Competitiveness in Cascais

Tue 11 Sep 2012 19:02
On our first night in a busy anchorage we always sleep with half an ear open for a change in the wind or tide... if the boats are all anchored with the same length of chain, and have all the same windage (the air resistance of the boat, a function of how much sticks up out of the water), and all displace the same amount of water, then they will all turn together when the wind or tide changes, lying neatly alongside each other. However, those perfect circumstances of course don't occur, so we tend to pop our heads up the companionway from time to time, just to check the lie of the land, well the lie of the sea, and make sure we're not lying close to another boat.

However, we clearly were sleeping more heavily than we realised because when Phil popped up to check at about 3am he came down again, slightly bemused, with a note that he'd found on deck:

What had happened was that our friends Emma and Stuart had arrived in their Sadler 25 after midnight and seen us. Amidst much giggling and 'shush!!'-ing they had had managed to come alongside and throw the note on board. They'd seen our blog post showing the tuna Phil had caught and Stuart was very jealous as he had only managed to catch one garfish.. uggh!

Phil couldn't resist figuring out where they were anchored and, rowing the dinghy to keep quiet, he went over and pegged a return note on their guard rail "... and we thought you were going to Brazil not Aveiro!". They had left Portland after us, over-taken us whilst we were in the Spanish Rias, and then they got themselves holed up in a little marina in Aveiro for a few weeks and we'd leapfrogged past them.

It was great to see them again. They came and made use of our showering facilities and joined us for a meal in the evening, chattering about the places we'd both been to and hearing from them about places we'd skipped. 

I'm sure I've mentioned that we have a sailable inflatable dinghy, it's a Metzeler Juca S (named Calm Rhino), you can row it, use an outboard engine on it or sail it. 

Stuart and Emma also have a sailable inflatable, a Tinker Tramp (named Tinky Winky), so, predictably, the racing challenge was laid down.

Matthew provided the rescue boat, committee boat and press boat, all combined in the form of our other dinghy. He anchored off Amorosa, Emma and Stuart's boat, to provide the start line, used a fog horn to give a 2 minute warning and start the race, then zoomed around the course to check no one needed a penalty for hitting a mark, providing rescue cover if needed, taking the press photographs and then buzzing back to form the finish line. 

Tinky Winky's crew presented a very professional image: they appeared dressed in a crew uniform of black polo shirt, black headband, and matching shades. 

It was a fiercely battled start line, with calls of 'Drive them over the line!', 'Windward boat give way!' and other similar encouragements, 

the upshot of which was Calm Rhino, having timed her run to the line with perfection, blasting ahead as the fog horn sounded, 

whilst Tinky Winky struggled in irons to get past the start line. 

Stuart ( a rigger by profession, I should mention) blamed the rake of his mast, however I feel it had more to do with the water bombs Calm Rhino's crew were hiding on board and enthusiastically, though not accurately, deployed during the pre-start scramble.

Although Tinky Winky sailed well, gaining on Calm Rhino when she got stuck in a windless hole between some boats at one point, they didn't manage to make up for the time lost at the start and Calm Rhino was the eventual winner, after an hour long race.  

An interesting development was a late entry from a little folding dinghy: they'd spotted the race and quickly rigged their dinghy with it's sail to join in. They made an impressive downwind start, stealing Tinky Winky's wind, however once they rounded the next mark it seemed they were unable to make much progress up wind at all and Tinky Winky was able to claim her second place without threat.

The afternoon's entertainment culminated in tea and scones aboard Lochmarin, with everyone having had a thoroughly good time!