Cherbourg Transmanche to Weymouth 2017

YCC TransmanchePlouec2Can't miss them

Five Weymouth SC boats attended the Decenniale Transmanche (that's 10th year of cross channel race Nobby); Kathy Claydon's Arcona 370 Arcsine, John Morrison's Archambault A31 58 Degrees North, Simon Hall's J35 Outrageous, Mark Talbot's Elan 295 Effusion and the HB/Riches/Rees JPK 9.60 Tilted.

No amount of wishing or perseverence were going to provide a passage race on the thursday night with ETAs in Cherbourg looking depressing, the fleet started burning diesel in order to get the right amount of sleep and red wine prior to the big race on saturday. The appearance of a white flare off Tilted's starboard bow gave cause for some radio traffic but the investigation is still inconclusive, perhaps it was a sparkler from Charlotte's mojitos on the J35? (Post script - it was a meteorite falling to earth).

With everyone in port and rested the business of race preparation began, for some this meant a traditional perambulation with M. Stephane de Fraser to cheese mongers and vintners. The skipper of Tilted preferred to immerse everyone else in French bureaucracy by actually filling out and submitting the race entry in accordance with the SIs. Some might say he's a little touchy about SIs these days. The pre-race briefing that evening involved some scribbling of names and phone numbers. YCC had kindly "crow-barred" our boats into the Osiris HN handicapping system reminding us all why WSC got rid of handicapping and embraced IRC rating. However it was pleasing to get so many Weymouth boats to the event and we were all raring to see how we would fare lined up against our Norman cousins.

Race day arrived with a very respectable start time of 0900 french time and the Weymouth boats seemed to be the first ones out into the Petit Rade to realise how little room there is behind the start line compared to our big bay. With a "left hand drive" port moored committee boat and port tack start it got a little tight in the final moments. Tilted narrowly avoided more bureaucratic paperwork by avoiding the insurance claim by an inch or 25.4mm. Later only to get tacked on by Effusion who were fooled by our gallic charms. Outrageous and Arcsine were particularly impressive by nailing the start and flying off in front.

Tacking up the Grand Rade towards Fort de l'Ouest was exhilirating and the fleet settled into a beat in wind over tide towards blighty. As we went on the YCC boats eased sheets, WSC boats preferring to keep the westing against the flood and with a backing breeze forecast hoping for the kite hoist. I'm still bemused by the two different approaches to the same problem and awed by Arcsine's courage of staying to windward with an entire fleet bearing away, picking up the tide on the east side of Portland and ripping into the finish.

Weather was glorious if a little light in places but strengthened as we approached the bay causing a couple of broaches with a reluctant drop of spinnakers.

We await overall results but the IRC results for WSC boats showed a 1,2,3 of Arcsine, Tilted, Outrageous.

The trip was great fun and once again great hospitality shown by YCC and Port Chantereyne. To not want to get off the boat after an offshore race is an unusual feeling for some, perhaps we'd had a touch of the Moitessiers?.. I hope that YCC had as much fun with their visit to us, the BBQ at the club looked gorgeous. We hope that the beat home in some building weather was not too bad and made the choice of a pint of Carlsberg with your lunch a good idea!

Great to be on the same start line as Raging Bee!

Submitted on 5th June 2017