Woolly hats and suncream for La Weymouth

Cherbourg sailors visit the BillDawn in the harbour at WeymouthPreparations for leaving Weymouth again

These essential items typify the weather for the last few weeks as the anticyclone continues - wintry nights and glorious sunny days, with capricious winds to boot. The forecast for la Weymouth was flat calm, though clearly sufficient libations had been poured for the gods to smile on us; as the boats gathered for the start, a breeze filled in from the east and we were off upwind to la Truite in the passe de l’Est, then to bear away a bit for Weymouth on the kind of reach which makes sailing the Channel such a pleasure.

Boats from Granville, Deauville, Le Havre, Saint-Vaast and four from Weymouth - Arcsine, Fifty-eight Degrees North, Outrageous and Effusion - made up the fleet of 29; the breeze didn’t last, though, and by lunchtime some had already decided that motoring was the best guarantee of actually arriving. As night fell, and a glorious sunset filled the sky in the NW, it was clear that the fleet would divide into the bigger boats able to get into the bay before the beginning of the flood, and the rest of us left to contemplate our futures some miles off the Shambles.

On board the Sigma we finally yielded at 2300, and as we approached the finish line at D mark it was clear that the front of the fleet was determined to finish even if by this time the wind was largely imaginary, and some ten boats still managed to cross the line in time, including Kathy Claydon’s Arcsine upholding the honour of WSC. Eric Yon and his crew had managed to arrive by beating the current all night around the other side of the bay, only to finish three minutes after the time limit at 0700. At 0930 the next morning I took the lines of the last boat to arrive,the Mini 6.50 which had spent the might becalmed at sea, but had profited from the SE morning breeze to be the only one to arrive at speed under spinnaker!

The by now traditional barbecue was most welcome, and Carl’s praises were sung by all and sundry; Penny managed to survive the onslaught at the bar and was still smiling when we left, and we offer them and the club our thanks for the welcome which is now so integral a part of the experience of the weekend.

A trip to Portland in the afternoon was a good opportunity to walk off lunch, as we made our way along the cliffs on the west side of the island to the Bill and back - not a few were those who nodded off on the bus back to Weymouth! Fish and chips on board and a good if brief night’s sleep prepared us for the trip back here; again the libations proved sufficient, as the start took place in 10 knots of NNE, which remained constant for most of the day until gradually dying at the end of the afternoon off Cherbourg. Again the beginning of the ebb would close the gate, and we were the last boat to creep through the passe de l’Est and across the line in time to be placed.

La Weymouth was the talk of the bar after Tuesday evening’s race here, and we are in the process of reviewing the event to start planning for next year, when we hope to welcome even more boats and crews from Weymouth.

Steve Fraser

Submitted on 23rd May 2018