It was a cold, grey and frowsty sort of day, and more than one dissenting voice was heard in the Main Bar at RHKYC this morning. ‘I don’t want to go sailig, it’s too cold and it’s too wet…’ Anyone would think that this was a Frostbite Series fleet getting ready to crack the ice and launch on the Solent in January, but actually it was the Nations Cup trying to get under way at Kellett Island. One of those ‘not very serious’ races in which there is always someone who is very very serious indeed.
RHKYC Nations Cup 2012 - Team Uranus (President: Gromit the Dog)
The Irish flag in the Main Bar nearly caused a riot (appropriate) since it should have been the England flag hanging from the rattan (England having won the Nations Cup last year). Race Officer and Scotsman Jimmy Farquhar thought it was a mild spring day, but he’s not been back to Scotland for so long that he may have forgotten. But one thing everyone agreed on was that there was absolutely no wind. So 1030h start delayed until 1130. 'Hooray' said the Irish contingent, as Jamie McWilliam ordered another seven pints of Guinness. Breakfast was now going on a little longer than planned…
At 1130 it still wasn’t looking very promising, with just a few knots from the north, but everyone was having far too much fun cruising around the start area comparing ‘national’ costumes to really worry. American cowboys were mixing it up with Japanese samurai, and stolid Germans in lederhosen crossed tacks with aliens from Uranus. The Irish ordered another round.
1200 first start in useful breeze, small boats away to Kowloon Bay and then a spinnaker run down to Shau Kei Wan in visibility that was worsening by the moment. The course was meant to bring them back to Dock buoy and then send them away put of the harbour to TCS4, but. Second start went away, and then the third, and then the rain came. And after the rain there was nothing – absolutely nothing. Sometimes that’s the way it is, dammit. The first starters – Flying 15s, Pandoras and so on – parked at SKW, and everyone else parked at Kowloon Bay. And thise who had got far enough down the harbour started to really feel the effect of the ebbing tide as they whistled past the turning mark on the wrong side, in no breeze, and nothing they could do about it.
Well, Jimmy Farquhar is nothing if not practical. Who knows, maybe the stocks of San Mig on the Committee Boat were running low, maybe the General Manager Mark Bovaird (another Scotsman) was wanting a pint of ‘heavy’, but at 1345 it was three guns and let’s all go home to the bar. The Irish ordered another round – over the radio.
You just can’t win ‘em all, and the Nations Cup 2012 was not there for the winning this time around. But a re-sail is promised - just as soon as the Main Bar re-stocks with Guinness, otherwise there’ll be a hooley.
Signing off from the United Nations camera boat (Scotland, England, England, Philippines). Until next time, but with sunshine please.