The COGS Saltash race – a direct route from Plymouth to Fowey appears a straightforward prospect but seldom is. After last year’s painfully light winds, the forecast of SW going W 3-4 promised ideal conditions but in reality a challenging race ensued for all but the biggest of the twenty-one entrants.
A closely fought start in IRC provided an exciting moment at the West Mallard buoy, with some boats luffed high of the start-line and an interesting beat down the harbour followed as the faster boats tacked West trying to avoid the worst of the incoming tide. A slightly less dramatic start was had by the handicap fleet, with regular place changes up the first beat and the boats that opted right too soon before the breakwater being punished as the race settled down for the long leg from Rame Head to Fowey.
The wind built steadily over the next hour, prompting some to change down headsails or reef mains as conditions deteriorated in squally rain showers. Almost as soon as these evolutions were complete the wind dropped considerably, leaving all but the fastest boats becalmed off Looe and having to work inshore to avoid the worst of the foul tide. From this point on there were difficult decisions to make between seeking more reliable breeze and avoiding the tide.
Place changes were frequent and competitors in the handicap fleet were delighted when the wind finally returned to offer them a superb tactical beat to Fowey with frequent place changes amongst the top five boats. In the COGS IRC fleet, first place went to Elusive (Neil Trathen), with Damien and Christine Bloor’s Daring second and Bob Warren’s Jackdaw 3rd. Jackdaw and Daring were both raced 2 handed. In the handicap fleet Paddy Royall in Xenia sailed a superb tactical race to finish with a twenty minute lead ahead of Euan Beattie and Charles Wharton in Aura, with Mike Lithgow’s Nightowler in third.
Report Euan Beattie
Ten yachts lined up on the Black Rock start line in Falmouth on Friday for the annual night race to Roscoff. This was the second in the 2017 offshore series organised by the Cornwall Offshore Group COGS, and challenges yachts to a near enough 100 mile channel dash to the welcome of the Bloscon Marina near the historic town on the Brittany coast.
Conditions were favourable with westerly winds that varied little between 14 - 16 knots for most of the trip. The sea state was equally kind, and all made rapid progress on close reaches, with the first Pogo 12.5 Jinja, across in just 11 hours and the last across 4 hours later. Most reported fairly quiet shipping lanes and good visibility despite the afternoon having had cloud on the deck on land.
The IRC race was won by Stuart Sawyer in his new Black Dog with a 22 minute lead on corrected time on second placed Jinja, with Juno 3rd. Handicap was won by Gawain Bysouth in Celtic Spirit for the second year.
A prize giving was held at the marina followed for most by the essential trip to the town’s infamous rum bar.
Most boats headed home early on Sunday in even more favourable conditions with the sun shining.
Results: IRC: 1st Black Dog, 2nd Jinja, 3rd Juno, 4th Inn Spirit, 5th Jackdaw, 6th, Daring, 7th Carte Blanche, 8th Scorpion. Handicap: 1st Celtic Spirit, 2nd Tai Mo Shan. IRC 2-handed: 1st Jackdaw, 2nd Daring. Handicap 2-handed 1st Tai Mo Shan
The 7th and final race of the Coastal Offshore Group series took place on Saturday in glorious warm sunny conditions and steady breeze. The forecast weak breeze in the early morning filled in throughout the four hours of the race as fifteen yachts completed two courses around marks across Falmouth Bay to the Lizard with roughly half in each class.
The Mylor Yacht Club Lay Up Cup sponsored by Marine Team, is an annual event organized by Mylor Yacht Club, with yachts starting from a line from Pendennis Point to Black Rock. Conditions dictate the course, and a forecast of fading light breezes meant the race officer wisely chose a route he could shorten if necessary. Two fleets competing on different handicap systems contested two slightly different courses that allowed for the distance covering abilities of some of the very fast monohulls in the IRC fleet, and to give competitors in some of the slower boats in the handicap fleet a manageable day’s sailing. A great decision by the race officer to shorted the courses at a mark off Gyllyngvase beach brought all yachts home after a pleasant day on the water, by around 2pm.
