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Ajax class at the Falmouth Week Regatta 2022

by John Howard 15 Aug 2022 14:56 BST 7-13 August 2023

Twelve Ajax class yachts competed at the Falmouth Week Regatta 2022 in the Carrick Roads. With a very substantial high pressure located over most of the UK, the forecast for the week was very light, with sun hats obligatory, patience required, and swimming recommended but optional.

The week started on Sunday, August 7th with Helford River Sailing Club's event, Athena showed her light wind pace, especially downwind, where they were sailing at angles most of us could only dream about and maintaining boat speed when the rest of us were struggling to get going. The Carrick Roads looked like a patchwork quilt with little veins of wind and dark patches and large, cavernous holes and 40 degrees wind shifts all over the shop. Athena set the pace chased by Polyphemus and Diomedes.

Monday at Mylor Yacht Club and the race officer was getting a taste of the week ahead, with delays while any kind of breeze tried to establish itself but with no clouds rising inland the thoughts of a thermal breeze were sadly extinguished once again. Polyphemus, Pintail, Kali, and Diomedes did well up the beat but Athena was always in the mix and once again got clear ahead to take their 2nd win of the week.

Tuesday and Restronguet Sailing Club brought more of the same conditions and once again Athena worked her way into the lead and stretched away with devastating downwind speed, passing Polyphemus and Kali on the run.

Wednesday and the slightly longer race sponsored by Mainbrace Rum is always a favourite, however the conditions were similar to earlier in the week with patches all over the shop that seemed to change at irregular intervals. Polyphemus managed to get to the breeze on the right first and led at the windward mark and then she managed to extend away from the fleet on her own private zephyr, but in these conditions, it is never over... a shortened course once again and a nervy beat up tide to the finish line, Kali held on to 2nd and Athena were 3rd.

Thursday, Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and the first of three 2 race days. Troy who has been consistently fast since going in the water started and was only competing in the latter half of the week got away to a perfect start, holding onto a narrow lead over Athena with Kittywake, Polyphemus, and Achilles rounding the mark shortly after and opting for the other side of the course, Polyphemus managed to sneak passed Kittywake on the short run to the finish line with Achilles close behind.

Race 2 was a nail-biter as it was getting late in the day and the patchy breeze seemed destined to leave us with at worst an abandoned race or at best a long paddle home. But we got off the line and all looked good for a while, Athena once again got ahead having chosen the correct side of the course while Polyphemus and Troy were on the wrong side of everything. Artemis was chasing hard with Pintail, and we ended up going round East Narrows in virtually nothing, a tiny short beat to south narrows saw Troy and Redoubtable pass Polyphemus who now saw a RIB going home already towing Kali and opted to hitch a ride while the rest of the fleet persisted in the dying breeze. However, a tiny patch managed to get the leaders over the line, Troy picked up a few more places and finished 3rd behind Athena and Artemis with Pintail 4th.

Friday and St Mawes Day was even lighter than usual, the committee boat was moved to try and find any breeze at all to get a race under way. And an optimistic course was set with the hopes we could get started. Just before the start, and to the left of the pin was a lovely easterly but about 50m shy of making the starting area, almost the entire fleet was hanging around in the breeze trying to time a run into the flat spot to be able to cross the line against the flooding tide. At the committee boat, it looked much flatter to most of us but Artemis had seen something and was managing to just hold herself against the tide, she crossed the line and was away towards the easterly on the opposite shore. Now there was a little bit of stress at the pin end, we all tried to get to the line, but none of us could, in the end, we were all timed out and Artemis was the only starter of the race!

Saturday at Flushing Sailing Club was a rerun of the previous few days with an incredibly patchy, light, shifty breeze filling in predominantly on the St Mawes side of the course. Artemis, Athena, Troy, and Polyphemus all lined up at the pin heading over to the windy side of the course, and all of them, apart from Artemis, made good progress away from the fleet. Pretty certain Artemis had forgotten to take the brake off. After a while, the three of them tacked off well above the lay line for the windward mark, and Troy and Athena squeezed out Polyphemus and she headed off back to the St Mawes shore. After a few hundred metres the wind in the middle shut down and the incoming tide was getting stronger, Polyphemus hugged the breeze and the shoreline and progressed almost to the lighthouse before trying to make the windward, but by this stage, there was no wind in the middle of the course and every time you approached the windward mark you ran out of the breeze and were swept away by the tide... And thus, the time limit was reached before anyone managed to finish the first leg.

Overall, a well-deserved victory for Athena with a superb set of results including 4 race wins out of 7 races. She had shown superb boat speed all week, especially downwind, and excellent tactics to ensure consistent results. Polyphemus was 2nd and had shown some decent moments with Pintail completing the podium in 3rd. The short series on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday which should have constituted 6 races, unfortunately only managed to complete 3, and one of those was the comedy start where Artemis was the only boat that made the start line. As a result, the short series was won by Artemis with Athena 2nd and Troy 3rd.

A big thank you to the Race management team from Falmouth Sailing who worked tirelessly in very difficult circumstances to try and get some racing for us, 7 races out of 10 planned, in those circumstances was a decent result. Hopefully, 2023 will bring as much sunshine but more breeze!

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmSunday
Thursday 1
Thursday 2
Friday 1
1Athena56Rob Geddes Brown111321139
2Polyphemus40Mike Grice22413131325
3Pintail36Richard Bown4354741327
4Diomedes67Martyn Osborne3536681331
5Kali45David Lippold54228131334
6Achilles48Richard Townshend7667561337
7Kittywake27Martin Eddy13785471344
8Redoubtable32Hereward Tresidder687131051349
9Artemis21Ian Woods1313131392151
10Troy58Gavin Watson13131313131356
11Persephone33Guy Ashton131391313131374
12Amalthea59Mike Black1313131311131376

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