Saturday 17th June 2000
At 11am on Saturday 17th June the crew of Act of Defiance almost started on
time for the Morgan Cup channel race. This time out we had doR Eames, Scrumptious
Saunders, Jesus Valentin, Martin Oesner (who had jetted in from Amsterdam)
Clint Smith a new player, Ian Cadgerfag Syles and a rather under the weather
Morebottom Moore. This 112 mile endurance type drainathon sends the fleet
up and down the channel rounding various marks before finishing at a red can
buoy located near to the western Solent forts. It all sounds simple enough
and sure enough being simple is a great asset to get you through the race.
Thus the hapless around Britain crew (plus a couple of extra's) set off in
high, (if not slightly hungover spirits) on a bright sunny day with a pleasant
force 3 to tack down the Solent.
Jesus did his usual race commentary and so we all knew where the sides of the
Solent were and that you sink if you hit one and that green buoys were indeed
green, some with green lights on as well.
The first notable event involved doR Eames. I always tell new crew to write
their initials or name on the front of their oilies making identification of
your own oilies easier in the middle of the night etc. Thus it came as no surprise
to see that Rod had written Rod on the front of his oilies. However he had written
his name while he was wearing them so while he could look down at his chest
and see his name ROD in all it's splendor to the rest of us we were looking
at an upside down DOR.
We thought it might be short for Doreen and Rod or rather Dor, was coming out
of the closet. Now all you ladies may think this is a sad loss to womankind
but I can tell you with conviction that Dor is definitely a blokey bloke bloke
and still in the market for a hosedown so now you know you can again be at joy
with the world.
The second issue of note was the radio commentary of the England/Germany football
match. We shrieked with delight at the England goal and got all excited every
time Shearer or Owen got the ball before we realised that Martin was a German
National working in Holland. It was okay though because Martin even congratulated
us on the result and then we pulled him back onboard.
Throughout that day and night the spinnaker was up and down more often than
Nora's knickers, and concentration levels were indeed very high. Flying a kite
at night is never easy but the full moon and Scrumptious Saunders nimble fingers
kept the bugger flying in a mere 3 knots apparent wind so that we rounded the
Poole fairway number 1 buoy at 1.15am. I then sent the other watch off and we
drifted into a no wind area. We weren't alone in this because we could see that
the rest of the fleet had also suffered an equal fate and we all drifted down
tide away from where we wanted to go. It was at this point that I had the brilliant
idea of dropping the kedge anchor but the water was already 10 metres and deepening
quickly. I rushed around and got the kedge out and dropped it over the bow and
BINGO it bit. Yippeee, only I hadn't tied it on and I found myself holding the
bitter end struggling to wrap it around a cleat before it pulled my arms off
in the 3 knot tide. Alas the anchor didn't hold and we dragged it further into
deep water where it did no good at all before we pulled it back on board. Of
course the off watch crew greatly appreciated our efforts as they were dead
dog tired in their bunks listening to this demented skipped dragging rope and
chain around the boat like a marinised Marley's ghost. They never quite said
that they liked it but I could tell that they did because they all said thanks
for waking them up to witness the experience. That idea a failure, we were left
to the elements as we drifted towards Anvil Point. At this time it was deadly
quiet and we could hear the eerie sound of the Anvil Point tidal rip getting
steadily louder like a river running fast through a narrow channel. It wouldn't
have been hard to imagine all sorts of goolish things but once we had removed
the alien probes all was well again. It was indeed one of those most beautiful
nights with a flat sea mirroring a bright well defined moon complete with paternalistic
smiling face. A night that you remember for it's natural and indescribable beauty.
A lovely dawn brought the wind and as we swapped watches things started to pick
up. As often happens when you go off watch and fall into a deep sleep the boat
skill genie appears so that when you get up all bleary eyed gagging for the
first coffee the other watch gleefully batter your feeble mind with how well
they have done by telling you how they have overtaken the entire fleet twice.
In fact it seemed from their babblings that they had passed more boats than
took part in the Around the Island race the previous weekend. Shortly afterwards
we had five sail changes in quick succession before rounding Bembridge and then
an almost forgotten mark called Nab Tower. I say almost forgotten because when
the course was queried Scrumptious broke off her mobile conversation with her
dad (where she was catching up with the last episode of Eastenders) and with
a doe eyed naughty dog you can't tell me off kind of look she added the Nab
as a mark.
We finished a pleasing third beating our main competitor Lion a very fast French
three quarter tonner so all's well that ends well. As races go this was a tough
one with lots of spinnaker gybes and high helm concentration but I have never
done the channel race and come back anything less than exhausted and this was
no different for all of us.
1999 Morgan Cup
Copyright © London Corinthian
Sailing Club, 4 Jul 2000