Chris Hadden and the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club's Race Committee gave it their all to achieve two races on the final day of the Six Metre European Championship, but the wind once again refused to cooperate and their best efforts were thwarted. As a result no Six Metre European Champion, Modern or Classic, could be declared for 2014.
The teams had left the dock at 07.30 for a 09.00 start to the south of St Anthony Head. A light easterly wind filled in ready for race four of the series to start on time and both fleets got away at the first attempt with only Bertie Bicket's Scoundrel I being individually recalled in the Moderns. The first lap went well for both fleets, but the wind began to drop as they approached the first gate and the race committee wisely moved the weather mark in for the second beat.
As the leading boats came up that second beat the wind dropped again to under three knots and with a foul tide right on the nose progress became painfully slow. The race committee wisely elected to shorten at the mark and the Moderns just ghosted across the finish line with Paul Smith's GBR107 Valhalla first, Don Martin's CAN111 Blade Runner second and Scoundrel I, who had sailed their socks off after being over the line at the start, third.
Behind them the Classics were soon becalmed with many of the boats forced to kedge. Fifty-five minutes after the first Classic rounded the leeward mark, Chris Hadden had no choice but to announce that they had run out of time. With no hope that the Classics could now achieve five races he sent them home. A particularly frustrating decision for Andy Postle and the crew of GBR22 Titia, who were leading the race handsomely at the time.
With just over an hour still to go until the noon start cut off time, the Moderns waited it out in the hope that the wind would reappear and allow them one more race to validate the regatta. But the gods refused to smile on the Sixes and at 11.40, with not a breath of wind in sight, N over A was hoisted and the boats were sent home for good.
Although no champion could be declared the sailors none the less came together for an informal closing ceremony where they took the opportunity to thank the visiting sailors for travelling so far to race, all the sponsors for their generous support, the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and its members and staff for their hospitality and the British Six Metre Association for leading the organisation of the regatta. Special thanks were given to the Race Committee who had done sterling work in impossible circumstances, and the loudest applause of all was reserved for Chris Hadden as he came to the stage to receive a small gift of gratitude from the fleet.
International Six Metre Class President Matt Brooks summed up the feeling of the sailors succinctly saying; 'It was a great venue, that was organised superbly, and I look forward to returning in the near future. I think I speak for the entire Six Metre fleet when I say that we all appreciate the work that went into the regatta. We once again very much enjoyed the fellowship of the Sixes and the opportunity to sail against each other and enjoy these wonderful boats.'
It may not have been possible to acknowledge a champion this year, but it has nonetheless been a delightful week. The boats were the stars of the show with the Moderns revelling in all their high tech glory and the Classics awash with gleaming varnish and brass. And the quality of the sailors was incomparable with names like Rod Davis, Phil Crebbin, Andy Beadsworth, James A Hilton Sr, Chris Mason, David Howlett, Pedro Andrade, John Pollard, Martin Westerdahl, Andy Ash-Vie, Peter Kay and Dick Parker, to name but a few, populating the crew lists.
The next International Six Metre Championship will be the 2015 Six Metre World Cup, hosted by the Société Nautique de la Trinité Sur Mer, in La Trinité on the south coast of Brittany, France from 29 May to 5 June 2015. Event website