By Michael Brigg.
The Bosham Classic Week-end has been well reported elsewhere by David Henshall and in spite of not getting to the start on the ‘Windy Saturday,’ and being late over the line for all three of Sunday’s races, David has managed to put a very nice picture of Torment as a header for the article.
I feel I really should make a report of the week end from the point of view of a traveller.
The CVRDA presence was sadly very small. Michael4 was there offering support, but sadly had no boat having been unable to master a ‘backward tow’ with his Merlin, and Mr Ben from Thames made an appearance in Twinkle the Albacore, but after Saturdays excitement was off games for the rest of the regatta with a major Leak. (See later…) I had hoped Roger might come and lend some planking support but the Weather forecast and prospects of a large rough tough Bosham presence kept him away, saving the latest Hornet for a less testing launching.
Even though I have been planning all year to get to Bosham I found myself over committed to other things over the year. Torment has been regularly passed over and I find myself ever more willing on the passing days leading to retirement.
So I got Torment over to the Church Meadow on the Friday morning with a grand total of 3 practice outings, all of which had been in less than Force 3, and took a pole position by the slip. The plan was to arrive on Saturday bright and early to rig up in the company of other Faffers. The day dawned exactly as the forecast predicted with driven mizzle penetrating any non waterproof garment with the same wetting coefficient as 50:50 Varnish and White Spirit. (And in the same manner also finding any holes in other protective cover.
Faffage being out of the question then, even to a seasoned campaigner, after stepping my mast I retired to the tent for the briefing. A “Front” due to pass over at @ 12.30 and set to moderate the worst of the fine and not so fine rain and wind: 1½ hour postponement. At this point the rush for the breakfast counter got the better of several sailors who knew what they were up to, and I found myself at the back of a line of helms and crew. It was a position with which I would develop a familiar relationship.
Like a distant elephant, the time for launching dawdled slowly over the horizon, and in the same manner I suddenly found that many sailors were quite suddenly dressed up and ready to go. Quickly I stepped the mast in a record time and got into my wet gear. The wind was still rattling the bar window panes, and the gulls as usual were flying in reverse gear. With the abiding thought “Never been out in this sort of weather” I prayed that things would moderate to the predicted 15Kn GUSTS, and trotted down the slip with my “new” sails (well, modern materials) gifted me from an old pro who felt they were “Too flat” but “easy to use in heavier weather!”
The sails went up with a lot of hard winding of the barrel winch and the foresail unfurled. So far so good….. …When you step mast in the rain there is a tendency to hurry. At this point I discovered that the lever on the barrel kicker had fallen the wrong side of the mast foot and could only be recovered by unstepping the mast which could only be done by dropping the sails, and also un-pinning the shrouds!! In a Force 4-5 with gusts, this is a difficult job. If you are not careful you can drop the split pin the fixes the shroud. When you re hoist in a hurry, you can put a jib hank on “upside down.”
If you are now behind the fleet, most of the Trolley assistants disappear. Luckily I had the help of John Prentice’s daughter who was one of the army of helpful happy Bosham club members helping out the launch / beach party. She was delighted to hear that Aggamemnon was back in commission and told me she has box loads of photos. We chatted a bit while I waited for the wind to settle (it didn’t) so I then gathered courage to leap on board my craft with all the confidence of Pony club novice mounting up on mighty Bellerophon.
My first fetch whizzed across to to far side and things seemed to be going well. The tack came round and I crossed back. The second tack went through the wind, but my Sliding seat was still on the other side and I capsized…
A pattern ensued of capsizing each time I tacked. It being low tide in the crowded Bosham channel, I did not have the 50m of searoom I required for each tack. What I did learn was that it takes about 20seconds from one side to the other (at low tide.) Thus my progress down the channel proceeded with episodes of spine-tingling speed alternating with frequent capsizes and very blue language as bits of me would get wrapped in bits of mainsheet that I kept discovering in new places in the boat.
One hundred ways to capsize a Canoe… (Actually I might save that for another day.)
After @ 40 capsizes I could see the Fairway but then the wind took my favourite Cap (a blue Fat face) and I caught my foot on the tailing edge of the plate, snapping off a previous repair and as the wooden sliver floated away, it suddenly occurred to me that this wasn’t fun any more.
I capsized on the mud to get the mainsail down as a straight run home with full sail was out of the question. By now the wind had peaked at @ force 5 with vicious backing gusts blowing off the copse sheltering the Cobnor Point.
