The crew aboard Patches have had an'epic day' says Shirley Robertson, who has been helming on board.

From the shore, everything appeared to have gone very smoothly for the crew aboardPatches. They finished first in class IRC 0, winning the Queen’s Cup, but earlier in the day, things were looking very different. After a great start and a really good first beat up to Yarmouth, everything started to go wrong, explains skipper Ian Walker.

“The main halyard broke and the mainsail fell down but the crew did a great job of fixing it. We managed to hold it on the spinnaker halyard and then we sent a man aloft. Jeremy Elliot, who is the Bowman, wrestled away at the top of the mast and we managed to fix it and get a spinnaker halyard down so that we could set a spinnaker on the next run.”

These problems did lose the crew a fair amount of time and at one point, there was even talk of retiring.

“We kind of lost all the lead that we’d built up over the similar boats but we were still in the race. We also had some winch problems: the mainsail winch wasn’t working before the start and then one of our primary winches broke on that first run – so we were down to one working winch on the boat. But we hung in there and then had a long run and the boat went really well downwind and we managed to get enough time over that last run and up the last beat to win.”

Patches’crew coped exceptionally well with the difficult conditions, especially since eight of the 14 crew are amateurs and three of those had never sailed on the boat at all before today. In fact none of the crew has had much time to get used to this brand new TP52 since it was only launched for the first time in June this year.

“I’d promised them a nice gentle introduction and that we’d take lots of time on every manoeuvre, but in actual fact we just had one problem after another so we ended up spending most of the time screaming at each other!” Says Ian.

Stay tuned to see ifPatchescan hang on to her lead throughout the week -with today’s great conditions the rest of the fleet aren’t far behind.