We were approaching the last weekend of the school holidays and the weather was not looking good. Strong westerly headwinds of F5-6 were forecast for the Saturday plus rain as a front was due to pass overhead, writes Rosie Hinge.
But Sunday looked better, with moderating breezes plus some welcome sunshine. So, our organiser, Chris Coomber crossed his fingers and agreed that the event should go ahead as planned albeit that some of the smaller yachts decided not to take part.
So, on the Saturday morning our four participating WQSC yachts: Wacabone, Love Knot, Sea Nymph and Rapport collected their crew, including four cadets and set off towards Plymouth Sound. The idea was to race on the outward leg and so we duly noted our times at the starting line just off the western end of Plymouth breakwater.
As expected, we found a strong SW wind with big seas to the south of Rame Head and we soon got used to being knocked about as we heeled over on our beats to windward and our destination of Fowey with its finishing line at the harbour entrance. The rain thankfully passed over pretty quickly and did not amount to much.
It is fair to say that not many of the crews were particularly keen on spending time below in the confused seas but preferred instead to study the horizon in a bid to settle their stomachs! But as the afternoon wore on, boats started to arrive at Fowey, thankful for the chance to rest and were duly directed to the pontoon that had been reserved for the Weir Quay fleet.
Some of us had rather a late lunch, after which we shared our tales over tea and cake on Rapport. It’s so nice to be in harbour after a tough sail and a voyage like that is much better in retrospect!
Not long afterwards, the crews retired to their own boats to prepare their suppers. Hmm – rather soon after lunch/cake perhaps but the sea air does improve the appetite ..
And after another get-together on Rapport we all sunk into our bunks.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny and after breakfast, tenders were despatched to take the cadets and others ashore to explore Fowey and locate some (sweet) shops.
At lunchtime, we all set off for the journey back to Weir Quay.
The weather on the way back was much kinder, with bright sunshine and a fair NW breeze, however, still quite strong at F4/5. We romped towards Rame Head at a much faster speed than the day before.
The final leg northwards across Plymouth Sound was surprisingly windy and we found ourselves heeled hard over as we headed for the Bridge passage west of Drakes Island.
The boats arrived back at their moorings from late afternoon to early evening.
This first cadets’ two-day sail to Fowey was judged a success and the yachts enjoyed having such youthful and enthusiastic cadet crews with them.
The results of the race to Fowey will be published soon.
All photos by Sue Coomber.