The halyard had jumped out of the luff track and the headboard of the sail was jammed. The camber inducing battens were pressed hard against a pre-tensioned pre-bent mast and the whole sail was determined to carry on sailing. A lot of furious pulling and swearing finally prevailed and under just foresail I cantered home. At the same speed as a retired Albacore under full rig!
I now know how fast this boat can go if I can learn to ride it!
Well we all know what had happened to the Albacore and a run of conversation on the facebook site I think sums it all up nicely.
I wasn’t able to stay for the evening rituals, but I am quite certain the quality was as ever, excellent with the usual quality of “hard tack” music and beer. So on to Sunday with the contrast of a huge cloudless, windless sky that was reflected in an equally mirror like calm sea.
The battle to the start this time lay in finding brief zephyrs. Today I opted for the original Ratsey sails, which though of great beauty, sadly had rather less drive. Adjusting the sail while hoisting. I annoyingly managed to break another Top batten (the art with old, wooden , full length battens is, DO NOT, pull on the leach of the sail… ever! Except by using a Kicker / Mainsheet to spread the load through the sail.)
I ( this time) dawdled to the start, struggling to stay ahead of even the Tideways, but picked up a breeze in the fairway, and managed to cross the line @ 4minutes after the start gun with a view of several 18 footers carving up the wind ahead.
By the windward mark I just about caught the fleet, with wind now filling in to a steady Force 2 with variable shifty gusts. Less than ideal for a rusty, barely balanced single hander. Even in these conditions, a capsize is easy, especially if you’ve never gybed before.
And so a pattern emerged of relative pace, terrible pointing ability and lacklustre downwind performance (we are talking here of the helm)
I headed for the Mud to capsize and tighten my jib halyard, and as I crossed back to the start for race 2, realised the fleet had already departed. More catch up.
A “bit of a collision” meant I had to capsize on the mud again to check for damage (None I am glad to say) but again I saw the fleet depart without being able to contest a start, and then accidentally missed the ODM as I lost control in a gust.
In a way I was glad not to have been too involved in the racing as I did not want to risk the boat, and the collision I had reminded me how easily these come about. On a reach or a beat the canoe is blisteringly fast, and many conventional dinghies will not consider you to be close enough to watch for on a Port/starboard challenge. Like a potent motorbike you may be in the right, but you must constantly ride defensively.
On reflection the fact I was able to get nearly a mile upwind against tide and a gusty, adverse strong breeze on the Saturday in spite of cramped water and closely moored boats was pleasing and encourages me to believe I will be able eventually to get this boat out in more exiting conditions and can control it. The boat really needs room however. Oxford (Farmoor), Bosham (at high water or launching from the Cobnor or Itchenor sites) Roadford, Bewl Bridge and perhaps Aldeborough make the best sense as things stand.
Lots to look forward to next year!!!.
The Entry List.
Entry nr Timestamp Helm first name Helm surname Class Sail number Age of
boat Boat name Hull Boat length Club
2 1 25/08/2016 12:25:01 PETER SHAW Tideway 220 1968 BAR TAILED
GODWIT Wood 12′ Bosham SC
3 2 26/08/2016 13:23:55 Peter Lacey Christchurch Dragonfly D6 68 years
(Built 1948) Charm Wood 14ft Bosham SC
4 3 26/08/2016 14:16:58 Chris Turner Fireball 6 54 years Six of the
Best Wood 16′ 2″ Hayling Island SC
5 4 26/08/2016 22:50:19 Gordon Currey National 18
Classic 107 1951 Dandy Wood 18′ Bosham SC
6 5 28/08/2016
22:10:03 Ian Simpson Enterprise 7830 1961 Sundance Wood 13’3″ Tudor SC
7 6 29/08/2016 19:53:10 David Macfarlane Yachting World Day
Boat 597 1985 YELLOW PERIL GRP 14′ Bosham SC
8 7 29/08/2016 20:58:32 David Morley Yachting World Day Boat 624 26 years
old Clementine GRP 14′ Bosham SC
9 8 31/08/2016
14:37:54 Guy Farnsworth Tideway 486 10yrs Flicka GRP 12′ Bosham SC
10 9 31/08/2016 21:48:42 Francis Griffiths Bosham One
Design ? ? Teal Wood ? Bosham SC
11 10 01/09/2016 14:29:01 Matthew Gray National 18
Classic 18/316 1974 Ocatillo Wood 18′ Bosham SC
12 11 02/09/2016
14:48:29 Chris Hitchings Tideway TW410 1994 Trixi GRP 12′ Bosham SC
13 12 02/09/2016 16:55:45 Will King Devon Yawl 53 1978 Foudre
Bleu GRP 18ft Bosham SC
14 13 02/09/2016 17:26:22 Howard MacKenzie Wilson Kittiwake 14 KW
14 10-Years Firebrand GRP 14-ft Bosham SC
15 14 02/09/2016 17:37:51 Izzie Lee Chichester Scow 51 14!! Happy
Bunny GRP 11’5” Bosham SC
16 15 02/09/2016
17:40:17 Findlay Carol Tideway TW501 Rainbow GRP 12′ Bosham SC
17 16 02/09/2016 21:39:03 Neil Clatworthy Merlin
Rocket/Winder 3161 1979 ORAC Wood 14ft Thorney Island SC
18 17 03/09/2016 16:19:16 Barry Colgate Yachting World Day Boat DB 674 3
years Liquid Luck GRP 14′ Bosham SC
19 18 03/09/2016 21:13:50 Simon Veysey National 18
Classic 253 55 Thumbelina Wood 18′ Bosham SC
20 19 04/09/2016 09:23:52 Stephen Gray Fairey Falcon 1 57 Titania Other 16′
6” Bosham SC
21 20 04/09/2016 10:27:25 Ian Wheeler Tideway 493 10
years Razzle GRP 12′ Bosham SC
22 21 04/09/2016 10:48:02 Michael Brigg International 10Sq m Canoe. (One
design Nethercott) K102 49 years Torment Wood 18′ Stokes Bay, and CVRDA.
