Yachting Monthly Triangle Race: leg 3 - Treguier to Torquay
Welcome back for the third and final installment of the triangle story.
|why did Barbie blush? Because the sea weed.|
I’m back, it’s Beach Barbie reporting on behalf of Boogie Nights skippers Jayne and Hazel.
We all had a delightfully merry time in Treguier, France.
Well, I say all, they did, not me. I didn't get so much as a sip.
Those Brittanny folks treated us so well. Except for the French man who came and leant on me not realising I was even there, spinning me round on my cable tie, I was facing port for some time and I felt slightly queasy until Jayne came and set me straight again.
When we arrived it was chill-out time. I let my hair dry in the sun, Jayne had a snooze on deck, Hazel had a snooze in her cabin.
But soon it was back to competitions with a rowing race. Two teams up against each other, knock out style, with the winner through to the next round.
Jayne had high hopes for this as she was in the final of the last triangle race rowing competition.
However it wasn’t to be, as although they were through to the row-offs, one of the boats broke a rowlock, meaning it was then done as a time trial, a race of truth, to decide which was the faster crew, rather than any real combat taking place which would have really separated the wheat from the chaff.
Next was the race briefing with drinks and canapés courtesy of Treguier yacht club.
Jayne in her infinite wisdom having baked a chocolate and Guinness cake on passage to France, much to the bemusement of the other competitors, then bribed the club president, who in turn presented both Hazel and Jayne with hand painted mugs with the club burgee and 2014 triangle race, Treguier painted on the bottom. The various Treguier club members who sampled the cake all seemed to be slightly disappointed it didn’t contain “le sheet” or “le bon sheet” or cannibals raisins. I am not sure what any of this is. I think they were hoping for some sort of extra ingredient.
|Jayne - she's no mug you know, a small "u"added to the burgee will make this mug truly personal|
Next there was a picnic in the park laid on by Treguier yacht club, which by all accounts was lovely, the two skippers said it was splendid, one enjoying the easily drinkable wine, the other, the roast hog. Indeed seconds were had of both items respectively.
|team Nazca II, team Katisha, team Deydreamer and team Boogie Nights with half of team Free Spirit out of sight behind|
|French pig. A Brittanny speciality.|
Sadly no doggy bag for me. Negotiating the steep ramp back to the pontoon was apparently like walking off a cliff face. I say get your stilettoes out ladies, they’re like street-style crampons. Hook them in the gaps between slats. #practicalbarbie
|beware returning after a few drinks, as we are level with the tops of the masts. |
You way wish for a zip wire and a large crash mat at the bottom.
Earlier in the day when Jayne had furnished the team, “Don’t mention the war” (the team comprised of a French boat, Ninjod, a British boat, Katisha [bless you] and a German boat, Boogie Nights) with slices of cake, she was rewarded with a return gift of two beef and potato hotpot freeze dried expedition food pouches from Mr B of Ninjod. These were to be sampled on the return leg back to Torquay.
There was the customary parade through the town on Tuesday night, where the crews follow the towns traditional pipers and drummers up to the Cathedral cloisters where yet another buffet of wines and canapés were served. Everyone noted that one tune sounded very much like the next tune, but the towns folk seemed to be enjoying themselves. I could still hear them from the bows of Boogie Nights even when they were at the top of the hill in town.
On Wednesday morning, the triangle crews did some final provisioning at the towns market which is held every week and as afternoon approached the bon hommie and peace of Treguier was left behind, the crews slipped their lines for one final leg and a dash back to Torquay.
Motoring in procession down the river to the start line, there was a hefty tide running against everyone and time was quite tight for the start.
As the figure head of this Dehler 36 I take my job very seriously.
I see all before us and attempt to guide both vessel and souls aboard on a safe passage.
"What nobody told me to look out for though was the French blanket weed. Zut Alors!"
We hit a big patch and it almost stalled the engine. We went from bashing the flood tide at 3.5 knots, down to 1 knot. The binnacle was shaking. The back end of the boat was shaking.