The course differed from the usual COGS races which are normally long distance drag races, in that it was more like a big ‘round the cans’ course with lots of shorter legs.
A prize giving took place at Mylor Yacht Club later on Saturday with first place in both classes being taken by yachts from St Mawes Sailing Club. In IRC Pascoes Jaguar, helmed by Craig Brown, had a comfortable win by almost six minutes on corrected time over second placed Black Dog, owned and helmed by Stewart Sawyer. In the handicap fleet Gorra Knack, a GK24 owned and helmed by Steve Rendle also had a convincing win. The two handed trophies were lifted by Juno in IRC and Noon Hi in the handicap class.
In the overall season results after seven coastal races sailed, fourth place at Mylor was enough to give Scorpion, helped by Geoff Davies the win in IRC with Afrita second and Juno third.
In the handicap fleet, Aura helmed by Euan Beattie was first, Tai Mo Shan second, and Noon Hi third.
For full results see below.
Mylor Lay Up Cup results, IRC: 1st Pascoes Jaguar, 2nd Black Dog, 3rd Juno, 4th Scorpion, 5th Aftita, 6th General Khaos, 7th Elsa, 8th Jinja. Handicap fleet results: 1st Gorra Knack, 2nd Tai Mo Shan, 3rd Moondance, 4th Nightowler, 5th Celtic Spirit, 6th Noon Hi, 7th Apotheosis.
Two handed IRC results: 1st Juno, 2nd Afrita. Two handed handicap results: 1st Noon Hi, 2nd Apotheosis.
Friday 13th May saw the start of the second COGS offshore race, a cross channel dash from Falmouth to Roscoff in Brittany, organised by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club . At a distance of 95 miles and with a forecast of wind from the east this should have been a simple matter of picking the right heading, allowing for the east and west set of the tide, and a bit of sail trimming, but the race turned out to be anything but simple.
By a peculiar quirk of the Carrick Roads, the hot day cooled into a beautiful Cornish sunset and a patch of total calm descended on the Falmouth shore exactly where the nine yachts were attempting to start. While Mylor Yacht Club enjoyed great racing at the top of the river, and Royal Cornwall’s fleet sailed past with spinnakers up on the St Mawes side, the COGS boats found they were unable to beat the tide pouring in between Black Rock and the Pendennis shore. Some slowly rotating, and one having to start their engine as they feared being pushed onto the Black Rock reef.
It took nearly an hour for all the boats to even cross the start line. The very light wind puffed and died for the next six hours causing three boats to give up and head home. By 1am most of the fleet had barely covered six miles.
But then, exactly as predicted in the forecast, at exactly 1.22am, the wind surged in and filled to a superb force 4 - 5, and we were off!
The delay meant the normal tricky transit of the busy east and west bound shipping lanes happened in the daylight the following morning, making life much easier for navigators.
The first boat to arrive at the finish near the ferry terminal in Roscoff was the lightening quick Pogo 12.5 Jinja at 11.21am with the last of the fleet alongside by 3pm. The local yacht club hosted a prize giving and welcomed the Falmouth boats generously with plenty of wine, hard boiled eggs and even a few oysters.
First in IRC was the Sigma 33 Afrita and Celtic Spirit won Handicap class both from from St Mawes Sailing Club.
Results after corrected time, IRC: 1st Afrita, 2nd Daring (2 Handed), 3rd Juno, 4th Sarabande, 5th Jinja.
Handicap class: Celtic Spirit 1st
2 handed Daring 1st
A blustery forecast of 18-25kts from the SE, with a touch of rain, failed to dampen the enthusiasm of Carte Blanches' crew for the 135 mile Trinity race from Falmouth around Eddystone and Wolf rocks. Unfortunately, of a potential fleet of eight, just two arrived at the start line just outside the harbour where the stalwart race committee were having a tough job anchoring.
At 11am Inn Spirit paced nicely off the start line followed by a slightly less prepared Carte Blanche. The boats crossed to the tide in the channel to the East of Black Rock, tacked past St Anthony and turned East to Hands Deep, our first mark. With the wind around 60-70 degrees off the starboard bow and a bit of chop both boats started off at a good 6.5kts with the sun shining and spray all over the deck. Onboard Carte Blanche a lunchtime Tribute and a pasty lifted morale as did the realisation that our jackets, kindly provided by St Austell brewery, were highly waterproof - which makes a change from most of our old gear and was to prove invaluable over the next 22 hours as things got tougher!
