S X Girl wins by 50 seconds
The RSYC 2010 Coors Light Cherbourg Double started in gusty conditions at Coronation Buoy on Friday evening. A southwesterly breeze of 15-16 knots was gusting up to around 22 knots and the tide was forecast to be east-going for around three hours after the start. With a course set from the start line to the finish line, with no other marks the decision was whether to go with the tide to Bembridge and try to make up the extra easting, or to fight the tide up to the Needles but start the Channel crossing 20 miles further west.
Classes 2 and 4 were away first at 2005: Most opted for the eastern route but Bedouin and Moondog went west with Bedouin forfeiting any chance of a first place by making contact with the committee boat. Ten minutes later the 18 boats in classes 1 and 3 were away and again the majority but not all went east.
In the eastern fleet, classes 1 and 3 started to overhaul the class 2 and 4 boats around the eastern side of the Island where Big Doris was an early retirement with a gear problem. Once round Bembridge at around 2200, the wind was less gusty and boats set a closehauled course which many maintained right through the night. It was around midnight before the western boats had clawed their way to the Needles by tacking close to the Island shore but once clear of the Bridge, they were able to use their more westerly start to set a slightly freer course.
The crossing was perfect, with a full moon rising through cloud at around 0130, a light sea and not too much traffic encountered in the shipping lanes. By 0600 the ‘eastern’ fleet may have thought their strategy was paying off, but unfortunately so was the breeze. The leaders managed to make the Cherbourg shore but around 5 miles down tide with the prospect of a slow beat up the outer wall to the western entrance and the finish. Those who were still some distance off found themselves defeated by the wind and spring tide and some retired at that point. The fewer ‘western’ boats who’d done their share of beating in the Needles channel were able to make the finish with more ease.
Special mentions go to Jbellino who took line honours in 11h55m in Class 1, but was beaten to first place by S X Girl by 50 seconds on corrected time. Class 40 SunGuard Front Arena had a vital engine part delivered from Norwich at the last minute and one crew member joined by RIB at the start line, but took line honours after a 13 hour crossing. Also to Aquarius Ventures who found themselves at Barfleur, but who persisted and, courtesy of Bedouin’s earlier incident and the turning tide, took first place in Class 4 after 19 hours. It was also great to see Mary Falk in Q11 competing in the Double Handed Series once again.
Yet again this year we had a forecast of a strong blow coming in on Sunday afternoon/evening and so some boats decided not to stay for the evening and either headed for home after crossing the finish or after a short rest alongside. Those who stayed enjoyed the prizegiving followed by dinner at Cherbourg Yacht Club who once again made us very welcome. Generous Coors Light prizes went to the placed boats and there was a special celebration for ‘S X Girl’ as it was also skipper John White’s birthday. The crews expressed their appreciation for the help and organisation given by the Race Officers on the start line and to Jane Windsor and Sue Neath who had a long and busy day in Cherbourg taking finish times, meeting boats and organising the results and prize giving.
1 S X Girl 12:51:17
2 Jbellino 12:52:07
3 Little Emily 13:13:14
1 Moondog 13:48:01
2 British Beagle 17:18:58
1 Arc 16:21:56
2 SunGuard Front Arena 17:29:06
1 Aquarius Ventures 18:35:19
2 Bedouin 15:35:18 1 Pl Rule 31
3 Syrah 18:49:21