Well – this is going to be a slight break from my usual tradition of writing my own posts… below is a slightly edited version from an email report by one of the owners of Talaris…
“After a week of glorious sunshine and light winds the weather was due for a change, and it did! The delivery trip from Conwy to Holyhead was easy enough, motoring all the way. Holyhead Sailing Club were well set up with food in the bar as well as the first pint of Guinness for the comparison test. Picked up the tracker and then back to the boat with to sort out some last minute glitches. (Including sending someone up the mast!).
The course was set to leave Holyhead, round M2 weather buoy to port and then into Dun Laoghaire via south Burford. Essentially a flat inverted V with M2 to the North.
The weather forecast predicted SW winds backing to the S in the afternoon and with speeds rising from the late teens to mid twenties.
Because of the wind direction the start wasn’t a conventional upwind on starboard affair. M2 was going to be a close reach on port tack. Fortunately all of the 32 boats at the line went for a port tack start so there was no start line chaos. Keith helmed the start and for the first leg. North going tide pushed us well North and rather than pinching we went for boat speed in the expectation of the afternoon south going tide pushing us back towards Dun Laoghaire. Having started with full sails we were soon feeling over powered and so commenced the first of many reefing operations.
As advertised, the wind continued to pick up through the day and also created an uncomfortable sea for us to slam into at every opportunity. It wasn’t a day for a pleasant, gentle sail. One report described it as ‘brutal’ and I think I would agree with that. Even though we had prepared, in advance, sandwiches they were untouched at the finish and the sum total of food consumed amounted to a couple of snickers bars. It was that sort of day.
Back to the race. We had a tussle with Obsession, a Sigma 33, finally overtaking them at around 1030. We passed M2 at 14:20 and continued on port tack down towards South Burford. The recipe didn’t change. Increasing winds, now averaging 27 kts, bigger seas and plenty of solid water over the side to make sitting on the rail a less than comfortable experience. One lifejacket inflated as a direct result of one such wave. We reached South Burford at 1800 and crossed the line at Dun Laoghaire at 1833.
A quick summary of the race would be wet and brutal, manoeuvre of the day was reefing. Tacking performance and spinnaker practice irrelevant.
Return passage from Dun Laoghaire the next day was a bit easier. Winds were still up there but the waves were more on the quarter so it was nowhere near as wet and we also managed to eat. Arrival back into Conwy was around 0100.
Further thoughts: Dun Laoghaire Guinness was found to be better from the National Yacht Club than at Holyhead Sailing Club; how can you have a wine licence but not one for beer? Have the starter portion of Nachos from Cabana Kitchen as a main (or share it with the whole crew); is it really a spinnaker broach unless the side of the cockpit is underwater? The planned cream tea with home made scones didn’t quite work out due to 28 kts winds and 3m waves at teatime.
Thanks to an extremely resilient crew for getting us there and back again.