with Sunbeam fleet coming up to the second beat Polyphemus now found herself getting into trouble being forced to tack for clear air on numerous occasions and Polly Oliver took big chunks out of her lead. At the last leeward mark Polyp still had a 30m lead but was still in the middle of the Sunbeams who dogged her every move.

Polly Oliver managed to keep clear air and peel Polyp off against another Sunbeam who was crossing on starboard, got to the correct end of the finish line and squeeze into first place, there may have been some slightly offensive language used on Polyphemus and chuckling on Polly Oliver. Athena worked her way up to third and Pintail to fourth. Expecting similar conditions for Race 2 on Tuesday.

Race 2 - Mylor Yacht Club - Monday 9th August

SSW F4/5 and a much better course than day 1 but still a whole heap of flood spring tide from the south led to another great day of racing and boy was it action packed! A tight bunch at the start but today everyone behaved, and we were all the right side of the line. Polly Oliver headed off to the left aiming up to the windward mark towards the docks, with Pintail and Artemis in hot pursuit.

The reach down to Lugo was pretty shy so the tactic was sail high before launching kites, Polly Oliver had a nice lead and Pintail, Artemis, Polyphemus, Achilles and Athena were all in the chasing group. In a tight mark rounding at Bohella Polyphemus managed to sail round the outside and was up into second for the beat back up to Pendennis.

On the second lap to Pendennis and back to Bohella Artemis decided to wrap their kite around the cones on top of Lugo buoy (a substantial navigation mark), anyway the mark was unharmed however Artemis' spinnaker was not. Achilles had some dissent from the crew, at least we assume this is the story, anyway one of them decided to jump ship but had some indecision or second thoughts half-way through the process and managed to hang on before being hoisted back onboard.

Athena continued to make good progress through the fleet. On the second beat Polly Oliver went hard left and Polyphemus hard right and picked up a great shift and slightly better use of the tide to move ahead of Polly Oliver with Athena continuing to close up to the leaders. Then Polyphemus was swept onto the mark and had to complete a 360 degrees turn which allowed Polly Oliver to catch back up with Athena safely in 3rd about 50m behind on the short run down to South Narrows.

Polyphemus had some technical issues with a tangle of string on a jib sheet as they set off up the beat and Polly Oliver serenely moved back to first. Then followed a long broad reach down to Pascoes Boatyard at the mouth of St Just creek and Athena was right on the heels of Polyphemus who were 50m behind Polly Oliver for the short beat to the finish line off Mylor and a close tacking duel continued.

Athena managed to split on the last 100m to the line, caught a nice shift and crossed Polyphemus and tacked to cover, Polyphemus put in another quick tack up to the line to hold the starboard advantage and make use of the committee boat bias and when they closed again caught Athena back on starboard on the finish line.

End results of Polly Oliver taking her second win, Polyphemus taking another second and Pintail finishing in third. Such close racing all the way through the race with many place changes, this was an absolute thriller. Lighter forecast for tomorrow, and some sunshine...

Race 3 - Restronguet Sailing Club - Tuesday 10th August

Well after yesterdays all action drama, Tuesday brought light breezes from the west... and southwest... and northwest... and sometimes nothing at all. Absolute joy for the race officer who had to guesstimate a course for us before the breeze had built at all, another day of battling big shifts and holes, the only saving grace was that today there was slightly less tide.

A clean start for all on the beat up towards Trefusis and once again Polly Oliver popped out in front with Kittewake, Polyphemus, Pintail and Athena in hot pursuit on a shy spinnaker reach to Carricknath, here there was a divide in how to manage the spinnaker drop. The boats with twin pole systems have worked out that you cannot spin the gear without an inevitable knot appearing somewhere amongst the unfathomable amount of string that is required, so Polyphemus worked slightly to windward, bore away at the end and completed a windward drop.

Athena completed a leeward drop but would need to do a couple of quick gybes at Pendennis to complete their launch from the wrong side. Polly Oliver and Pintail simply unhooked everything, spun the gear, and hooked it back up on the opposite side - simples.

A short run down to East Narrows and then another little beat up to Trefusis, Polly Oliver had managed to extend a bit away from Polyphemus but the run down from Trefusis to St Just was going to be painful as it ran through a massive great wind shadow behind the highest hill around the Carrick Roads. Polly Oliver went close to the land but found a lovely little wind band that took them half-way down the run until it deposited them in their own private little hole. Polyphemus had opted to gybe away from the land and were now closing in on Polly Oliver until they also entered the same wind less zone.

In the meantime, Athena and Pintail had summoned their own private breeze and were barrelling down the run fully powered up. However today was not going to be a day for drama and everything resolved itself without an upset. Polly Oliver claimed her third win, Polyphemus yet another second, Athena was third and Pintail fourth.

Race 4 - Mainbrace Rum Day - Wednesday 11th August

Well, we were promised a longer race for today and that's what we got, a real magical mystery tour of the Carrick Roads. There was a solid F4 SW wind with some patchy spots and the course was....

