Penzance Pirate - Round 3 of SSW Winter Series
12 November 2017, Penzance Sailing Club
Wind NNW 25-45kn
The day started at Penzance SC with a few early birds arriving at 8.30 to be greeted with white water in Mounts Bay and winds gusting offshore at over 30kn. As discussion over abandonment started the wind seemed to drop a little and 11 intrepid sailors including several visitors who braved the weather for the trip into Cornwall, ventured out into the harbour.
The Race Officer gave the all clear to get on the water for the scheduled 10.30 start. Everyone was equipped with a Sailing Southwest GPS tracker to keep an eye on things. As the race start times approached the local Mirror sailors Lloyd and Sebi Williams launched but wisely turned back. The conditions were worsening and the gusts within the harbour were severe.
Nine boats made it out of the harbour braving a gusty exit past the threatening concrete walls and the 5kn speed limit – broken by all!
Into Mounts Bay and the sole remaining Enterprise of Colin Stephens and Simon Lees blasted off on the downwind reaching start. Touching speeds of 14.8 kn, the Enterprise was moving rapidly to the gybe mark and the first of several capsizes (while racing).
3 minutes later Laser sailor Ben Flower raced off the start line hitting the overall top speed of 18.6kn soon afterward. The D-Zeros and Blazes, an RS100 and RS Aero were all out on the water ready for their starts, when a friendly dolphin, known locally as Pierre, popped in to check on the sailors, giving local sailor Kian Andrews a fantastic show as he danced around the D-Zero.
The wind had increased to over 30 knots and gusting more, so time was called on the race. Ben had demonstrated a masterclass for heavy weather sailing, bombing around the course and putting two laps in before a rescue boat could catch him to tell him the race was abandoned.
The fleet took a few more capsizes as they battled the conditions but eventually a complete group of damp sailors returned to the bar, all grinning from ear to ear!
Well done to the race team and especially the rescue team in gathering up the stragglers and escorting them home.
But the day wasn’t quite over for everyone… The rescue crews offered to test their search and rescue skills, as they ventured out once more to locate a tracker that had gone overboard! They were guided to its location using the GPS system, and managed to pluck the tiny device from the ocean. Their radio message of success raised a fantastic cheer in the clubhouse.
The race may have been abandoned, but for fun, the race committee used the GPS tracker results to determine the fastest boats and awarded their Pirate Prizes to some terrifying speeds.
Roll on the Christmas Cracker at Paignton and hopefully calmer weather.
Results of the fastest recorded speeds:
1st Ben Flower Laser Standard 18.6 kn
2nd Greg Bartlett RS Aero 7 15.8 kn
3rd Stacy Bray D Zero 15.6 kn
4th Adam Elley / Thomas Elley Osprey 15.4 kn
5th Kian Andrews D Zero 15.0 kn
6th Colin Stephens/ Simon Lee Enterprise 14.8 kn
7th C Wood Blaze 10.9 kn
8th J Gilbert RS 100 10.6 kn
9th Hugh Kingdon Blaze 9.9 kn