This weekend saw me sailing aboard the good ship ‘Wisp’ with the West Norfolkian Kilners. The event was partially a YSC/GWYC effort, where Cecil Howard is remembered in a passage race culminating at Coldham Hall.
Despite whatever ethanol had been consumed by any of the competitors who by coincidence were celebrating Jan Farrar’s birthday, there was a decent turn out with competitors totalling about 15 yachts. The briefing was held to decide on such complexities as a loop in the course that meant first boat starts could mingle with the second and third starts as they tacked clear of the line. With such pleasantries arranged I found myself whisked onto ‘Wisp’ to begin a project of several reef knots (this would later prove very sensible).
The conditions had reached by this point a good SW F3 gusting 4, sending most of the competitors with the exception of ‘Starlight Lady’ and ‘Zephyr’ into a fit of reefing….(where ‘Wisp leads, others follow’ I am told….) This stiff breeze made the first windward leg quite difficult for most boats, with side decks receiving a good dowsing and mainsheets whizzing out in the gusts. ‘Zephyr’ with guest helm Matt Ellis was being particularly showy, full rig complete with topsail meant her antifouling (and keel) were visible to most other competitors!
Progressing upriver the conditions proved more fickle, with a couple of spectacular broaches providing entertainment en-route. Train Reach saw the untying of the second reef, to negotiate the leafy bits. Soon though, all craft were safely installed at Coldham for suitable liquid refreshment. Observing competitors who had fiercely struggled to maintain second place also provided entertainment. It was muttered by the GWYC commodore that indeed second place is more valued by competitors than first; indeed there is a greater amount of skill involved in balancing the boat’s performance to achieve such a result!
Eventually ‘Starlight Lady’s skipper Mr Parker dutifully stepped up to receive his trophies, much to the relief of others!
All in all, it was Kilners Jim, but not as we know it.