Race Report Myth of Malham
Skippers: Kate Cope / Claire Dresser
Wed 8 Jun 2022 10:09
Race Report Myth of Malham 2022
Sorry that it’s taken months to post about the race, life has got incredibly busy since I’ve retired and I keep running out of time.
Myth of Malham holds a special place in my heart as the 2016 race was my first ever offshore race and at that time you could still count inshore races on one hand. Back in 2016 Purple Mist was much more of a sun lounger than a sun fast . We came last on the water but did beat 2 boats on handicap including Artemis Offshore racing ( potentially with Conrad aboard!) and all the boats that retired. Winds were calm and we had to kedge in Weymouth bay with a small fisherman’s anchor from my Dads 16’ dinghy. This anchor stuck so fast it was never recovered but it did save us 10-15NM of going the wrong way on the tide.
Since then I’ve done Myth just twice more. 2017 was a Fastnet qualifier that we did retire from after we were totally becalmed in Lyme Bay, the crew started to mutiny after we had been in the pouring rains for 5hrs going nowhere…seems they needed to get back for work. 2022 was a more successful race with Matt.
Prior to the race we had done quite of a lot of preparation. It’s taking longer and longer to get Purple mist ready for a race as we optimise more and more for every race - the rig settings, change Battens in the main, clean the hull and rudders and ensure gadgets like the load cell are working. We had done work on the weather and routing topped up by the DHOS weather brief with Simon Rowell. The forecast was for more wind offshore and potential for very calm patches in Lyme Bay.
The wind was South East so it was a Spinnaker start with the big S2. My start was pretty perfect, first over the line and in the max tide off Cowes and Egypt point. There was a heart stopping moment when the race committee fired a second gun meaning a boat was over the line..given I was first it might be me..but I was pretty sure I wasn’t so I carried on. The race team quickly called the line clear , I think a boat from another class was warming up.
The only problem was the S2 got a bit tangled on the hoist and formed a wine glass. Conrad knew just what to do and pretty much single handed shook it out whilst I avoided boats. RORC TV caught pretty much every moment of our tangle but as Ian Walker said it was still a great start despite the tangle, we were in a great position to lead the pack down the Solent. Wee bear was close and overhauled us for a short whilst but we soon got back the lead and stayed ahead right down the Solent to Hurst.
Just before Hurst there was a big black shadow bearing down on us , it was the new boat Ran looking splendid. I waved across at Henry Bomby aboard as they came hurtling past.
At Hurst the wind strengthened and came forward making holding the spinnaker pretty impossible. We switched to the J2 Jib , others tried to hold the kites and there was some impressive broaches but in the end Purple Mist was still faster.
As we exited the Needles we still had plenty of wind so we followed the Rhumb line as we were on track to make it round Portland on the favourable tide . The routing said go south, the fleet were spreading to the South but we decided as we had wind to try and take the shortest route. Others had the same idea and were following us . The advantage of the Rhumb line is Overall result always look favourable , at 17:00 we were leading IRC overall having just got ahead of InoXXX on handicap the eventual overall winner .
The trip across Lyme bay was marvellous, spinnaker was flying , Jangada was not catching us but the wind was starting to run out. We fell into a light patch and although we hit the tide perfectly at Start point we had been overtaken by the pesky SF3300s and Bigfoot who had gone south and got more wind.
Coming into Eddystone we were playing catch up. Bigfoot made a very wide approach and we snuck through very close to the rocks taking a big chunk out of there lead on us. I was reminded afterwards the reason it’s called Eddystone is there is a big back Eddy that pushes you into the rocks …luckily we didn’t find that.
Anyway quick switch to the Jib and it’s now back upwind for the trip home. Everyone was following the Rhumb line , though there was a big light wind hole forecast , so we followed along. We overtook Bigfoot and had Jangada insight (who somehow managed to slip past) just as we were eating some delicious bacon sandwiches . I asked myself is it mean to waft bacon smell in the direction of boats that only have jet boils so can’t make bacon sandwiches? Anyway as Jangada switched jibs we came past them.
As we fought back upwind the same dilemma, this time I thought I won’t make the same mistake and stayed offshore . We your phone beeps welcome to France you know you are well offshore.
Jangada was with us (still behind !) and there was a lovely moment when the whole fleet North of us were in a massive wind hole or going backwards on the tide and Jangy and PM were still moving well just North of the Casquets TSS. We had been hopping from cloud to cloud chasing the wind. I started dreaming of us both sailing round the whole fleet. It could be a Jangy Purple Mist 1 2 …I was even content with second!
However it was not to be , the wind filled for everyone and we had a long way to get back up to the Rhumb Line.
By now it was dark so finding the clouds and wind was more tricky. There were big black clouds that sucked up all the wind leaving you both stranded and being rained on heavily. Despite checking all the boat speeds around me (single handed) I managed to sail into one of these.
Anyway we climbed back up to St Albans ledge and positioned ourselves to get maximum tide round the Isle of Purbeck.
The last few hours of the race were the most disappointing, whilst most of the faster boats had finished the wind strength went up to 20-24kts and kicked up a choppy sea. We needed to put in reefs , watch out for others in the pitch black no moon and I found it hard to stay focussed on speed. I think this is where we and the other IRC3 boats slide down the Doublehanded rankings . The add insult to injury the tide started to turn against us as well.
We finally finished at 3:30am which is the fastest I’ve done this race and I was glad to be over the line. However the gruelling part was yet to come. We had to fight our way back against the tide up the Solent for 5 hrs , with strong wind and tide on the nose even with the engine we struggled to make progress . The only joy on this leg was to watch back RORC TV and realise that Purple Mist was very much star of the show on the IRC3/4 start.
Final result was 6th/17 in IRC3, 19/31 in RORC 2h, 33/67 in IRC Overall and 17/25 in DHOS.
The best results at the moment are the RORC series points where we are 3rd/59 in 2H and 4th/ 40 in IRC3 , prior to this race we did get our first ever mention in RORC warm up media.