Weather conditions may have been grey, but there was a colourful start to the Pendennis Cup which runs all week - Editor David Glenn was there

A grey and wet start to the Pendennis Cup in Falmouth certainly didn’t dampen the spirits or enthusiasm on the start line of the first race which produced no fewer than four protest flags.

As the picture shows, the 25.9m (85ft) Bermudan ketch Velacarina got herself into a spot of bother at right hand end of the line which resulted in her hitting the mark. The gaff cutter Mariquita, the leeward yacht at the other end of the fleet was holding her ground and calling Adela who in turn was getting close to Mariette who was keeping an eye on Velacarina. The latter was toast at the gun.

I was observing from the frighteningly fast Pendennis tender Buzzard, which with 450hp bolted to the transom was able to get round the fleet at 30 knots. But you needed a good navigator because by the weather mark the holiday weather had closed in and the fleet disappeared behind a blanket of cloud and rain.

For the gorgeous S&S designed ketch Tomahawk racing came to a premature end on day one when she carried away the top of her main mast shortly before rounding the first mark, leaving the beautiful 8 Metre Pinuccia to complete the course alone. Having a shipyard as your host and sponsor isn’t a bad idea – Tomahawk motored straight into Pendennis Shipyard’s covered dock and had her rig plucked out within the hour. The intention is to having her sailing again by Thursday, if not before.

Subject to protest Adela, who had an about a 30-minute lead over Mariquita on the water, won the opening race on handicap and there was a tussle for second between Mariette and Mariquita.

This small but high quality fleet is nestling in Falmouth Marina in the shadow of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall who, as one of the event sponsors, have cleverly arranged an exhibition room as the race management head quarters. Skippers are briefed in the morning and then the public have access to the room where some of the sponsors including Southern Spars, Burgess, Lewmar, the yacht riggers THL and MedAire, the Port of Falmouth Sailing Association and The Royal Cornwall Yacht have displays. Neat move.

There are also some exceptional paintings and photographs on display by Alexander Creswell and Den Philips respectively, which alone are well worth viewing. Running in conjunction with the regattas is an exhibition at the Falmouth Art Gallery entitled Full Sail, celebrating The Pendennis Cup. Creswell’s work can be seen alongside that of Jamie Medlin and Philippe Gavin. The exhibition is open on 28 August, 10-5, Monday to Saturday.

The Pendennis Cup is running alongside Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week which with more than 400 boats racing is a spectacle in itself. Pendennis are also using the week as a dry run for their 2012 event which could attract a large number of yachts during London 2012 Olympic year. The J Class will also be in town with their own regatta. Racing this week is being run by the Port of Falmouth Sailing Association.

Racing resumes tomorrow and continues through to the week end with a lay day on Wednesday. Well worth a watch if you’re down that way…