The events of the previous 24 hours saw much soul searching by organisations and individuals on Friday as to whether to continue normal activities, but with continuity also being a theme of the sad events, many, including the Victory Class, chose to continue their activities, as the class has since 1934. Individuals rightly made their own decisions for the first race of the Friday Candlelight series for the Lubbers Cup, and a reduced fleet of 4 boats, Z80, Z78, Z70 and Z54, came to a gate start at KB at 17:00, with a brisk and occasionally blustery 18 knots of westerly breeze to sail in.
Z78 as gate boat set a beat to BT, a long run to Linington, a return to BT, KB, BT and a run to Suffolk Sails to finish. First through the gate was 54, with 80 to windward a few moments later followed by 70. The fleet pushed out on starboard into the east going tide, 54 squeezing up on 80, until tacks were made in towards the wall away from the tide and ready for the port hand rounding. Z54 briefly in the lead and in control, until a better judged tack saw Z80 through her lee and first round the windward mark, with Z78 and Z70 following. In the blustery conditions and only two up Z70 took the decision to retire.
Meanwhile a faster hoist on Z54 saw her pull ahead of 80, and on the long run to Linington Z80 tried a gybe to the left while 54 and 78 held further out. Z78 pushing hard and keeping the pressure on both boats ahead. At the buoy 54 held the lead, Z80 just around inside of 78.
A beat back into the Haslar wall and up to BT for the second time. Shifty westerly wind under the wall made for difficult decisions, but places remained unchanged to BT and down to KB. Again the final beat to BT was complicated by the breeze off the wall, and Z54 tacked too early for BT and failed to cover. At the mark Z80 had the inside berth for the starboard rounding and had a 2 boat length advantage as both boats freed off for the run to the finish. 54 pushed low off the mark, out into steadier and fresher breeze a few boat lengths further east then Z80. Slowly 54 inched ahead, with some excellent spinnaker work by crew Heather, to just steal the win by seconds as we reached Suffolk Sails. Deep breath! - a tough race for everyone, with the oldest boat on the water by some years happy to have won on this day.
The class were very pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations run by the RYS at the end of Cowes Week, and be reviewed on moorings by HRH Princess Anne. We extend our thoughts and sympathies to her and to her whole family at this sad time.