The second race of the Pendennis Cup saw Unfurled take first place and Adela second
As a first time racer,
Harriett Robinson heads onto 112ft
Unfurled for the Pendennis Cup.
Today I learnt the importance of physical speed and
strength. Two qualities I am rarely required to demonstrate in the office, but
on the foredeck of 112ft Unfurled, it is an absolute necessity. The reason?
Spinnakers. Let me tell you the
After the soaking wet day I had yesterday on Unfurled,
today’s race was positively balmy. The second day of racing at the Pendennis
Cup Falmouth took off to a great start this morning when the clouds and fog
finally gave way to reveal glorious Cornish sunshine and the ability to
actually see the coastline around us.
Following yesterdays win across the line (we came 3rd
on corrected time) I was feeling positive about the race ahead. I liked my
Lewmar winch, I knew what to look for when trimming, and I had been reassured
that despite the terrifying tilt at which a superyacht angles when on a tack, I
would not slide off the deck.
Armed with my new knowledge and confidence, I took my place
on the aft deck alongside the two trimmers and our safety officer, former Adela
captain Steve Carson.
The race began well, all accustomed to our roles we headed
out to the weather mark slowly picking off the rest of the fleet, until just
like yesterday, we were in the lead.
The drama came when we headed downwind. Equipped with our
900m squared spinnaker, Unfurled powered towards the leeward mark near Gull
After an exhilarating sail in the Cornish breeze it was time
to take the spinnaker down, we
were called onto the foredeck to assist the bow team with the “spinnaker drop”.
As the stewardess Zoe, chef Devvi and I held
open the corners of the sail bag, the rest of the bow team grappled and grabbed
at the spinnaker as it began to come down.
Once the halyard was released, metre and metres of sail
suddenly started dropping closer and closer to the water, and the seven-strong team
furiously grabbed at the spinnaker in a mixture of shouts and encouragement as
we battled to get the sail wrapped away before we reached the next mark and
start the upwind leg.
I don’t think I have ever felt so weak and clumsy in my
life. As first mate Martin pulled at the spinnaker with all the strength and
speed of an Olympic swimmer, I feebly pulled at the tough thick sail and
shoved it into corners of the bag hoping that the rest of the team would make
up for my inadequate contribution.
But it is these huge ballooning sails which makes racing so
beautiful for spectators. In bright colours and patterns ranging from brilliant
red of Athos to the vibrant orange of Velacarina, they pepper the sea with
colour and make yachts easily identifiable from a distance. If only they were not so exhausting to
Tomorrow is a lay-day, so I am going to get some rest,
finally dry out my kit and do some press-ups ready for Friday!