Cantley Regatta 2019: A warm weekend despite a prevailing northerly breeze, and with a mixture of new volunteers running events to spice things up a bit.
Saturday's duty fell to Anthony Knights, ably assisted by Jan with Julia K and Christine W on the flags. The plan was for a standard race followed by the Ladies race, with a short break in between. It didn't quite turn out that way.
The course devised wasn't nearly as complicated as it at first (and second) glance appeared. A downstream start from the end of the moorings down to a starboard mark beyond Hardley Mill, was followed by a tack back through the factory and a reach up to another starboard mark near Langley, then looping from this mark to a port mark just off the pub three times, finishing upstream: with a stiffish breeze, easy! Except it didn't turn out that way.
Sailing down to the first mark was indeed easy; tacking back against the tide not so much. Much fruitless tacking to and fro, particularly by those boats in the 'slow' start, stretched out the fleet into a very long line indeed. I didn't see what happened to those in the first two starts, being stuck as I was near the factory, but Pandora 3, Pan, Stella Genesta and Puck doggedly tacked to and fro, gradually creeping forward over the tide.
Pandora got out of the lee of the factory first and managed a full loop of the rest of the course before Pan popped out into clearer air herself, who did likewise before Stella Genesta managed to escape too, followed by Puck a little while later. Tony had decided to shorten course, but this wasn't enough to save the Ladies race.
On Pan our elapsed time of 2hrs 40 minutes was made up of 2 hrs by the factory, and 40 minutes for the rest! One yacht decided that they'd taken so long they needed navigation lights to finish! All in jest of course. Having reached terra-firma I didn't detect too much disappointment at the cancellation of the Ladies race.
After a convivial meal and evening in the pub, it was my turn to be OoD for the Sunday races. Reflecting on the effect of tacking against the tide on the length of the race the day before, and recognising that cancelling the afternoon race wasn't really on, I determined that the best way to keep the race compact was to start the three divisions in reverse order, fast boats last. The course was basically the same as Tony had devised, but I brought the bottom mark in to the house just below the factory, and the top mark to the downstream end of Langley Wood (to avoid disturbing an important fishing match), so it was shorter.
I also changed the start interval to 10 minutes, which stretched the understanding of the novice start flag crew, who nevertheless rose to the challenge magnificently, and was intended to avoid bunching at the bottom mark. Of course, there was some dissent about sending the fast boats off anything other than first, but I knew what I wanted and stuck to it. (Since said helm ultimately won not only that race but the weekend as whole, I hope she doesn't bear a grudge!) And it worked! Sort of. Having shortened course to just two loops, all boats but two finished in reasonable order between 12.30 and 13.00. Unfortunately Puck and Stella Genesta had found a wind shadow up near Langley and struggled to tack up to the mark on the last loop, but even they eventually made it.
So for the afternoon I brought that mark a bit nearer to Cantley, set a looping course between it and the pub with an upstream start, five minute start intervals and fast boats first (so back to normal), and scarpered off to catch a train to retrieve my car, leaving the novice start line crew to get on with it. Apparently it all went according to plan, but as I wasn't there I'll just have to take their word for it!
I hope everybody enjoyed themselves, I know I did. Next event is the new Waveney Regatta. Please do come along.
Simon M 15/7/19