The seas were up today, along with the prevailing SE winds. We were at the “Windward” start as well, making for a pretty rolly day. We left Falmouth in high spirits (just as the crew of Gilligan's Island did on that fateful day) and soon after entering the big seas we were hit by a broadside wave which really rolled the catamaran heavily. The flags had been carefully lashed and put under the traveller lines on the top deck, but this double-whammy wave managed to push them out of the lines on the forward roll to port, then flip the flags overboard without hitting the side decks on the return stroke to starboard! I threw the engines into neutral and could only watch in dismay as the flags immediately went on a dive from which they showed absolutely no intention of returning. 60 feet of water and heavy seas meant we certainly weren't going to set about retrieving them, either.
The same waves also managed to dislodge our full cooler of drinks and ice - onto Clare's foot. Both lost out in the exchange, Clare getting a sprain and bruise and the cooler opening and dislodging all the cold water and ice and drinks onto the cockpit floor. We got the drinks back into the cooler and secured it, but the ice was mostly gone and we weren't going to get cold drinks today. Clare suffered her battle wounds in silence and managed to save the day for us - we only had an hour to the start and didn't have any (useful) flags aboard. She organized a spare set of flags, poles to fly them on, and transportation --- within 30 minutes we had our new flags aboard and didn't have to postpone any of the starts and the racers were none the wiser that their day was quite close to getting ruined!
Conditions at the start were spirited indeed and while starting the first race of the day with the CSA 7 class the yacht Augustine was just a boat length away from the start when they lost their D2 standing rigging and, in what was described as slow motion, the whole rig just folded away! I was on the top deck with binoculars for the start and the ABSAR boat was on the opposite side of our committee boat from the start and they couldn't see what had happened, but I did some gesticulation and pointing and they got the message and turned on their flashers while zipping across to the site of the incident. Luckily, and surprisingly, nobody aboard was hurt but our pin boat and ABSAR spent some time with them, culminating in ABSAR giving them a slow tow back into Falmouth Harbour.
The racers didn't all make it back, two boats retired with sail damage; but the conditions weren't really difficult and we never measured a gust that went over 20 knots - but the combination of the seas and racers using full sail certainly gave them a ride today.
We did have a call on the VHF after announcing the second race of the day, requesting a shorter course because of the prevailing conditions. I had them stand by as Stephen and Irene discussed it and had to radio back to them that we would be sailing the courses as announced. Some time later the same boat called back on the VHF stating that they were retiring from the race because of a shredded mainsail; and I could hear the tone of recrimination in her voice... so while the words said one thing, the tone of voice clearly said “We broke our mainsail and it's all your fault; we told you so earlier. If you'd changed the course we'd still have our sail [and might have won]...”.
I took a number of pictures today, but in going through my collection I cannot for the life of me find them! I've even used an undelete program on my camera's SD card, but they are irretrievably gone; sorry.

750 views since 2017-02-06, page last modified on 2017-02-04.