Drheam Cup 2020

The trimarans head for the lineIRC fleet heading off upwind in a light N breezePierrick and Arthur before the startRagin Bee heads towards the favoured left sideThe Marité adds some classic style to the event, with Cap Levi in the background

With RORC’s season cancelled for the first time in its history, the Drheam Cup event presented the only chance for most sailors to take part in an offshore race in this oddest of years, and so was well subscribed with nearly 100 boats entered.

Having volunteered back along before the lockdown to assist, I was keen to get across the Channel, even though, when the moment came and I could use a steady NW breeze off Portland to get the assymetric kite up, it still felt a bit strange - but I can recommend the Channel for social distancing!

I thus enjoyed a wonderful sail to a point off La Hague, where the wind backing as it does reduced me to white sails for a splendid reach up the coast with the afternoon flood, to arrive in time for the customary beer at YCC! France seemed quite relaxed, even though masks were more in evidence than at home.

I was lucky to be part of the team on the YCC committee boat responsible for setting out the exclusion zone around the committee boat, a French naval patrol vessel. This meant preparing the boat on Saturday, and getting up early on Sunday to lay the buoys in the baie des Becquets before anyone else got out there. We saw the huge trimarans which had timed their arrival to be in the rade early, as they were too big to enter the port, then made our way through the tiny passe de Collignon to lay the buoys in a big square around the bay, then popped into the port du Becquet for breakfast.

When we emerged, the bay had filled up with yachts, and the committee vessel was on station, and the two lines, one on each side were set, to give the class starts plenty of room. We took up a position at the eastern end of the line and watched the big trimarans start, and then the IRC class in which ‘Raging Bee’ was entered, skippered by Pierrick Letouzé, fresh from his transat adventure earlier in the year, and crewed by Arthur Richer, a member of Pierrick’s regular crew.

After the starts, we went back round the bay and picked the buoys up, and headed back to Cherbourg, watching the boats head slowly off upwind to a buoy off Omonville from which they headed for the West Shambles, then down Channel. The course was shortened to suit the lack of wind, and a couple of days sailing in a variety of light conditions brought the boats to La Trinité, with Raging Bee taking line honours in the IRC doublehanded – a great achievement for Cherbourg’s young sailors, who clearly have a great sailing future ahead of them.

Submitted on Friday, 14th August