At Hands Deep we turned upwind into a larger swell that had appeared, slightly overpressed by the large Genoa which, owing to a halyard failure, we didn't want to take down. Things got much wetter, seasickness claimed its first victim and progress slowed to just over 4kts, but thankfully Carte doesn't slam badly and we got to Eddystone in an hour. The crew had a fine view of the lighthouse with the sun behind as we whizzed by and set a Westerly course to the Lizard.
Spinnaker was considered, briefly, and rejected - a stiff breeze, heavy swell and a ind angle of 100-110 would have made for tough work and questionable gains. With supper out of the way we approached the race and decided to head straight through - wind with tide and towards the earlier part of the stream we hoped it wouldn't be too bad - and it wasn't! Onwards to Wolf at a cracking pace with the wind building behind the beam and the swell rising, we put the second reef in for the return journey to Lizard.
Around 2am we made the rounding, Wolf looked spectacular, lit up against the dark sky seething in white water, but we had little time to enjoy the view. The light and conditions made it rather difficult to judge the distance to the reef and there was a gybe to control, all successfully managed.
The Easterly leg back was harder work; against the wind, against the tide, against great sheets of spray that covered our dedicated night watch. A rigorous pumping regime, that had been started an hour out, had to intensify as the water worked its way through all sorts of points we hadn't envisaged. This time the race around Lizard was in full fling and we had a rollercoaster ride before we could bear away round the point. Fortunately this roused most of the crew and once past the Manacles we hoisted the heavy spinnaker and raced towards the finish, trying to beat the approaching rain! We had a heavy run in and it seemed the right call not to hoist after Eddystone.
At 8.41am we ran across the RCYC line to be warmly welcomed by the horn and lights of the race officers' car! A wet, tiring but invigorating Trinity Race and a great first qualifier for the Fastnet; many thanks to the RCYC and COGS for all their organisation, consideration and keeping everything going for a reduced fleet.
Report by Carte Blanche skipper George Tetley
Sponsored by A2 Rigging
Organised by Helford River sailing Club
The start is at 1030 in the mouth of the Helford River and the finish is off the end of the pier in Penzance harbour (the pier the Scillonian moors along side).
There are visitors moorings available in the Helford River (you will be changed the normal visitors rate) and berthing is available in Penzance Dock on Saturday night. The Penzance Dock is open 2 hours before and one hour after high water (1804 - 2104 BST).
Food is available on Friday night at the Helford River Sailing Club (booking is advisable) and food will also be available at Penzance Sailing Club on Saturday night (no booking required).
More information can be found in the Sailing Instructions.
The race programme has just been published with some small changes to the race calendar that once again offers some challenging and interesting races.
For racers looking to push themselves to the next level there are several night races, a channel race and the classic Royal Cornwall Hosted Trinity Race round the Wolf Rock and Eddystone lighthouses. Once again RORC has accepted COGS races as Fastnet qualifiers proving this series has something to test every sailor looking to build experience.
St Mawes is once again the host of the midsummer night race round the Eddystone. This pursuit race sees exciting racing as the fleet converges on the light before the race back towards the ever welcoming breakfast washed down with probably your earliest pint of the year at St Mawes Sailing Club. There are seven coastal races including the Penzance race organised by Penzance Sailing Club and Falmouth to Fowey weekend with a race back to Falmouth on the Sunday and races organised by Royal Cornwall and POFROC respectively.
The main change for this year is the Penzance race which is now organised by Penzance Sailing Club will now start from Falmouth instead of Helford. Tides mean there is a two week gap between this race and the onward race to the Scillies for those using it as a feeder race for the PASAB weekend. PASAB starts from Penzance with a night race to St Marys followed by a race round the islands and a race back to Penzance.
Visit the website where you can submit your entry to the whole series to receive a big discount, or individual races. There are IRC and Byron classes and prizes for two handed boats in both.