(Copied from the Impala 28 Message Board, 25 July 2003, where it was posted as ‘The truth about Bangor Week’.)
Since many of you probably know that Fly took part in this year’s Bangor Week (14–18 July) and there’s no way I can cover up her final placing (9th out of 9 in IRC3!), I thought I might as well try to talk myself out of it to the best of my ability here!
For a start, we launched criminally late (8 July) a couple of months later than normal, so the regatta was Fly’s first racing of the year. As if that wasn’t enough, I did my back in lifting off our comparitively innocuous looking spare diesel and water cans a few minutes before we set out for the first race, so I really wasn’t fit enough to drive the boat properly for most of the week. And, although the sun shone brightly, the breezes were fitful for the duration of the regatta, so being in the right place at the right time was even more important than usual. Since we were more often than not reduced to playing catch-up after starting badly because I didn’t feel fit enough to mix it, it would be stretching the truth to say that we were often in that elusive right place but, even when things did look better and we thought we were doing well, we didn’t have much luck with some horrendous wind shifts! The last race was the most disappointing of all because we not only lost fellow Impalas Bambi and Capsicum (who we’d been leading up the final beat) in the last few minutes of the race but also saw two other boats split us from them on corrected time...
For all that, it would be churlish not to congratulate Bambi and Capsicum on a race win apiece (they finished 5th and 7th respectively in a week that just wasn’t made for Impalas) and all our competitors including class winner Full Circle (a quarter-tonner like no other quarter-tonner I’ve ever seen) for doing better than us, so well done to all of them! Since Bangor Week also proved to be an extremely well-organised regatta with a splendid variety of round-the-buoys courses and tightly competitive racing (the winning score in our little class was 2, 5, 2, 3, 1, 4,
6, 3), we’ll doubtless be back in 2005 and looking to improve on our worst finish ever in an open event.
Finally, despite the disappointing results, we had two splendid sails out from Dunstaffnage to Bangor (119 miles logged in 21½ hours) and back from Bangor to Oban (114 miles logged in 18 hours), not touching the engine for most of the trip (between Easdale and Belfast Lough) in either direction. Most of a crew has now been arranged for West Highland Week (how I envy these boats that sail with one regular crew the whole time!), where we’d normally expect to do quite well, so hopefully there’ll be some more positive news about Fly’s season in a couple of week’s time!
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