There’s a family feel to sail racing resumption

THE Bissons were first across the finish line but it was the Asletts who took overall victory on corrected time as competition sailing returned and the annual RCIYC Nashcopy series got the go-ahead with a distinctly family feel.

Permission had been granted by the States for the race to be held under strict adherence to the Covid-19 guidance and social distancing. That meant four yachts crewed only by members of the same household racing the Navigational Passage Race Round Herm.

It was supposed to be five yachts on the start, but Ray Redlinghuys’ Pogo ‘Mahna Mahna’ was unable to leave her berth due to a tripped starter battery.

‘With a bit of imagination I’m confident we can offer a great and varied race season ahead, whilst fully prioritising and ensuring the protection of competitions and others in the Bailiwick,’ said Julia Schaefer, rear commodore (sail) at the RCIYC.

'Sailing has the huge advantage of permitting competition whilst fully maintaining social distance,’ added Schaefer.

‘As such I hope to be able to offer races throughout the summer with our Nashcopy Navigational Passage series, which circumnavigates our neighbouring islands without going ashore elsewhere. Who knows whether we’ll manage to go to Alderney for our annual races with the AYC this year, that will also very much depend on that island’s wishes and preferences, which we will respect entirely.

‘I would say it is unlikely we’ll be able to hold our Dielette or Dinard races, but plans are under way to organise these in an amended format, again not requiring landfall outside of Guernsey and adhering to the States' Covid-19 guidance at all times.’

For the opening race held in glorious sunshine David Aslett in his Splinter ‘Dutch Courage’ had a good start on the inside of the line, sailing inside of Oyster rock to take advantage of the early ebb.

Close by was the bigger JPK 1010 ‘Mr Scarecrow’, crewed by Richard Babbe and Jules Schaefer, also flying her spinnaker towards Anfre.

Meanwhile, the new addition to the racing fleet, trimaran Corsair 600 ‘Bone Drei’ crewed by Ali and Max Bisson, took advantage of a wind shift further out in the tide, rounding Anfre clearly ahead of the other boats.

Dom Carpentier’s trimaran ‘Pelican’ showed real style, hoisting sails as the starting sequence was already under way, but then lagged somewhat behind the fleet.

Continuing to take advantage of the wind shift, both Bone Drei and Mr Scarecrow opened up a good lead on the way to Lower Heads.

It was a long beat with a strong tail tide up to Grand Amfroque, and Mr Scarecrow nearly managed to catch Bone Drei at the black and white striped beacon, as Dutch Courage and Pelican still made their way from Noir Pute, but in hot pursuit of the other two.

On the way home after rounding Grand Roque, Bone Drei soon opened up a lead on Mr Scarecrow, having displayed excellent foredeck work and hoisted her asymmetrical spinnaker without delay.

Mr Scarecrow started with her code zero, then peeled to symmetrical spinnaker at Tautenay.

But she was unable to keep up with the trimaran and an adverse tide and little wind in the Little Russel meant that her way to the finishing line was long and slow.

Meanwhile, Dutch Courage continued to press with setting her spinnaker and took advantage of the slackening tide and the wind filling in, which pushed her across the Little Russel with speed and flying sails, allowing a picture-perfect finish for the small boat.

In the end, it was a victory for Dutch Courage, who on corrected time for handicap led the fleet at 2hrs 36min. 36sec.

Mr Scarecrow was second, and in the trimaran class, Bone Drei took victory over Pelican.

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