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Our News and Notices

Eddystone Pursuit 2019

Medway - 23 Jul 19 General

Simon Mace who is the son of our branch captain, is the Operations Manager of Horizons Children's Sailing Charity, which provides opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people with special needs in the Plymouth area to learn to sail. Horizons are supported by Medway Branch. Simon and a t

Thank you to everyone who supported team Papagena (Simon Mace, Steve Mogford and Tony Jupin) for this year’s Eddystone Charity Pursuit. Papagena was part of a 3 boat team of Hawk 20 keelboats who were sailing in support of Horizons Childrens Sailing Charity which is based in Devonport, Plymouth.

After a week of horrendous weather Saturday turned out to be the best day of the week. We set out at 09:30 in damp cloudy conditions with a light breeze on the nose.
Once we got past Plymouth breakwater we sailed into a lovely sloppy sea which had be churned up over the previous few days.
Having made a reasonable start, we managed to stretch away from the rest of our Hawk 20 keelboats as we beat our way out towards the tiny speck of a lighthouse in the distance. It’s important to stress that this event is not a race but a pursuit, so let’s just say at this stage, I was the one being pursued by our 3 other Hawk 20’s.
Thanks to some methodical head scratching and guestimating (also known as passage planning by professional sailors) we managed to reach the Eddystone Lighthouse in 2 tacks and ahead of our team mates. The pressure was on for the return leg.
We rounded the lighthouse at about 12:30 and I was firmly in multi-tasking mode, trying very hard to steer a good course and keep an eye on my handheld chart plotter so I didn’t put us on the reef or the isolated North Rock. As it happened we rounded with a couple of larger yachts who were also taking part so we decided the easiest option was to follow them round. One of my crew is used to seeing the Eddystone from the bridge of a Frigate; so he quite was surprised by how close we got on the way round.

Steve and Tony (my long suffering crew) were now focused on both keeping their lunch inside them and getting the spinnaker up as quick as possible so we could settle in for the downwind corkscrew ride home.
The weather had improved and it was now a glorious day, the sun was out and we had a nice South-westerly sea breeze to push us home.
The return journey is always nerve racking, you’re focused on your course home, but conscious that everyone else is chasing you down.
It’s a spectacular sight when you look over your shoulder and see around 60 boats chasing you down with their big spinnakers up!
Horizons had 9 boats entered in the event and the event had around 70 entries in total. We had seen a few of our companions on the start but since then we had been out on our own so looking back towards the lighthouse and watching all the spinnakers gradually getting bigger certainly focused my mind on picking the quickest route back!
It was a great sail back in and we had the boat sailing well, averaging around 6 knots. As we entered Plymouth we were greeted by the photographer in one of Horizons ribs and they managed to get some great shots. We crossed the finish line at about 14:45 at the head of our fleet of Hawks.
All of our Hawks managed to complete the course, all within about 45 minutes of each other.
Prize giving started around 21:00 and it turned out to be a very successful vent for the Horizons fleet.
My Team of 3 Hawk 20’s came in third place in the team event, and I also won the Mayflower Marina prize for being the first boat back from our Marina. We also managed to place 7th overall.
The Horizons boats had an amazing event and all sailed well which produced a brilliant set of results:
1st Overall
3rd Overall
1st Team
3rd Team
Mayflower Marina Prize
First Ladies only crew
It was an brilliant team performance and as a combined effort the Horizons boats managed to raise around £13000 for the charity.
Thanks again for all your support and it’s never too late to donate!
Simon Mace
07824 096701

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