Blackwater Barge Match Raced With Skill In Light Airs

Richard Writes: A crew from Maldon Little Ship Club spent their Friday practising and their Saturday coaxing Cambria into third place overall and second in the bowsprit class.

The day started almost calm with many craft exhibiting complex and innovative methods of keeping above the start line with anchors over the stern. Others used seamanlike techniques as with Reminder which dropped her main anchor to avoid going between the limit mark and the committee boat.
As so often, the amazing Cambria astonished us by achieving a clean but late start, never quite losing steerage way but needing the headsails to be dropped to wind. The breeze filled in soon after and there followed a long turn to the Bench Head. By the time Bradwell was reached the Niagara and Edme were well out in front of the pack and Cambria was sedately bringing up the rear although a long tack along the south shore in St Lawrence Bay seemed to be paying off. The breeze steadied somewhat after that and careful use of the best run of the tide brought her to the buoy on Mirosa’s stern. Anxious to avoid any luffing scenarios with a fast and weatherly craft, Cambria cautiously examined the lee side and used her weight to pass. At the Inner Bench Head Mirosa regained the lead and held it to the second pass of the Bench Head where Repertor and George Smeed joined the assembly just ahead. Cambria reexamined the lee tactic and managed to come out ahead again at Bradwell. The newly-refurbished Lady Daphne did her best to luff Cambria in St Lawrence Bay showing that her year off has done nothing to reduce her competitive edge.

When we finished, the Edme was long-anchored and the younger members of her crew swimming off the spreet end and the Niagara crew was swimming too. At first we assumed this was to reattach the propellor, though the way she later made a splendid sight sailing up to Hedgecock’s yard made us wonder. Mirosa, Repertor and George Smeed finished in a bunch making a splendid spectacle. At the prizegiving George Smeed was given a special presentation and her owners Ken and Carol three cheers for their achievement over forty six years.


By | 2018-08-16T15:03:29+00:00 July 11th, 2018|