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Skokholm Circuit


Skokholm Circuit 26 May 2012

Arrive at PYC early for the 12.00 start (must be a first, have a chat with Selukwe who decide that discretion being the better part of valour to go into battery charging mode and head off back to Neyland. Dress order for the day is lifejackets and whatever else suits, strange to wear shorts, T shirt and a lifejacket but with wall to wall sunshine it suited the day. We had seen Mischief with a body up the mast as we left and they were planning to race but of them, no sign. Swallowdale is seen beating up from her mooring in Dale so two of us constitute a race.

Billy Williams voice comes over the VHF stating that the race will start at 12.00, Mischief is seen sailing down the Haven under full sail so we have a race on our hands. One reef in the main and the number three is the sail plan decided upon; main up, five minute gun, number three up and we're off. Didn't take long to decide that we were under powered, out with the number one, lets peel it says a voice, down below to search for the peeler without success, so down with one and up with another or should that be down with three and up with one? Didn't loose position so all was well.

Approaching St Annes and we look at one another with one thought; get the kite up as most will understand, getting it up is the easy bit, the hard bit is getting it down one piece with 20 plus knots of breeze, we'll do it under the lee of Skokholm is the decision. Once the kite is full the decision of which way to go around the island is taken out of our hands and its Skokholm to port like it or not!

Kite handed and time to play dodge the dive boat as we round the island. Surprisingly not too bumpy round the island, tides South going for another hour so stand out and tack in later. Mischief follows suit whilst Swallowdale tacks as soon as he rounds the island. Cracking sail to St Annes, gusting to around 27knots steady at around 20 but one of the crew saw 30 on the indicator. Boat speed 6-7 knots hot sun, only one thing missing..,. a cup of tea, look down below, saloon covered in spinnaker and stove at an angle not conducive to making tea, so, teas off.

The pilot book says that St Annes head is a place to be avoided at all times, how right it is, what a messy bit of water, some of it making its way back to the cockpit, stopping just short, much to his amusement of the helmsman. The sea as it does got its own back on the way to the finish line and it looked as though he had done a very childish thing! Finish just under three hours after starting, genoa down and get the kettle on!

A really enjoyable race, good experience being out in such conditions, if there wasn't a race on we would have sought solace in the nearest sheltered watering hole and called it a day. As it was nothing broken apart from a fingernail and a turning block that was on its way out anyway (the turning block not the fingernail). See you out there soon.

The Enigmatics

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