After our mornings' exertions it was nice to sit on our cosy pontoon and watch the other boats arrive, there were gaffers large and small but it has to be said not many smaller than Tit Willow.
Now and again the Harbour Master would tour the pontoon in his RIB and do the water equivalent of a Doughnut, creating a fair bit of turbulence, knocking the boats around, and generally annoying everyone. I suspect he wasn't the real Harbour Master who, in a place like Cowes, must have loads of scrambled egg on his peaked cap, this was some upstart, probably a retired accountant who only gets to show off when the real Harbour Master is off talking to The Queen or chatting to Dame Ellen.
A late arrival in the evening was none other than Ocean Pearl, so maybe I'd see her in full sail after all.
There was to be a Gaffers Briefing in the Corinthian's Yacht Club at 9.00 so we went to investigate the prospect of food. Mmm Cod and Chips, eaten outside, out of the paper, Yummy.
We got to the Corinthian's a bit early and sat there like Derby and Joan waiting for the bingo to start. Tom Cunliffe, famous Yachtsman and now TV personality was there to give the briefing which he managed with a fair bit of flair and not a few laughs.
We were told what VHF Channel would be used which would have been very useful had we a radio.
And what to do in the event of retirement, perish the thought, ha! we all laughed. So as not to clog the VHF frequencies with the sound of baling a mobile phone number was given out.
Sailing Directions were in the programme, the actual choice of course would be given over the radio tomorrow morning.
" but we don't have a R......."
and shown on the board next to the start line.
" Ah O.K." ....................................which is the Island Sailing Club start Line,
"but this is the Corinthian's" ?
For those sailing without the benefit of GPS, Chart plotters etc, turn left as you leave Cowes and stop before you get to Hurst Castle .
The weather forecast was given as "worse than today, Force 4 -5 gusting 6 occasionally with more rain".
Tomorrow Evening's festivities, for those who survive, will be a BBQ at the Lymington Town Sailing Club. Not to be confused with the posh place over the road which is the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and who will throw you out if you turn up dressed like that!
Wind - Rain - BBQ, great.
Saturday Morning brought everything it had promised. Flags stood horizontally, pointing north east, the sun refused to come out and play, the fine rain came through in drifts soaking everything.
Cee Dubbs looked at the sky again, "I don't like it, what do you think?
" Well its just what they predicted........bloody awful"
"Do you think we should go ?"
"give it another half-hour its brightening up over there" it wasn't.
After half an hour we were still saying the same things. In the end we agreed, lets just go out and see what it looks like we can always call it off if we don't like it.
As we set off down the channel towards the start the rain started again, the sky was almost dark, brooding clouds obscured the sun.
We found the twin vertical transit lights of the Island Yacht Club start line beaming through the gloom like airport landing lights. "can you see what course we're on? " I could identify a square box with a number in it, what that number was, 3 maybe maybe 4. Must be 3 .
"Time what time have you got?"
" fourteen minutes ish,"
"O.K. we'll get down over there out of the way a bit" we were back in the moorings where we'd been yesterday, in a pretty good position, well below the line on the windward end.
Its always exciting just before the start of a race, you have to keep an eye on the time, listen for starting guns, watch where other boats are in case you have to give way, and in the mouth of the Medina there's always the Isle of Wight Ferry and a lot more boats to watch out for.
"What time have you got now?"
"Just coming up 11mins."...............Bang
"That must be the 10minute gun, I'm a minute out"
"O.K. going about, we'll sail away from the line for 5 mins then turn round" Bang!
"No that must be the 10minute gun"
"Right going about now, we'll head for the line," squinting through the rain and gloom it was easy to see the transit lights "there's the near distance mark "
" one minute gun" trying to judge the speed towards the line.
"O.K. lets harden up"
"Looks like everyone else is going "
suddenly looking in the other direction, down the start line the confusion of boats which were tacking gybeing and jockeying for position have all come round to head in the same direction, they are pointing as high as possible with as much sail as they dare which is a pretty impressive sight.
Bang! we're off.
...............to be continued.