12th July Classic Channel Regatta towards Paimpol

  • Start position – St. Peter Port
  • Start time – 08:20
  • Start engine hrs – 691.9
  • Towards – Paimpol
  • ETA – 20:00
  • Finish position –  St. Peter Port
  • Finish time – 12:20
  • Finish engine hrs – 694.4
  • Distance travelled –
  • Skipper – Richard
  • Crew – Louise, Sofie, Marion
  • Weather – NNE3-4
  • Tide – HW Dover 03:20, 15:50
  • New faults – Broken gaff end fitting

It’s going to be pretty much straight downwind all day. So it’s a matter of managing the tides and keeping the boat going well. We’ve got local advice that with the tide flowing North up the main channel off St. Peter Port, it will be flowing South on the other side of The Great Bank.

We pick the committee boat end of the start line, gybe around it and are second across the start line. Everyone else sticks closer to Guernsey, so we’re out on our own. The swell builds as we clear South of Guernsey and we put in a couple of gybes to keep on course. Looking up, there’s something wrong with the mainsail at the lower end of the gaff. We gybe again to try to clear it and realised that the bronze gaff end fitting has broken. That’s clearly the end of our race. Now will it all come down the mast? We’ve got the topsail up, so the big question is whether its sheet will run. With the autopilot on we can get 2 people on the main halyards and another guiding/pulling things down. We make the decision to lower the mainsail before the topsail, thanking ‘Gwenili’ for the tip last month. With a bit of work the gaff is wrestled to the deck. ‘Ivy Green’ is remarkably stable downwind under staysail. The topsail follows easily enough. Then the staysail is down, we turn and motor back to St. Peter Port. We’re all disappointed, but nobody is hurt and no other damage is apparent.

The afternoon is spent exploring options for local repair, replacement of the part, or delivery of Ivy Green back to Hamble. The gaff itself has a crack in it, but appears to be serviceable. The problem is the bronze fitting. It appear to have been cracked for sometime, before failing. Everyone is agreed that it came from Classic Marine, but the only way to get a direct replacement is to send them the old one. Local boatyard ‘Boartworks+’ offer to make a stainless steel replacement. We’ll sleep on it.

Supper at ‘Christies’ goes down well. Our disappointment lifts as we realise that others are still slogging South to Brittany.

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