Start line, under the water tower, to Windward mark near Pendennis, back down to South Narrows, up to Headland (South of Pendennis point), down to Bohella in St Mawes harbour, up to Carricknath, down to West Narrows, up to the temporary mark north of the docks in Falmouth harbour, down to Waterloo, back up to the windward mark by Pendennis down to East Narrows, gybe to St Just, back up to Trefusis, down to St Just, back up to Trefusis, reach over to Cream Cornwall (North Narrows) and up to the finish line of Governor. 16 marks of the course!

On Polyphemus we write the course across the hood - and it was hardly big enough! We felt most sorry for the VHF handler on the committee boat who had to repeat the course about 15 times to various yachts who had failed to write it down in time! The tide was ebbing for the first part of the race and flooding for the latter half and there were plenty of shifts.

Polyphemus had the best start at the committee boat, but Pintail crossed the fleet on port from the pin end of the line and then headed right up the beat with Polly Oliver. At the windward mark Polyphemus just sneaked in front of Polly Oliver to hold a narrow lead for the first run but Polly Oliver managed to break free up the next beat and establish a 25m lead as we approached the mouth of the Carrick Roads but then a navigational error saw them head out to sea towards an inflatable yellow mark that was being used for the Bay fleet rather than Headland. Polyphemus, Pintail and Athena all capitalised on their mistake which had cost them a few hundred metres.

The rest of the course involved leads extending and then being reeled back in, Polyphemus managed to wrap their spinnaker sheet around the keel at one point which let the chasing pack catch back up and then it all came down to the last beat up from Cream Cornwall to the finish. Athena was closing in on Polyphemus, Polly Oliver had managed to get in front of Pintail and as the fleet closed in on Governor the ridiculous shifts closed everything up even more.

In the end Polyphemus finished 1st followed by Athena a few boat lengths behind and Polly Oliver a smidge after them. After 3 half hours of racing the top four boats all finished within a minute - great racing. And to the victor the spoils of a fine bottle of Mainbrace Rum!! (And as it turned out also to 2nd, 3rd and 4th!)

Race 5 & 6 - Royal Cornwall Yacht Club - Thursday 12th August

A two race day! A F4/5 SW with an ebb tide for race 5 and flood for race 6.

Race 5 - windward leeward course of 3 laps with the start line just north of the narrows and the windward mark east of Trefusis. Off the start both Polly Oliver and Kittiwake jumped the gun and headed back to restart. Troy's first appearance of the week saw them with great upwind boat speed and head out to an early lead followed closely by Polyphemus, Pintail and Athena. Their lead was closed down the run but they managed to stay in front and a close battle ensued for 3rd place between Athena who were sailing 2 up and Pintail, Athena managed to scrape past Pintail in the final run down to the finish line behind Troy and Polyphemus, Polly Oliver could only recover to 6th place behind Artemis.

Race 6 - Short Carrick roads course with a beat up to the windward mark, run down to South Narrows, beat up to Governor under the lee of Pendennis, shy spinnaker reach to North Bank, gybe to Water Tower and then a final beat up to the finish line at Trefusis. Once again Troy had a great start and first beat along with Polyphemus to the windward mark, Polly Oliver found herself back in the pack forced to go the wrong way up the first beat. Polyphemus rounded first but had a small broach at the windward mark and Troy swept passed.

Athena were close behind Polyphemus down the first run with Pintail and Artemis just behind. Troy managed to extend away making the most of the tricky shifts up by Governor. On the shy spinnaker reach to North Bank Troy and Polyphemus managed to carry their kites all the way, Artemis dropped half way through to gain height and relaunch and quite a few boats opted to go high and launch late.

At the gybe mark Troy safely navigated the tricky manoeuvre to maintain her lead and Polyphemus sneaked passed Artemis to retake 2nd place. And then the final beat up to Trefusis, Troy and Polyphemus went left, Artemis, Athena and Polly Oliver all headed right.

Troy had enough of a lead to cross and hold on to the lead but Artemis crossed off Polyphemus to move back to second only to let Polyphemus escape to the right at the top and make the most of the bias on the finish line to get back to second. Artemis were third, Athena fourth, Polly Oliver fifth and Kittiwake moved ahead of Pintail for an excellent sixth.

Race 7 & 8 - St Mawes Sailing Club - Friday 13th August

A WSW F4 which was coming down the course in bands with quite sizable shifts just to complicate matters. Race 7 was a 3 lap windward leeward, and Race 8 was another short Carrick Roads course. I must apologise at this point as all these stories are coming from the view on Polyphemus and we had a bit of an action-packed day, so if I missed something....

Race 7 - As per normal we all lined up for the start from just north of the narrows to a windward mark east of Trefusis, and today it was Polyphemus' turn to take the Nemesis trophy and push the start line too far, we then had round the pin and restart behind the fleet. Troy, Artemis, Athena and Polly Oliver were leading up the beat, but Polyphemus managed to get to the right side of the course and were actually leading at the first windward mark only to have Athena draw level down the first run and take an inside overlap at the leeward mark and then pull clear up the next beat.

