Britannia Cup - 2015

Posted: Tuesday, 25th August 2015

Report by Cathy Brown on Brave:  The annual Britannia Trophy race, from Felixstowe to Lowestoft is always an enjoyable affair. The course might look fairly linear on paper, following the coastline all the way, but it’s very scenic, and there’s plenty of tactical interest, too.

In many years, the prevailing summer south westerlies make this a spinnaker run from start to finish, but this time the wind was from the north west, and the three class one boats charged away from the line fetching under code zeros. With the tide still flooding, they soon opened up a big gap on the rest of the fleet, and on each other, Richard and Cathy Brown’s Brave a long way in the lead - until Orfordness.

Having hugged the shore to stay out of the tide, as far as possible, actually rounding Orfordness involved a big bear away, and Iain Kirkpatrick and his well-drilled team on Fatjax launched a big spinnaker, while Brave made the mistake of changing from code zero to plain sail, anticipating coming closer on the wind after rounding the headland.

The lighthouse was passed with Fatjax more or less in Brave’s cockpit. But their spinnaker came down and the code zero went back up, Brave hurriedly replaced her code zero, and began to pull away again.

Behind them, the five class three boats were also having some very close fought battles, and again, it was sharp sail changes that proved decisive.

It seemed to take forever before the tide finally turned fair, speeding the fleet towards Lowestoft on a beautiful afternoon with great visibility which meant the end was tantalisingly in sight for the last ten miles or so.

But a fluky breeze meant the last part of the race was anything but plain sailing. It was swinging through about thirty degrees, and varying in strength between 10 and 15 knots. One minute you were comfortably laying the course under code zero, the next you were debating peeling to plain sail as it seemed to be time for a tack.

Eventually the decision made itself - all the downwind sails disappeared and nobody escaped without a tack or two. Brave just kept her nose in front, managing to lay the Lowestoft entrance channel in one, while Fatjax had to tack for one of the channel buoys, dropping her most of a minute behind at the finish line. She still won comfortably on corrected time.

The Fuller family’s Elan 33 Bule Gila took second place, as well as winning class three, and Brave had to be content with line honours and third overall.

An excellent supper in the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk YC rounded off a very enjoyable day.

And then on Sunday we all motored home in no wind!

 

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