27th Ė 30th May 2017
72 dinghies, made up of Merlins, Scorpions, National 12s, Enterprises and 13 Larks made the pilgrimage to Carnac this year, putting little boats on big boats and heading south! The reward was the perfect Brittany blue sky day for some serious race preparation for the handicap race, including a spot of rigging and a quick beer and baguette before a late lunch launch.
After a spot of bobbing about and waiting for the see breeze to kick in, racing eventually got underway. After a false start, thanks to a strong tide pushing many over the line, a slightly intimidating 70 strong fleet where off! Steve Cumley and Eluned Stewart didnít hold back and quickly found their rhythm, taking a 15th overall. This was swiftly followed by Steve and Ally Hall taking 17th and Steve Chatten & Kirsty Phipps taking 23rd. The speedy Merlins dominated the top 20, with the Scorpís not far behind.
Carnac Yacht club hosted welcome drinks in the evening. Conducting a full briefing by the committee on the individual fleet racing series, commencing the following day.
The sunny sky had been replaced with heavy cloud, slight winds and muggy conditions which saw the fleet held ashore until some wind could be located. Released at lunchtime there was an initial hope of some breeze, however after a heavy rain shower came through, it became apparent racing was looking unlikely. Some serious bobbing about time and a race course eventually was prepared, only for the sky to turn dark and the sound of thunder on the horizon imminent! The call was soon taken (after the flashes of lightening started to descend from the sky) to send the fleet in sharpish, with racing abandoned. The thunder, lighting and monsoon conditions continued and many of the Lark class competitors took this as the opportunity to sample the local delights of the ĎRum Barí late into the evening!!
Another morning of grey skies and light conditions, saw a postponement (much needed for sleep by many, from the night before!) AP down and the fleet headed out, the race committee had organized a series of 6 sprint races for the day, consisting of a hefty first beat to the windward, across, then back down to the finish! With winds strengthening, hiking skills were going to be tested and the competition was hotting up. Race 1, saw Cumley/Stewart take the win, closely followed by Chris and Kate Holliman with Harry Pynn and Gemma Cook taking the third. Racing was continuous with the Merlins already in sequence for race 2. Race 2, saw Steve & Ally ( with their ship now sorted after issues in race one) sprint up the first beat, hot on their heels were Chris & Kate and Adam & Ruth. The Hallís increased their lead taking the first, Adam & Ruth squeezing in for the second and the Hollimanís in third. Race 3, with two boats down, ( The Pynn's heading to A&E for a stitch or two after a centerboard mishap and the Wardís deciding to sail over a big pink buoy, taking their rudder off) the fleet were away! James Stewart and Jane Kerney put their game face on and by the windward were clear leaders and ultimately took 1st. Adam & Ruth did battled with Ally & Steve to take the 2nd, , with the Hallís settling for 3rd. Race 4, saw Steve & Ally, fully fired up, straight out the gate finding strong breeze out on the left. Chris & Kate were left to battle with James & Jane who eventually took them, photo finish style, on the line! A minor interlude before race 5 was allowed to enable the Enterpriseís a chance to get to their windward before the Merlins would be in hot pursuit on their first beat. The pause saw Dan Watson and Helen Windard head ashore, the toll of a little too much fun/rum the night before becoming apparent! Eventually underway and with the see breeze fully kicking in the Hallís and Hollimanís tag teamed their way around the course, with the Hallís eventually taking it to the line, Hollimanís taking 2nd and Chatten and Phipps steaming into third. With legs now feeling the burn the fleet lined up for the final sprint, race 6. Steve & Ally, now well practiced, took the 1st off of James & Jane with the Chris & Kate taking the third, before the seventy boats headed in and descended on Carnac plage for a well deserved beer or two. The Yacht Club organinded a fanastic evening at the club with 5 euros a bottle wine and cider, prawns, salad and roast chicken proving a winning combination for everyone.
An early start was planned, but, with next to nothing breeze the fleet were held back from launching, eventually deciding to push back when the committee sniffed out a potential see breeze afoot an hour or so later. It became quickly apparent on the sail out that there was still a lack of the windy stuff to get going.!! A two hour bobbing session issued ( the fleet now well practiced at this), but with sun, sea and fromage & jambon baguettes on board most boats, no one was complaining. Eventually a waft of warm breeze came through which was enough to kick start race 7. A triangle sausage course was prepared and we were away ( or beit just about ) It was Pynn/Krailing ( Helen stepping in for the patched up Gemma) who quickly found their feet and stormed into the lead, holding it all the way round the course to take the 1st. Cumley/Stewart were back on form after their boat issues the day before and quickly took the second with the Hallís chasing in third.
Prize giving was held later on in the marque at the club later on. The club put on tapas, cava and cider, all enjoyed by the competitors in the Brittany sunshine.
Many thanks to Carnac Yacht Club as well as Tom Jeffcoat and Hannah Edge for organising such a fantastic event!
Full results and pictures can be found here