Porthpean Sailing Club


Saturday 21st - Friday 27th August

From early in the morning on Saturday, Fireball after Fireball, poured down Porthpean hill to the club. An official entry list of 63 grew to an actual entry of 74, which gave us a slight headache as we had actually allocated berths for only 69. However we did manage to squeeze them all in, with 50 on the green and the rest in the field. A warm & pleasant sunny day with a light offshore wind gave them all ample opportunity to register with Kay & Garry and then have their official weigh in. Approximately half the fleet set off for the practice race, which gave Peter Pope and the race team a good idea of gate start procedure & course size etc.

The racing for the Championship started on Sunday and along came the wind in the shape of a strong south westerly, blowing between 19 & 25 knots. The Fireballs had their 2003 Nationals at Paignton and had a virtually windless week, so this year they wanted some wind and in that they were not disappointed. Fortunately the beach was sheltered enough to allow all who wanted to venture out, easy launching. The racing area was out close to the SW water outfall mark, with the windward leg stretching way off the headland. The strong winds combined with steep waves provided some very taxing and daunting conditions. There were capsizes galore with several retiring due to failed gear or battered limbs. Ken & Nigel's teams of recue craft were kept fully occupied. Those that mastered the conditions found some of the most exciting racing that they had ever experienced. Their speed downwind with spinnakers flying was really blistering, calling for excellent boat handling skills.

Monday produced similar conditions, with only 2/3 of the fleet venturing out. Again the racing was fast & furious, none the less 2 races were held and a definite pattern was emerging. A certain former Champion DJ Edwards was revelling in the conditions and had now won 3 out of the 4 races.

On Tuesday the wind conditions were even stronger, with the Committee boat recording gusts in excess of 30knots and the decision was made to cancel the racing for the day, much to the reief of the majority of the sailors. The Wednesday lay day dawned lighter and was thus used to catch up the lost races. Conditions were again breezy though the wind was now veering more to the west, giving a flatter sea and less gusty. Again DJ Edwards dominated with 2 more wins.

Thursday produced slightly less wind strength, from the north west which gave a flat sea and plenty of windshifts, which did cause the race team quite a few problems in laying the course. Despite the shifty conditions, DJ Edwards carried on in his usual form and won 2 more races which gave him and his crew Vyv Townend the Championship with a day to spare. By Thursday evening we had completed 8 races and the Championship was decided but there were still competitions to be raced for. Results of all the various categories were produced, keenly studied by the majority to see where they lying and knowing what they had to do for the Friday racing. The forecast for Friday was for gales and rain. Fortunately the gales did not materialise, but the day dawned wet and drizzly, however the sailors donned their wet gear and rigged up for the last time. Both races were sailed, completing the 10 race schedule.

Socially the week went very well, with a Civic reception held on the Sunday evening when the Club was visited by the Mayor who welcomed the Competitors. Monday was the BBQ night and although the day had been wet & windy the evening proved dry and mild with the wind dropping to nothing. The Coello team of Chefs cooked dozens dozens of hot dogs and beefburgers which were supplemented by an enormous salad. The galley was well staffed throughout the week and Jenny's cream teas did extremely well, nobody went hungry.

Tuesday was billed as a games & quiz night but the majority of the sailors were so battered and tired that after their AGM many of them disappeared to their beds. Thursday night was the Brewery trip and bowling night and both events were very well attended. The final night was the prizegiving in the Rugby Club House.

Overall this was a very big event for what is quite a small Club, but almost the entire Membership & some close friends pulled together to produce one of the most efficient & enjoyable Nationals that we have produced. This was emphasised time and again by many compliments paid to the Club from lots of the competitors. I don't think that it will be too long before the Fireballs will be visiting Porthpean again. Below are some photographs taken during the week, the majority by Chris Nel.

3 sail run beautiful day
3 sail reachingSetting off for the practice race

wait for it last trailer
Preparing to launch the rescue boatsstacking the launching trollies

queingforthebeach last trailer
Some trolley dolliesqueing for the beach

light air reaching light air reaching
Light air ReachingNice & Easy

Moving Fasater Looking up
2 sail reachingContending with a lumpy sea

preparing to start
Preparing to start
the sausage
Sailing the sausage

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