23 July 2019
I was lost in France ...St Malo race
Skipper: Kate Cope Co-skipper: Bobby Drummond Purple Mist
No sooner had we got back from Azab then it was off to France on the Rorc St Malo race. This was our Fastnet qualifier so important that we finish to avoid debates about miles completed. We still had our broken kicker but the forecast was favourable and the pink dyneema doing a good job holding the kicker on the boom.
Expedition was promising less than 24hrs but given last year we took 66hrs I was not sure to believe the software. Last year we had some great success in this race winning the Spica trophy for a second year running ( best boat in IRC 4 under 38’ sailed by 3 or more friends and family) . Also with Bigfoot we won the John West trophy for the best 2 boat team from a yacht club amazingly beating the Fast 40 InoXXX and Baraka GP. To be fair we beat them as they gave up the race ...but you have to be in it to win it and if you give up you loose !
The race had 180 boats entered and the IRC 3 start was crazy. As you see from this picture we had a great start with Purple Mists generously proportioned rear end snuggled up with the lead boats. A French boat tried a tricky manoeuvre on the start barging in and was protested. Another windward boat to us was not making the yellow buoy marking the end of the line so decided to squeeze into us bumping us in the process so we protested them as the windward boat has to keep clear and we quickly attached the red protest flag to the rail.
We had a great run out to the Needles ahead of Joy a JPK who has done so well in AZAB. Friday afternoon we were still ahead of Zest however as we came off the wind we struggled to increase speed - something we need to work on.
As night fell the wind incresead to 18kts and went behind to 120’. We needed the A5 but for those that have read my AZAB blog and Cervantes you will know that the A5 is the naughtiest sail on the boat with the tendency to cling to and wrap around the forestay rather than catch the wind. With new crew aboard and in the dark I decided to be cautious and stick to white sails.....and so had to suffer boats overtaking us.
By Les Hanois lighthouse off Guernsey the wind has reduced and gone further behind so despite the dark it was time to throw caution to the wind and hoist the S2 which Is anyway a better behaved sail. A lovely spinnaker run down to St Malo keeping pace and overhauling various boats. A slight wrap was quickly unraveled and we finished in just less than 24hrs ...just as expedition had predicted...what clever software !
St Malo really is a beautiful city and we wanted to lock into the inner harbour to be under the city walls and avoid the 40minute walk. Rather than jostle with the rest of the fleet on the waiting buoys outside the lock we picked up a mooring buoy off Dinard on the opposite shore and enjoyed bacon and eggs with a fantastic view.
The lock is was the busiest I’d ever seen it with at least 30boats jostling for position. Knowing the lock is massive and we would all get in we hung back and were last boat in rafted onto a guy with “St Malo sailing “ on his shirt.....I figured he must know what he is doing.
Inside was busy but there is always room on the wall so we nipped into the last spot and welcomed Sheevra and Jangada to raft onto us.
Sunday we enjoyed a lovely walk out to the islands at low tide . We spotted some beach catamarans but resisted more sailing.
At the prize giving ceremony I learnt that my Purple Ensign had made the pages of the Royal Naval sailing association members forum with a discussion on whether its faded blue or really purple. Yes it really is Purple, I made it that way, and worse than that it’s defaced with a penguin! In Salcombe recently someone asked me if it was from the Falkland Islands Yacht club !
Here is my track outside the big sea lock into the inner harbour and eventual mooring spot. Lots of circling but no need to jostle as bags of room in the lock.
Sunday was Bastille day July 14th. We had a fabulous lunch at a little restaurant we found inside the city walls and were treated to most fantastic fireworks display in the evening. Well worth staying for.
Monday we set off for home dropping in on Dielette which makes a very convenient stopover being much more on the route than St Peter Port or Braye. Also walk ashore pontoons and convenient restaurant. It also is positioned favourably to catch 10kts of tide up the race ...yes STW was 5kts and SOG was 15kts !! Home in to Hamble in record time.