Tales from the 2015 Bluewater Regatta

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Fri 11 Sep 2015 07:56

Tales from the 2015 Bluewater Regatta in Lagos......


As posted earlier, we were on “Scarlet”, owned by Lyn and David (and their dog Maisie), for the 2015 Bluewater Regatta last weekend as crew and were joined by their friends who flew in from the UK for the event, Russ & Jeannette, and also by Melwyn and Brian (and their dog Jazz), who live on their boat, “Manatee of Hamble”, here in Lagos. So 8 crew and 2 dogs and we all have the T-Shirts............ well, “Jazz” and “Maisie” don’t ........yet!


The regatta was 5 races over three days with 24 boats participating, ranging from a 56 foot Oyster to small Cork 1720’s, from small ketches to X Yachts, from Elans to MG’s and Dehlers and Beneteau’s and Jeaneau’s and a couple of “one off’s” – quite a spread of designs, sizes and numbers of crew – from double handed to over 15 souls on some, though quite what everyone was doing is another question. Day one was the windiest with gusts of 26knots and we saw boat speeds of over 10knots on a regular basis – an exhilarating and reefed down experience to be sure!! We had a short(ish) triangle first race followed by a second, longer race around the fish farm off the Piedade, then on to the wrecks off Portimao and back to Lagos, but it was a long, long day, after a delayed start (and we were out early as well), so we didn’t get back to the marina until nearly 7pm. We (as in all the racing crews and invited guests) didn’t drink enough at the Heineken bar afterwards apparently – well, that was what the skippers were told the following morning at their briefing, and it’s not often you hear that. It must be said that the bar opened without a cork-screw to be found; somewhat surreal.


Scarlet is a Beneteau 45 with in-mast furling and is a live-aboard boat so is a great deal heavier than the racing handicap would have suggested, but to strip her down and remove weight would have meant Lyn and David throwing almost everything off the boat – so we and they didn’t, and we simply sailed her as best we could and enjoyed ourselves at the same time, with several folks taking turns driving the boat. Light winds were never going to be good for her in terms of a racing performance. However the sandwiches were lovely, biscuits were wonderful and the tea and coffee produced regularly was ace. Thank you Lyn.


Day two saw two races, both triangle courses in very, very light winds off Lagos where boat speeds were as low as 0 but improved to about 5knots maximum. Not brilliant conditions for Scarlet, but we persevered and managed to finish both races. We had an appointment at the Garden Restaurant for a birthday celebration which meant we couldn’t ensure the bar was totally dry by the time we left, but we didn’t hear of many complaints at the following days skippers briefing!


Day three saw light winds yet again until late in the afternoon when the wind picked up from the west and we had a good sail back to the finish line – the course was Lagos entrance to the fish farm, on to the wrecks and back to the Lagos, again. There was a procession of all 24 yachts from the Marina before the race which meant the bridge was open for a long, long time – this caused some degree of chaos as folks wanted to get to the station and the marina bars, the tourists were a bit perplexed as to what was going on, and the tripper boats were trying to get in and out as well, as it seems no one had told them what was going to happen! – all good fun really and it probably looked really good to folks on shore walking up and down the Avenida, though the Marina staff in the office may have thought otherwise! The film should be interesting!


We had an excellent, though very close start – several boats were very, very close, but we had a great line to Piedade and then on to the fish farm. Light winds meant a choice between a Code 0 and an Asymmetric – both could have worked but we plumped for the Code 0 as it allowed us to sail a more direct downwind course. It was a long, long course and we had some 5 hours to complete it, but finish we did and within the allotted time. This time there was no afternoon bar to look forward to but instead an evening dinner and prize giving at the local Dunas Resort on the Meia Praia beach, about 20 minutes walk from the marina – and very good it was too – not sure if everything was drunk, but plenty of folks were have a good go at seeing if they could!


The regatta was a fun event so while there were quite a few observed racing infringements (missing marks, sailing in the fish farm, not doing penalty turns for hitting marks, collisions and not undertaking penalties, sailing outside the sailing area, the race committee heading off to the bar during the races – yes, we know all about it, and who you are, and where you went, etc.) the event was held in a positive fun spirit with lots and lots of folks of all ages enjoying themselves – there were also a few water bombing incidents, well done kids!


Scarlet came 15th out of 24 boats and 3rd in the Cruising Class – we were absolutely delighted for David and Lyn and they have a lump of glass to show for it (and a sore head or two) – we had a bottle of bubbly to celebrate. It was a fantastic result. We had several really good starts and the crew, we felt, sailed her pretty well. Seba and Joanna filmed the evening event and a good deal of the racing for Bluewater Algarve and we are all looking forward to seeing the results – given Scarlet is scarlet in colour, with her name written large, in white, she stands out as you can imagine.


The Regatta’ Racing Class winner, and a popular win as well, was Rob from R U Sailing and his X-35, “Firefly”. The 4 Cork 1720’s, sailed by youngsters from the local sailing club, did really, really well and it was great to see such a range of folks, young, crotchety and ourselves, enjoying the weekend. Our combined age on Scarlet was over 500 years - brilliant.


We were privileged to have been asked to sail on Scarlet and we thoroughly enjoyed the and to get a 3rd in the Cruising Class was icing on the cake for us all, and particularly for David and Lyn, who we thank enormously. Those who came first in the Cruising Class, wittily, suggested we take some sailing lessons from them – the swimming pool never looked so inviting, and Vic, you were nearly in there! Cheek.


All in all, a really enjoyable, though physically challenging 3 day regatta – we both have more than a few creaking muscles and bones! There will be quite a few sore heads out there as well after the evening event where wine, and more wine, and yet more wine, and then some more wine, flowed copiously ...... they were still pouring when we left, well after midnight; where it all came from we can only speculate. The food was good and the deserts were highly praised, so well done Dunas Resort and Bluewater Algarve, and we are looking forward to seeing Seba and Joanna’s film of the whole event.


More, though probably less wine, in due course.


P.S. We beat an Oyster 56, “Fizz”, sailed by the Chairman of Bluewater Algarve – hee hee!


Sorry............ ;-)

Now recovering...........ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Where’s the corkscrew by the way?