|"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" says my WhatsApp. "This is Patrick Palmer, cannot make it on Sunday, please could you do the write up? There it is Ladies and Gentlemen, my last effort was in 2019 and my goodness, it feels like another world since then.|
A few things haven't changed though' one of them being the ever-lasting Race Officer, Gareth Luker, who had managed to become a granddad in the mean since the last time I put scribe to parchment. At the briefing I had the temerity to ask of the location of buoy one seemingly absent from Gareth's art work. Having been told "I could not find it" I have filed that particular excuse in my memory bank to the Treasurer for future reference. Who is the Treasurer by the way? To be fair the wind was something of a Race Officer's nightmare, a forecast of a steady South East blowing stubbornly North East during the entire morning. There were to be separate mono and multi hull courses and though it's hard to tell from the photo, the intention was to give the multi hulls a nice broad reach out towards France and with a return to The Albion. I am not sure that it worked out that way.
Talking of nightmares, for those who are unaware, just before we launched, a traffic warden turned up at the gate. To be fair, he was not, fortunately, in jobsworth mode. It's funny how they seem to know when vehicles are parked along Sea Place, however, the fact is they do. Please members be warned, we might not be so lucky next time.
One definition of shifty is "given to deception or evasion" Observing, as I was from the Race Box, I would have said disappointing if I had been out there - disappointing because, as I have said, the forecast was solid South East. Indeed I could not imagine what Thor was playing at. "The summer is here Thor, at last and it's a Bank Holiday" I don't think things were helped by a 6.0 tide which with its almost magnetic attraction for Littlehampton. Certainly Gareth's comment "that was a lousy start" was one which I concurred. Nobody crossed the line for over 15 seconds.
The subsequent Series Race, 13, was not helped by the size of the course. Whilst the Cats seemed to banish any thoughts of reaching to France, the monos mostly seemed to banish any thoughts about navigation all together. "You are meant to sail between the Start Mark and the Race Box, guys." Indeed, due to the rising tide, the course had had to be laid a fairly long way South producing a fair amount of head scratching in Mission Control. As I sat watching, expressions such as "Where are they going?" and "How come that boat took 35 minutes to do the first lap and 10 the second?" became commonplace.
As, self evidently, the first course had proved to be too large, a little time was spent in reducing the size for Series Race 14, an action which appeared to dramatically improve the navigation of the monos. However, if Race 13 start was poor, our old friend Shifty came into his own on Race 14. Only one boat got anywhere near the line and several were well over two minutes late. Speaking to crews afterwards, they had all positioned themselves for a direction which, retrospectively, had Thor in stitches of laughter. As a spectator, apart from Tom Rawlins MOB on the start, the subsequent race was memorable only for its lack memorability. Nevertheless, may I take this opportunity to remind you, if you are not signed on, please try not to sail across the start line transit. It can be very confusing.
Thus endeth the lesson from Toodle Pip.