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Morgan Cup & Channel Islands Cruise Back

Spellbinder’s return into the water was just in time for RORC’s Morgan Cup Race to Guernsey – staring at 1900 on Friday 9th June.  The crew assembled on the boat just after lunchtime, to sort out a few jobs before the race and then we slipped at 1430 to catch the last of the west-going tide to Cowes. Where we sat on a buoy and had dinner before the race.

We had a good start, some boats flew spinnakers (some of which got in trouble!) but we stayed with genoa and main as the wind was pretty much beam reach.  We rounded the first mark (Nab Tower) in good time and set off for the next mark, the Casquettes, which we had to leave to port.  I knew from previous races that getting to the Casquettes with good tide was all important, as if you don’t you can add 6 hours to your race time.  We got there just as the tide was beginning to go west, so we had a good rounding, followed by a tight beat south to leave the next mark, Les Hanois lighthouse, to port. We were discussion how things looked good with us around 2/3 in our class, which with time correction should get us a result in the top half of our class.  But that was to change, shortly after passing Les Hanois the wind started to drop and within half an hour we were becalmed.   We did everything we could to maintain steerage with the rocky west coast of Guernsey to our port, we had spinnaker up, main and genoa  down,  all weight to leeward – just about everything we could think of.

Our plan became one of trying to keep enough steerage to point us towards the entrance of Little Russel channel, with the tide taking us in that direction.  Our aim was to get swept into Little Russel and then carried over the finish line by the tide. So with Ana Censi tracking our progress on the plotter, we worked hard and managed to get Spellbinder just into the channel – and being set towards the finish 1.5 miles away.  Others around us had been less lucky and had been set past the Little Russel entrance – my thoughts being that very soon they will have to retire and put their engine on, or else they’d be on the rocks.  Then just as quickly as the wind had faded away, it began to build again, to about 8 kts, which carried us over the finish line and fortunately for our fellow competitors near the rocks got them out of trouble.  So we crossed the line at 20:31:58 on Saturday 10th June, only 8 seconds behind Silver Shamrock, with us being the first two boats in since 18:44.  The difference being close to the duration of the becalment!   So we fished 22nd in our class (IRC4) out of 30 but lying 17 out of 72 in our class overall.

Thanks go to my crew: Chris Maughan (W/l), Jonny Lees (W/l), Ana Censi, Ted Sankey, Matt de Quincey and Brad Eaton. — Trevor Nicholls

So once moored in Victoria Marina it was off for a quick Italian meal and then back for a good night’s sleep.  Then on Sunday Ana and Ted left us as they had work commitments on the Monday and we were joined by Jeremy McLaughlin, for a slow cruise back, via Sark and Alderney – where a good time was had by all.

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