Roxanne wins as Mallard returns

Helena Anne heads into the wind towards the first mark behind Roxanne and Mallard

An early tide last Saturday, October 15, meant an early start and by 9am there was a hive of activity at Rye Harbour Sailing Club (RHSC) as boats were prepared ready to leave their berths as soon as the incoming tide floated them off the mud.

With no formal OOD on this occasion, the start line was a transit from the port and starboard marks at the harbour mouth with times to the starting ‘gun’ being called out by Hugh Redman over the radio in Helena Anne.

Grey skies and a 16-19 knot wind saw the racing fleet of six boats – Roxanne, Mystic Sky, Mallard, Lady Jane, Limbo Girl and Helena Anne –  head East, as usual, towards the Rock Channel Marine buoy off  Winchelsea Beach. After a slightly laggardly start, Helena Anne soon caught and passed some of the smaller boats and set off in pursuit of Mallard – now sporting a smart new boom, to replace a previously broken one that has kept her out of competition for a few weeks – and Roxanne, crashing through the typically lumpy Rye Bay waves.

The crew enjoy the ride as Helena Anne surfs downwind
The crew enjoy the ride as Helena Anne surfs downwind

Rounding the first mark, the three leading boats in the order: Roxanne, Mallard and Helena Anne, followed a little way behind by Mystic Sky, then Lady Jane and the smallest boat in the fleet, Limbo Girl going well, headed out on a nice reach for the Fairway Buoy. Reaching the mark, it looked for a moment as if Helena Anne could just sneak inside Mallard, but it was not to be and she continued to occupy third place at the start of the penultimate leg down to the RHSC buoy off Camber.

Now with the wind astern and on an almost dead run with the genoa goosewinged out, boat length began to tell and Helena Anne started to make up on Mallard and at the mark there was little between them. So it remained for the last leg which was a windward beat up to the start/finish line and the final order over the line was Roxanne, Mallard, Helena Anne, Mystic Sky, Lady Jane and Limbo Girl. However after the individual boats’ handicaps had been taken into account the order changed and 1st place went to Mallard, 2nd Helena Anne, 3rd Roxanne, 4th Mystic Sky, 5th Limbo Girl, 6th Lady Jane.

A good morning’s racing with the early start having the additional advantage of allowing boats to be back on their moorings in time for a convivial lunch on board.

John Minter


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