Jayne spun the boat around, confusing the parade of boats behind, and started to reverse into the flood tide to clear the propeller.
As we spun back to face the right way, the vibration was gone and the boat speed picked up. Jayne gave it some extra throttle just to make sure we got to the start line on time and then handed over to Hazel so each could do their usual respective jobs of pulling lines/winching and positioning for race start.
After Jayne whinging about being knackered before the race start last time with too much tacking around with the large genoa up, the pair opted for a late unfurling just a minute or so before the starting gun.
This worked nicely as Jayne was able to pull out just enough and set it for the start and Hazel positioned the boat well for the line using just the main sail.
But then as the gun sounded and everyone headed across the line it was immediately apparent that something was wrong.
Why were all of the other boats doing 7-8 knots and Boogie Nights only 4?
Oh la la. A mass of weed on the keel. La vache!
Suddenly from being up in the mix, we found ourselves scrabbling around at the back, being overtaken by a Contessa 32, Katisha [bless you] and all the other usual slower class 3 boats.
Jayne hung over the side to try and spot anything under the water but could see nothing. Not because nothing was there, but the water was too turbulent.
Hazel steered the boat around the first set of marks and the gap grew and grew between Boogie Nights and the rest of the fleet.
As the final mark, the Bas Crublent, approached before the turn for the drag race back to Blighty, Jayne asked how long before the mark.
“1 minute” said Hazel.
“Perfect, time to get my camera out then!” Jayne replied.
“No! No time for that!” Hazel sternly replied, focusing on the mark just a short distance ahead.
“There’s always time for a quick one two! I'll just be a second, no, two seconds” Jayne exclaimed, dashing below to fetch her camera that was tucked away behind a lee-cloth.
|Katisha, a Contessa 32 that has completed the triangle race several times. Owned by James and co-skippered by Phil.|
Boogie Nights was well healed and Katisha [bless you] was right by us. It’s not often this classic back marker gets any photographic attention. There was just enough time for four shots before Jayne had to dash below, return the camera to a safe place and jump straight on the winches, calling water on a very cheeky Charm of Rhu, classic old wooden boat that decided to cut us up just on the mark.
I was itching to show him my #chucknorrisBarbie moves. He was so close I could have almost stepped aboard for a quiet word in the skippers ear with my pink Barbie nunchucks, had my cable tie not held me fast.
I was shouting at him “we’re havin’ T-bone toniiiight!” in my best Texan accent, as he cut us up a second time when we rounded the mark. I was ready to kick some planks.
Then I heard Jayne shout something about the anchor, I have no idea why she would want to anchor at that point. With hindsight I'm suspecting she didn't want to anchor at all.
Anyway, suddenly lady fortune shone from under us as the very same waves that battered my head and threatened to severe one of my arms also battered the weed from the keel.
Hazel noted a sudden speed increase from barely making 5 knots to just over 7 and we started to fly.
Unfortunately it was too little too late to catch the rest of the fleet who were now triangles on the horizon taking part in a flat out drag race north. The seas rolling in from the east were short and lumpy. A real test of helming skills to keep the boat pointing the right way. A real test of stomach keeping skills it would seem for Hazel too.
The two skippers food plan for the evening went completely awry as Hazel succumbed to mal de mer. The cup-a-noodle Jayne had expertly followed the instructions on and prepared for Hazel didn’t take long before they were being worn by the roller furling line.
I heard Jayne note the furling lines new texture as she had to haul on it to reef the Genoa. Indeed, she was rather quicker than normal to get that job over with.
“Slippery and slightly warm” she said.
The whole night was hand steered through the nadgery seas, vexed by the long pointy wooden boat that refused for hours and hours to move to its rightful place behind us and the other class 3 boats that somehow just wouldn’t reel in no matter how hard my two skippers tried.
90 miles and just over 13 exhausting hours later we crossed the finishing co-ordinates near Torquay.
