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