The following round-up appears in the latest Axe Yacht Club (AYC) newsletter.
2008, what can one say? A season to be remembered for all the wrong reasons!
The River Race programme suffered as much as any of the other AYC events. Just three of the programmed eight races were sailed, now that the evenings are pulling in thoughts are turned towards autumnal activities such as logging and cider making.
The annual pilgrimage of the Axe Ones to Fowey Classics took place in early August (no problem with a force seven sou’westerly heading down the A30 in the rain & spray). Once again a full programme of events, both nautical and social had been organised by the ever resourceful Roy Downes. The first day’s racing was predictably affected by the weather, but not to be beaten a race around the cans was organised within the river. Mike & Jane Calvert in battle hardened condition (having just previously had a successful & windy Salcombe week) won convincingly in the ‘fresh’ conditions with Teal, No.22.
The AYC was once again represented at the Classic’s RNLI quiz evening – which seemed to depend on consuming as many bottles of wine as possible, of course all in a good cause! The combined team of the Axe Ones – AXECESS – retained last years honours and won yet more bottles!
The final day’s event was blessed with half decent weather, which consisted of a fleet picnic around the coast to Lantic Bay. A prize was awarded for the best ‘rigged’ picnic – we have much work to do in this category; for starters it would appear that, flags, rattan chairs, table & candelabras are a prerequisite and of course champagne – mind you there is only so much cargo carrying capacity within an Axe One. Perhaps a ‘classic’ mother ship is required, Spintail comes to mind!
The return passage to Fowey was in the form of a pursuit race. Roy’s calculations once again seemed to work out with the Axes just sneaking in ahead of the beautiful Swedish 5.5 metre ,i>Sensa, this earnt yet more bottles – many thanks to the sponsors Old Pultney Whisky.
Falmouth Classics followed Fowey, predictably the weather went down hill. This year it was combined with the Pendennis Cup. This new event had been organised for the big classic yachts such as the gaff cutters Lady Anne, Marquita and the schooners Mariette, Altair and Adix; normally only seen in the Med and the Caribbean.
The big boats seemed to take the lively conditions in their stride, which is more than can be said for Whimbrel. Conditions dictated a heavily reefed main and then sailing limited to the sheltered waters of the inner harbour; however mixing with the big boats was both impressive and spectacular.
The highlight of the river race series (there weren’t many) was during August when all six Axe One Designs sailed together. This has not happened for a couple of years as Swallow, No.6 has sailed more regularly on the Solent. Her guest appearance paid off with Stephen & Jacob Daniel winning in a rapidly dying breeze. The remainder of the fleet struggled to the finish line, having to hug the islands to avoid the building ebb tide. Another entrant that has not been seen on the river for a good few years was Tom Bridgman sailing David Trezise’s Freddie No.21. This absence was evident in that Freddie seemed to be heading upstream at the start – the pint comes after the race, not before!!
Finally, not to be left out, the Axes headed to Dartmouth to join an already large contingent of AYC cruisers enjoying both the racing and regatta activities. Fortunately the sun shinned for the majority of the regatta Saturday, except for the evening when low cloud made spotting the Red Arrows more of an audio experience rather than visual! The RDYC were very accommodating towards the A.O.D.s, allowing mooring on their pontoon during the height of the regatta – the sight of four small wooden dinghies seemed to be the passport to berthing. Once again many questions as to origins of the boats and the usual Axe not Exe!!!!
The last river race of the 2008 series once again saw very light conditions with just a breath of wind from the east. Five of the six A.O.D.s took entered within a fleet total of 14 boats taking part in the general handicap race.
The race was shortened to just one lap, although places changed through out the early stage, the strong rain enhanced ebb eventually overcame the fleet and just Whimbrel alone finished the race.
Post race supper followed at the Harbour Inn.
The overall 2008 A.O.D. series results :-
1st Gemini No.8
Equal 2nd Whimbrel No.1 and Teal No.22
4th Swallow No.6
Equal 5th Shearwater No.20 & Freddie No.21