Jayne counted down the latitude and longitude until their mark, while Hazel worked the helm in a fog of tiredness and post mal de mer fatigue. We finished at 0617 in the morning.
Motoring into Torquay town quay, Boogie Nights was quickly moored alongside Deydreamer, the other Dehler 36 skippered by Clair Reed and Luke Lazell. They finished just 17 minutes ahead.
|Deydreamer and Boogie Nights, two Essex boats side by side|
The Boogie Nights pair quickly tidied the sails away and made a few motions to tidy a few other things before catching up on sleep.
As Hazel scooped the other half of her unexpectedly rejected cup-a-noodle out of the kitchen sink strainer, Jayne, slightly delirious with fatigue and from too many energy drinks, ginger nut biscuits and wine gums, leaned in from the cockpit,
“hey, Hazel, guess what?”
Hazel looked over at Jayne in the entrance to the companionway with a frown, seeing Jaynes' silly grin “what?”
“we’ve completed the triangle race! It’s chuffing done! How about that then?” Jayne said with a little too much enthusiasm for that time of day.
“yeah, I’ll think about that once I’ve had a sleep. I’m going to bed”
As you may know, Beach Barbie also known as #beargrylsbarbie and #chucknorrisbarbie is the figure head of Boogie Nights.
Some may scoff at the premise of having a figure head in a modern world.
But scoff ye not.
She’s a highly accomplished and useful piece of the machine.
Here Jayne takes us through various other uses for a Barbie, because when the chips are down, sometimes what you need is a creative mind and a sense of humour.
Anti creaking and fair lead.
When you want to stop chafe from ropes?
When your brand new Selden gas strut vang collapses and the boom goes crashing down, what you need is support.
If you lose a winch handle over the side?
When the belt breaks on the autopilot or you just need another pair of hands on helm?
Need some help tweaking the mainsheet?
Lost your fancy brass dividers in an unfortunate incident with a giant sea squid?
What we ate on passage
Beef rendang and rice , cooked/preprepared by Hazel at home, expertly heated by Jayne
Chicken tagine and couscous, cooked/preprepared by Hazel at home, expertly heated by Jayne
Chicken fried rice, cooked/preprepared by Hazel at home, expertly heated by Jayne
Veal in port and stilton with vegetables, cooked/preprepared by Hazel at home, expertly heated by Jayne
Venison casserole, Stowaways food, expertly heated by Jayne
Coq au vin, Stowawaysfood, expertly heated by Jayne
Honey and mustard pork chops and potato gratin, cunningly provisioned by Hazel in Ireland, expertly heated by Jayne
Breaded chicken with mash and baked beans, expertly cooked/warmed up by Jayne
Maltesers, inhaled by Jayne. Hazel didn’t get a look in.
Wine gums, quietly saw Jayne through each night watch.
Ginger nut biscuits, quietly saw Hazel through each night watch
Cupasoup, a welcome warmer for Hazel on night watch
Rocky bars, brought up to the cockpit at each watch changeover and shared.
Lots of crisps, brought up to the cockpit at each watch changeover and shared.
In port we ate mostly on the boat and most of this was cooked by Hazel as Jayne generally had her head in the clouds and would forget to eat otherwise.
And so the final credits
Beach Barbie for expertly guiding Boogie Nights through its first Triangle Race.
To Yoda for his all seeing aft facing eye and wise words
To Marilyn aka Sugar Kane for always smiling whatever the sea or wind conditions
To the silly sausage for padding out the lee bunk
To the charity knitted donkey for providing amusement and comfort to one half of the Resolute (maxi 1000) crew.
To Obi Wan for feeling the force
And to Sully for his scary feet scary feet scary feet.
And to the real humans, Terry Kinch, Rick Bothamly, Ian Gray of Lonton and Gray sails, Chris and Christine Toyne of Mintdale Engineering who all helped pull the boat together in time for the start and without whom none of this would have been possible.