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News 1999

Morgan Cup

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