Trip on Chantan II starting 2008-07-23 in BSAAug08

PASAB Race July 23rd-29th - -“Chantan II” – report by Kate Hubert

The crew was Skipper Malcolm Price, Jon Wood, Nick Kinsley, Rob Meller, Antonia Pemberton, and Kate Hubert.

We picked up our yacht from Cornish Cruisers in Falmouth Mapmarina – she was Chantan II a Beneteau First 36 – It all looked hopeful at first glance, with a carbon tiller and a nice wide beam for accommodation… but it turned out she was 12V only, and there were other little niggles, such as the anchor & steaming lights being fused together, and the meagre instruction books all being soaked so much they resembled papier maché !

Malcolm, John, Rob and I had some food with the other BSA crew from “Enigma” in the marina bar that evening. Then we set off around 8am on the Thursday morning into bright conditions with a nice SE wind. Now, it might have been the Doom Bar and/or the Calvados from the night before – but several of us found the seas round the LizardMap rather…. uncomfortable… But at least there was a decent breeze to get us round towards Penzance with a single reef in. In the afternoon we anchored off St Michael’s MountMap – we couldn’t get into Penzance harbour until after 8pm so we took our chances in NewlynMap. We squeezed in between the pontoons and rafted alongside a French Boat, who woke us bright and early on Friday morning as they left.

So we strolled into Penzance for ice cream – it was lovely and hot and sunny – remember what that’s like?!? Then, with whole crew assembled, in the afternoon we headed out for a lovely blast around the bay. The sun was out, the water was flat and there was a good breeze, great for some necessary practice with the tiller extension...

That evening the actual race was delayed by an hour so it didn’t start until 9pm. Unfortunately this coincided with the wind dying... By 10pm we were looking at Mousehole… and by 11pm we were still looking towards Mousehole… But we had at least made it across the line… (the committee took pity on a certain Cornish Crabber (Ros and Gordon) and the start line magically moved backwards until they ‘crossed’ it…)

Just as we were giving up all hope the wind picked up and we escaped Penzance Bay with shooting stars and the Milky Way to guide us. At 4am we even had a pod of common dolphins playing at our bows….

But by the time the sun was really up the wind had died again – I got the Princess and the Pea award for sleeping through my crew’ vain attempts to get the engine started, whilst I was lying a bunk with a pile of wooden jewellery under the cushion. Once I was finally turfed out and we could look at the battery compartment under my bunk, we realised we only had 2 batteries connected - but luckily we found a 3rd spare one to jump start us… we were still trying to sail – but we needed to use the engine to charge the batteries as the instruments (well the depth sounder – none of the other instruments were working) and the lights had flattened them overnight…

We struggled on doing our best to keep sailing but at around midday democracy in action meant the rev heads versus the true sailors negotiated a 22½ minute wait to see if the wind would come back…. It was really frustrating as we could see the Islands but were rapidly drifting North on the tide… eventually even the diehards admitted defeat and we motored in, rescuing a mini Transat boat whose outboard had given up the ghost en route.

We rafted together on a buoy in busy St MaryMap’s harbour before heading to St AgnesMap for the night. This was a lovely anchorage – with amazingly clear water – you could see the anchor and the chain with fish nibbling along the entire length of it. We had a smashing dinner at the Turk’s Head - thanks to Clive for booking that...

The next morning dawned ominously still for the round the Islands race – but we decided to head across for the start anyway (which is more than can be said for some of the others….Enigma… ). Luckily a light wind came in just in time for the start and the course was shortened so we only had to circumnavigate St Mary’s. We went for the nonchalant ‘off the shoulder’ approach and towed our dinghy for the duration of the race. (I must say the men of our crew should get the regatta cleanliness award as they were determined to row ashore for their ablutions in the morning – but this did mean we had no time to decommission the dinghy before the start of the race.) It was a very picturesque sail round the island, but eventually we were overhauled by smaller boats flying spinnakers - who refused to be beaten by a boat towing a dinghy!

After the race we joined the CBAs (the couldn’t be…ar… bothereds…) at Tresco Mapin New Grimsby Sound anchorage. We made a brief shore party to enjoy the blazing sun, white beaches and clear blue seas – it really is a gorgeous spot. Unfortunately we turned air blue as we decided to have a dip before we headed back to St Mary’s – the water was so cold swims were measured in seconds rather than minutes with much …shrieking and swearing…. We blasted back for the evening ‘do’ at the Scillonian club at St Mary’s – had some excellent fish dishes, but we were all a bit tired so we headed home…

However, there was a slight hiccup when we reached the harbour… those of us left forlornly on the dock could hear an outboard circling the moorings for what seemed like hours, until at last a sheepish threesome returned to announce ‘we’ve lost the bloody boat…’ Luckily the female members of the crew had a better sense of direction and we soon found her – exactly where we’d left her as it turns out…. (Secretary’s note: Nick Kinsley wishes it to be known that “IT WAS NOT ALL MY FAULT”.)

Monday brought the Scilly back to Penzance race – and brought the wind, and the rain. It was a murky beat close-hauled and double-reefed away from the Scillies – Malcolm called a tack towards the south as the fleet disappeared north so we made our lonely way towards Wolf Rock. It turned out to be a great tactic as we made good time… Now, Wolf rock is the only obstruction in this entire stretch of the Atlantic – so it was a bit of a shock to hear yells of ‘starboard’ as we rounded the lighthouse close to three other yachts, two of whom seemed to have markedly suicidal tendencies as they played chicken with each other and the rocks. This time it only took us 7 hours to race back to Penzance bay – as opposed to the 16-odd hours it took going the other way…

We headed back to the fishy smells of Newlyn Map– where two of our crew, Rob and Antonia, sadly left us. On the Tuesday the remaining 4 of us took the boat back to Falmouth. We went screaming round the LizardMap, - this time we all held onto our lunches (!) and surfed towards Falmouth with just a reefed Genoa flying. It often took two of us to hold the tiller in the exciting conditions. The wind, a strong F6/7, was welcome…. unlike the rain, - Coming into FalmouthMap it was torrential, so it was soggy crew who put the boat to bed in the marina.

It was a great trip, really enjoyable, and lots of fun – even if some of us were a little bit bossy at times (sorry Malcolm.) Special mentions must also go to Antonia – really superb on the helm, Jon - the human gybe preventer, Nick - the only man brave enough to try to drive the dinghy and give me a break, laid-back Rob who kept us all relaxed and full of tea, and of course Malcolm our very democratic skipper…

Secretary’s note: For the “Round St Mary’s” race on Sunday, “Chantan II” was placed 21st, and for the return race from St Mary’s to Penzance, 14th, out of 32 competitors.

Falmouth  50.1528,-5.0623
Lizard  49.9502,-5.2006
St Michael’s Mount  50.1213,-5.4777
Newlyn  50.1033,-5.545
St Mary's  49.9183,-6.315
St Agnes  49.8957,-6.3385
Tresco, Scillies  49.9585,-6.347
Newlyn  50.1033,-5.545
Lizard  49.9502,-5.2006
Falmouth  50.1528,-5.0623