Trip on Ca’ Canny starting 2012-07-19 in BSA2Aug12

J Class Racing Day, July 19 2012. On Ca’ Canny – report by Sue Fowle

Skipper – Gordon Ogden, Crew – Jock Playle, Bernard Smyth, Sonia Russé, Paul Johnson, Ian Harding, Nick Kinsley, Dave Britten, Bob Hayes and Sue Fowle

In September last year I was with my American sailing friends when they said they were coming over to Falmouth in 2012 to see the J class races. On my return I raised the possibility of a day charter when the boats were due in The Solent in July 2012. The initial response was slow but quite soon Jock was tasked with finding boats for 20 people. With his usual skill and persistence he achieved this and even arranged a night on board before the race day.

Ca’ Canny, a 40’ Najad had a small saloon but proved a cozy venue for drinks and nibbles, provided by eVent’s crew, before eating in the Ketch Rigger, the marina restaurant .As the drinks slipped down, G.O. confessed the restaurant did not open until 0900 – our anticipated departure time, so a hurried foraging party was dispatched to Tesco for muesli and pastries for next day’s breakfast. As the rain beat down more crew arrived on board until there was a large gathering for supper then nightcaps back on the boat. Envious eyes were cast over the large aft cabin, jealously guarded by Sonia and Sue.

The following morning there was a pleasant breeze and some blue sky. All the mainsail lines were on the mast but Ca’ Canny had a bow thruster so even the least competent helmswoman was able to take her out of the marina and down the Hamble to arrive in Southampton Water as one of the J class boats sped down the Calshot shore.

Despite listening to Channel 3 we did not manage to catch the race programme so sailed out along with other yachts, all eager to be close to Rainbow, Ranger, Lionheart and Velsheda. The race was delayed as Ranger apparently ran aground in So’ton Water (these boats draw 16’) but eventually they were all assembled. As they ‘warmed up’ we had great opportunities to view these magnificent boats with their huge sails at close quarters as they skilfully tacked around us at great speed, heeling elegantly as their crews in matching outfits moved effortlessly on the open decks. (We were all clipped on and sailing with No1 reefed main and genoa!)

With full mains and huge genoas they were off for the Western Solent, leaving us, sailing at 7kns, way behind. As they tacked near Yarmouth, they released their spinnakers, all 4 silver-y and opalescent white so they looked like a swaggering gang of teenagers blowing gum! They were a stunning sight as they cut through the powerboats, ribs and yachts lurking in their wake and skimmed through the turquoise waters of The Solent, reaching at least 14kts.We realized the importance of giving them plenty of sea room as we would never have been able to manoeuvre out of their way. One of our crew eyed the bow position on the J boats with envy!!!

By 1330 the 4 boats had finished the race, won by Velsheda and disappeared back to Ocean Village, but as a heavy shower arrived we had lunch then a great sail back to Hamble Point Mapin F4 winds. Such had been the ‘good’ winds that we only needed to pay 80p for diesel at the fuel dock! (But we were later told there was a second fuel filler, which needed £3.60 worth!)

The Najad proved a roomy boat, topside, for most of us – Bernard, despite having slept alone on eVent, or so he said, spent the day lying down with severe backache. Disappointingly he saw more of the race on the photos than in real life!

It was a wonderfully exciting day, a once in a lifetime experience. The weather was kind, both dry and breezy, the food was good, thank you, Paul and despite his painful shoulder skipper G.O. was able to enjoy helming along with everybody else. However the main thank you must go to Jock for such efficient logistics and co-ordinating so many individual travel plans as well as linking in with the cross – Channel trip the following day.


Hamble Point Marina  50.8518,-1.3099