On Saturday 28 August 2010, Parkstone Yacht Club held its annual Open Meeting for Albacores. 

The Mini Series was sailed from Parkstone Yacht Club over three days starting with the first race on Saturday 28th of August and further races on Sunday and bank holiday Monday – three races in all with two to count.

For anyone who has not had the pleasure of sailing from Parkstone it is a good mix of racing with wind and tide to consider coupled with hunting for needles in a proverbial haystack (trying to locate the correct buoy to round) - does anybody know how many buoys there actually are in Poole harbour? Then there are the random hazards like ‘Condor’ and Britanny Ferries, deep water channels and shallows and even a chain ferry at the entrance. In fairness all is well regimented and each crew is furnished with course sheets including a harbour map and pictures of buoys. If all else fails then follow Trevor!

Albacores at Poole Week.Six boats lined up for the start on Saturday with the wind blowing 12 to 13 knots and gusting 15. Three local boats - Johnny Herbert helming Shady Nook and crewed by his wife Anita, Trevor Smith in Ozily Emiver with wife Ann in the front seat and Richard Gray crewed by John Philipo in The Wizzard. The visitors were Mike and Anne De St Paer from West Kirby sailing Egret, John Carlin also from West Kirby sailing Red Hot crewed by daughter Nicola and Andy Pearce from Hawley Lake helming Blue Streak which had been kindly loaned for the week by owner Chris Somner. Ian Simpson was as usual operating the bailers as well as getting used to a ‘new’ boat. There was a mix of constructors with one new Ovington, two Speed boats, a Bob Hoare locally built boat, a Woof and finally a fully restored Fairey to make up the six.

All six boats hugged the starting platform end of the line for the first race and with John Carlin almost leaving red paint on the structure they were all soon punching through the small chop up the long beat to the first windward mark just below the Poole ferry terminal. Richard Gray in The Wizzard took an early lead but was soon overtaken by Johnny Herbert with John Carlin and Trevor Smith in hot pursuit closely followed by Mike De St Paer and Andy Pearce in Blue Streak bringing up the rear. The second mark was a reach across to Rebbecks a mark on the Brownsea side of the channel and then a run back diagonally across the channel to a third mark lower down the harbour before a fourth mark and back through the platform line. Positions swapped around but after three laps of the course and nearly two and a half hours of energetic sailing the finishing order was Johnny Herbert in first, John Carlin in second, Richard Gray in third, Trevor Smith in fourth, Mike De St Paer in fifth and Andy Pearce in sixth. All sailed in to partake of Anne’s Albacore cake and a few pints at the bar.

Sunday was a more blustery day with winds around 15 knots and stronger gusts coming through at intervals. Only five boats were competing, Richard having opted for a ‘rest day’ – his day pass had expired. The fleet were also sailing as part of the handicap series as this was the first day of Poole Week. The mix of boats on the line included RS400s, Enterprises, a Laser11 and a Hawk. There were also many other boats in the start area as other classes were starting at 5 minute intervals including Wayfarers, RS200s, Moths, Shrimpers and Dolphins to name but a few. Andy and Ian took an early ducking with a broken tiller extension whilst leaving the yacht haven. A quick recovery and pit stop for a new tiller extension thanks to Chris Somner saw them starting a full five minutes late over the line! By the first mark located again up near the ferry terminal they were catching the tail-enders of the fleet. By this time Johnny Herbert was away in the lead duelling with a fast RS400 sailed by another local David Sparrow. Trevor, Mike and John had decided the conditions were a little too lively and headed back taking the early shower route! This left Johnny well out in the lead trailed by Andy. The course included three gybe marks and by the third lap the wind had increased considerably up to around 25 knots, some gusts reaching 28 knots at the platform and touching force 7 out in the harbour. Gybes were not an option and even rounding up was tricky. Three capsizes later, including one on the finish line saw Blue streak cross the line a long second to Shady Nook. The remaining albacores were recorded as DNF and only ten boats out of twenty completed the course.

Monday the third day of the series and the second day of Poole week saw blue skies and very light winds. Time to don the warm weather gear, some factor 30 and the sunnies! It was a day for conventional rigs and the Albacores and Enterprises did well and after many changes of position and lead the race was won by Trevor with Johnny in second (his discard!), Mike in third, John in fourth, Andy in fifth and Richard in sixth. After discards the final positions for the Mini Series were first Johnny Herbert, second Trevor Smith, third John Carlin, fourth Andy Pearce, fifth Mike De St Paer and sixth Richard Gray (this time crewed by volunteer Amanda Shakir)..

For those interested in Poole Week we were treated to a further four days of blue skies, sunshine and steady ten knot winds. Mike and Andy stayed on to compete against Johnny and Trevor making it four Albacores against the rest. Johnny was never placed lower than third and went on to win his 21st Poole Week. Trevor finished second equal but was relegated to third on count back by the fast RS400. Mike finished fourth and Andy fifth – a bit of a whitewash with four albs in the top five! Is that an Albacore-wash? The rest of the handicap fleet were more than aware of the ‘Albacores’ and more albacore cake and biscuits consumed and more pints (tea of course) partaken. Undoubtedly one of the best week’s sailing for years – and free Sunday swimming thrown in for yours truly

Andy Pearce
Blue Steak


Lots of pictures here: http://sailingscenes.co.uk/search.php?gid_search=238&search=albacore 


Overall Results:

1st John & Anita Herbert, 8130 (Parkstone YC)
2nd` Trevor & Anne Smith, 8000 (Parkstone YC)
3rd John & Nicola Carlin, 6814 (West Kirby SC)

After the Bank Holiday five boats had to go back to work or school. The remaining Albacores joined in Poole Week making up part of the Handicap Fleet. With lighter winds the Albacores’ main rivals were the RS400s. The result hinged on the last Friday race when the leader crossed the line with only seconds to spare.

Handicap Fleet Results:

1st Albacore 8130, John & Anita Herbert (Parkstone YC)
2nd RAS400 911, Dave & Sue Sparrow (Parkstone YC)
3rd Albacore 8000, Trevor & Anne Smith (Parkstone YC)
4th Albacore 8074, Mike & Anne De St Paer (West Kirby SC)


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