Troy was getting the shifts bang on and managed to extend away from Athena, followed by Polly Oliver and Polyphemus for the last run with Artemis a few more boat lengths back. Polyphemus managed to get level with Polly Oliver down the last run but there was an incident on the finish line, Polyphemus crash gybing, nearly wiping the crew out, dropping the kite and having to re-round the finish line, this led to Polly Oliver retiring, Artemis getting through for third place and Polyphemus ending up fourth. Dramatic stuff!

Race 8 - A short Carrick course with a beat to the windward mark, reach to Castle, beat to Pendennis, reach to East Narrows, beat to Governor, reach to West Narrows, gybe to Lugo and down wind to the finish off St Mawes at Bohella.

Athena took the Nemesis trophy for this race and were over the line however unfortunately they did not hear the call from the Race Officer and missed the restart window and had to retire. Once again Troy got a great start and had good speed and, along with Polly Oliver, got clear at the front of the fleet and by all accounts had a great race, although being honest we missed all that...

Just before the windward mark on Polyphemus (on starboard) we nearly got completely wiped out by a gaffer (on port), much heart in mouth stuff, shouting, last minute swerving, rigs touching and maybe a bit of fruity language. Anyway, this must have distracted us a bit, on the spinnaker run we managed to get the spinnaker sheet under the boat and made a mess of sorting the problem out which took the next two beats and two runs to sort.

Somehow, we made it up to third at Governor only to get passed on the downwind leg by Pintail before we eventually sorted the kite, still could have been worse. Redoubtable had a very enjoyable last leg getting through a number of boats on the very final run in from Lugo to the finish line which put a smile on the skipper's face!

Race 9 & 10 - Flushing Sailing Club - Saturday 14th August

The wind had swung to the SSW and was a bit more than forecast at a steady F4 which the gave the race officer a chance for a slightly longer beat, the windward mark was positioned between Governor and Pendennis and the committee boat was on station just north of the Narrows once again and there was a strong ebb tide for most of the day.

Race 9 - A two lap windward leeward course

The stunningly restored Troy was being sailed by Paul and Ian who normally can be seen flitting round the fleet on Artemis, Paul was lovingly stroking the deck of Troy, and Ian had that doomed look that Artemis was going to be needing a huge financial commitment and refurb over the winter to keep Paul quiet!

After the start the fleet was fairly open but Polly Oliver and Troy found a lovely lift on the Castle shore and pulled out a decent lead over Amalthea, Athena and Polyphemus, on the run Polyphemus moved ahead of Amalthea as they both headed back to the Castle shore out of the tide but the gain was hardly worth the extra distance sailed and the lead group pulled further ahead.

And so it carried on, Polly Oliver and Troy had a great battle trading places but eventually Polly Oliver secured their 5th win of the week, followed closely by Troy and Athena then Polyphemus and Pintail.

Race 10 - Windward mark, East Narrow, Castle, Sunbeam and a final beat back to Governor

The Nemesis trophy was up for grabs again, but the race officer could not pick enough suspects out of the massive line up of criminals, so we had a general recall and would start after the Shrimper fleet had been sent away. Once again Polly Oliver pushed the shore and pulled out a small lead on Polyphemus with Troy and Athena pushing hard.

The skipper on Polyphemus (Yours truly) then had a momentary lapse of reason and assumed the Shrimpers would be on the lay line for the windward mark, of course they weren't, and we had massively overstood the windward mark and dropped down to about sixth and ended up having a good old dingdong with Pintail and Diomedes, eventually we caught back up with Athena and briefly got ahead but they managed to regain third place just before the last run.

Once again Polly Oliver and Troy were having a great tussle at the front and were being chased hard by Athena and Polyphemus. After Sunbeam the leaders were short tacking up the Trefusis shore, on Polyphemus we rolled the dice and headed off to St Mawes - it didn't pay.... In the end Polly Oliver won again ahead of Troy, and Athena and Polyphemus just managed to stay in front of Pintail.

Conclusion

The results at the end of the week, congratulations to Mike, Bob and Amanda on Polly Oliver who finished first on 14 points, Mike, John and Kyran on Polyphemus were consistent and ended up second on 19 points and Rob, Veryan and an assortment of other crew were third on 23 points. A great week of sailing in mostly med/strong conditions and great close racing.

A huge thanks to the POFSA, all the organising clubs, the race officer, committee boats (start and finish), the team of volunteers, the rescue boat crews and all else who helped to organise a fantastic week. Looking forward to 2022 already!

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoSkipperSun HRSCMon MYCTue RSCWed RUMThu 1 RCYCThu 2 RCYCFri 1 StMSCFri 2 StMSCSat 1 FSCSat 2 FSCPts
1Polly Oliver17Mike Clayton1113651311114
2Polyphemus40John Howard222122444419
3Athena56Rob Geddes Brown31132342133323
4Troy58Gavin Watson1111111111122231
5Pintail36Richard Bown434447635532
6Artemis21Ian Woods5451153311131347
7Kittiwake27Martin Eddy611611126757654
8Achilles48Richard Townshend8586711978756
9Diomedes67Martyn Osborne96959911610962
10Amalthea59Mike Black11111111885106867
11Redoubtable32Hereward Tresidder77711101010891068
12Persephone33Guy Ashton11111111111289111183

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