Who Dares Wins

The weather forecasters had poured scorn on any chance of the clubs traditional Boxing Day race with storm Bella ready to ruin the day.

The commodore spent more time poring over weather charts than he did pouring cream over his mince pies on Christmas day, hoping for a weather window.

Next morning, a lone figure was seen at the end of Stone Pier just after sunrise looking for inspiration. Viewing a flat sea, but struggling to stand up in the breeze, a text from Richard Frost, owner of Squib Saskia V he was driving down from Yeovil and keen to go. Richard Woof who berths over on Portland was keen to go, and assistant class keelboat captain Ricky Bruton conferred and we agreed to give it a go.

So a general e mail was sent out. Boxing Day race was go!

People vote with their feet, it was good to see so many members turning up hoping for a sail and all boats were well crewed up.

Back on Viking everything was serene calm, until a phone call from the Nothe Forts armourer dropped a bombshell advising that he could not attend with the finishing cannons as his mother law had just been rushed into hospital.

Ray Capp, kindly stepped down as Viking driver and cobbled together some sailing gear to replace Simon Vines on Saskia V. Simon being the only person with the technology to fire the clubs finishing gun and also a Viking driver.

The RIB helmed by Phil Norris had reported to the race team that the wind was at 250 degrees and with the impending storm Bella about to blow the cobwebs away, the race team chose an ever decreasing windward leeward course to keep the teams comfortable in the lee of Weymouth.

With Viking moored between X and J, Q was identified as the logical windward mark and so a course of Q, K, Q, J, Q, X Q and finish for the IRC and Q,T,J,X,J and finish for the Squibs.

Next problem, there were only two Q's in the box so P was chosen as the nearest windward mark from K.

All sorted and on with the count down, clean starts from both set of fleets and off they went into the sunlight.

The race team were smug with their work, until Saskia VI advised that P mark was missing. It was there on Tuesday when all marks were checked for position.

A quick check, a conflab and a VHF call to the fleet to use Q vice P solved that problem.

Once that the race team were satisfied that all boats had understood the instruction, Viking was moored alongside the club awaiting the first boats up the river.

Two tan sails were the first to be seen coming around the knuckle whilst two larger rigs were in close pursuit.

Although no announcements had been made for fear of crowds, barring a notification to locals on their Facebook site to advise of the cannon fire that morning, the harbourside was well attended and they were well entertained as the boats struggled up river sailing into the wind.
The gusts sometimes revealing too much bottom of some of the boats, much to the gasps and squeals of the spectators.

Richard Woofs Jo 90 managed to overhaul the two Squibs Saskia V and Iceani Rebel over the line to take line honours right on midday. Tom Reece's Passion was the second keelboat over the line whilst Simon Ruddocks Betty bought up the rear some 28 minutes later.

Portland wind recorded a 38.9 knot gust at 11.30 and the fast boys were revelling in the conditions reporting speeds of over 15 knots downwind.

All 56 competitors had beaming smiles coming off the water, one crew member said she had never been so excited and scared at the same time!

But so, another sailing season comes to an end, the remaining boats will be lifted out in early January awaiting a new sailing season, hopefully one with more promise than the year just passed.

Thanks to the Lloyds for the majority of the pictures

Submitted on 26th December 2020