23 22 04/09/2016 14:59:47 Richard Watney National 18
Classic 225 1956 Finola Wood 18′ Bosham SC
24 23 04/09/2016 15:17:37 Will Henderson Firefly 2319 Built
1959 Gigi Wood 12′ Itchenor SC
25 24 04/09/2016 16:45:16 David Adams One off ( CDB Slow ) 11 Built 1928
-88yrs Stormalong Wood 16′ Bosham SC
26 25 04/09/2016 20:13:12 Ben Davis Devon
Yawl 168 1968 Westwind GRP Bosham SC
27 26 04/09/2016 20:27:28 James Vaughan International
14 K935 46 SeaWitch Wood 14 Weymouth
28 27 05/09/2016 07:57:33 Judy Roberts Yachting World Day
Boat 617 FRIN GRP 14′ Bosham SC
29 28 05/09/2016 10:52:35 Adrian Weller Torbay Minnow 19 60+
years Pirana Wood 16′ Bosham SC
30 29 05/09/2016 12:27:03 Chris McRae Devon Yawl DY 179 37
years Dragon GRP 18ft loa Bosham SC
31 30 05/09/2016 14:18:22 Brian Hoolahan National 18
Classic 368 26 Toucou Wood 18′ Bosham SC
32 31 05/09/2016
19:57:14 Ben May Albacore 1443 1962 Twinkle Wood 15′ Thames SC
33 32 05/09/2016 20:25:20 Tilly Mattich Aldeburgh Lapwing 10 68 Sea
Swift Wood 12’6″ Aldeburgh YC
34 33 05/09/2016 20:57:33 Steven Board GP14 8649 42
years TIPSEA GRP 14′ Bosham SC
35 34 05/09/2016 21:32:56 Doug Branson Chichester
Scow CS1 25 Mimic Wood 11’5″ Bosham SC
36 35 05/09/2016 21:48:12 Paul Dewing Yachting World Day Boat DB475 47
years (1969) Flo Wood 14′ Bosham SC
37 36 05/09/2016 23:24:07 Kenneth Moore Tideway 303 43
yrs. DORIS Wood 12′ Bosham SC
38 37 07/09/2016 11:22:44 Richard Stirrup National 18
Classic 15 1938 Tinkerbelle Wood 18′ Bosham SC
39 38 07/09/2016 21:02:30 Chris Crocker Tideway 363 30 years
+/- Annie Wood 12′ Bosham SC
40 39 08/09/2016 21:02:33 Tom Reid National 18 Classic 133 about 70 years
old Theorette Wood 18′ Bosham SC
41 40 09/09/2016 16:46:13 John Fildes Aldeburgh
Lapwing 18 69 Kingfisher Wood 12″6″ RYA
42 41 09/09/2016 17:07:11 James Hewitt Yachting World
Dayboat 676 Mallory GRP 14ft Island Cruising Club
43 42 09/09/2016 17:45:47 Paul Sheldrick Yachting World Day
Boat 546 1973 Alanna Wood 14′ Thorney Island
44 43 10/09/2016 00:40:10 Stephen Tomlinson Jollyboat 83 1956 Jolly
Fox Wood 18ft Bosham SC
The Results all here:-
Fast Fleet. (Including Me in Torment)