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  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

Report of the 1992 PASAB
THE 130 mile PASAB, or Penzance Around the Scillies and Back Race, has been run for the last fifteen years by the very friendly Penzance Sailing Club. We hadn't done the race for eight years which is a great shame as it is an interesting race with friendly competitors in an excellent sailing area.

The race traditionally starts on a Friday evening with a night sail to the Scillies. As usual the monohulls started first and in the light following wind it was clear that not everyone was out to win for several boats did not set spinnakers The first mark was five miles downwind and Joke the Peg (nee Quest, the 53ft tri that Mike Birch sailed to third place in the Transat en Double) rounded first, closely followed by our Sagitta and Ace (nee Tom Bombadil, the UK's top 30ft raceboat).

Other monos in contention were a First 32s5 and a Jouet 950 The wind was 15kn apparent at the start of the 50 mile beat to the Scillies and the first three monos began to pull away until, as dusk fell, the wind dropped and the multis clawed back lost ground. This was very encouraging as we have written before about the problems of sailing multihulls fast to windward in light winds.

We slowly beat out to the Wolf Rock, occasionally confused by the lights, for at times twenty ships were in sight, all changing course as they rounded Lands End, and it was hard to keep track of the other yachts. Around midnight the wind picked up and freed and it began to rain. Never mind, we could now point the Scillies and were sailing at 8kn. At dawn we could see Jake finishing about four miles ahead, incredibly, just behind us Ace appeared, we had obviously overtaken her in a rain squall and had never seen her lights.

One beauty of multihulls is their shoal draft and we were able to get in close to the shore and so avoid the worst of the congestion in St Mary's. Some aluminium French boats were even closer in, one actually aground on some rocks! The trimaran Zamaran finished three hours after us, but the last monohull not until 1500, not surprisingly Saturday is a rest day! On corrected time Sagitta won, followed by Ace, Jake was fifth and Zamaran eighth.

On Sunday the course was 'around the islands and all out-lying rocks' We had been to the Scillies twice before, both times in calm conditions and thick fog, so we were glad that this time the forecast was for good visibility, but we were less happy to hear about a SW 5-6.

The weather at the Scillies is hard to predict as lows can go up either the Irish Sea or the English Channel. This time the forecasters were wrong, the wind was light and visibility poor. Jake and Sagitta soon overtook all the monos except Ace as we beat out to the Bishop Rock in a very lumpy sea (often the sails would go aback in the troughs only to fill with a bang on the crests).

After rounding the Bishop we should have had a good spinnaker run, but the wind was still light and the swell meant that the kite kept collapsing - one of the times when a pole would help. At the north end of the islands the promised wind arrived and Sagitta quickly closed the gap on Ace and rounded the top of the island almost level with no boats in sight behind.

On the beat back the wind was rarely below 24kn and once reached 31. In flat water both Jake and Sagitta carried full sail, Ace was forced to change to Solent jib and then reefed. Jake was ideally suited to the conditions, long and heavy and despite original very tired sails, finished fifteen minutes ahead of us with Ace fourteen minutes later.

Thus on a five mile beat the 3Oft Sagitta had taken ten minutes from what is/was the fastest 3Oft monohull in the UK. Clearly windage does not make as much difference as some arm
chair theorists think (Sagitta is 6m x 2m, Ace 3m x 1m ) Never mind the monohull doubters who still think that multihulls don't go to windward. On corrected time Sagitta and Ace were again first and second, Jake third and Zamaran fifth.

Most of the first two legs had been on the wind, yet multihulls still won. The third leg back to Penzance was to be perfect multihull weather, a NW 5, sun and a good swell. But disaster struck Jake at the start, the longest boat in the fleet and drawing 8ft, they discovered the committee boat was anchored in 7ft of water!

The resulting bang badly damaged the board and case so the crew sailed cautiously with no spinnaker and as a result rounded the Wolf Rock neck and neck with Sagitta, the monohulls almost out of sight astern. Close to the cliffs off Lands End the wind increased and although we were doing a steady 14kn, Jake finished ten minutes ahead. Their leak was rather worse than they expected for, at the finish, there was eighteen inches of water in the boat.

Despite this obvious handicap Joke finished just inside the course record of 41/2 hours for the 45 mile race. On Sagitta we did not want to lose the wind, so only stopped in Penzance long enough to hand in our declaration, then we were off back to Plymouth under spinnaker alone.

We were halfway to the Lizard before the first monohull finished. Not surprisingly, Sagitta and Jake came first and second on handicap, Zaraman was again fifth, Ace was well down at thirteenth. On Sagitta a successful race was followed by a glorious sail back to Plymouth, 98 miles in twelve hours, nearly all under autopilot and spinnaker.

And so to the prize giving. Some years ago MOCRA organised a regatta with thousands of pounds of sponsors' money and MOCRA became known as 'Multiple Opportunities for Cash Remuneration for All' We had won every leg, were first multihull and overall winners, but we still did not expect to win eleven prizes. It seemed that everyone won something, so we re-named the PASAB - 'Plenty of Attractive Silverware for All Boats"


 

Report on the 1992 Round the Island race by a Yachts and Yachting reporter

RICHARD WOODS AND STUART FISHER were my companions for the Round the Isle of Wight Race, held over the same weekend as the Round Texel. After two non-finishes on board a John Shuttleworth one-off (a big hole in the port hull when the daggerboard folded) and Richard Carter's 'Jasper' (mainsheet traveller explosion off Hurst Castle), I opted for the relative security of Richard's 30' 'Sagitta', now into its third season with over 3,000 miles on the log.  It's not only fast, handsome (if you like bright yellow) and innovative, but it boasts what is possibly the most handsome, user-friendly galley on any 30 footer.

Richard and Stuart had sailed the boat up from Plymouth specially for the event, overnighting at Swanage and then motoring on to Calshot where we made use of an unoccupied mooring to spend the pre-race night in somewhat unlovely surroundings in a rising gale with lashings of rain. The wind had moderated for the gloomy 5.45am start, but still seemed strong enough for two  reefs in the main, ready for the customary windward bash up the Solent. Having started a little too late and a little too far out into the Solent, we at first had a fairly lonely race before being swallowed up by some of the bigger monos, giving away just a little too much in pointing and speed until we shook the reefs out.

A close reach from Hurst Castle to the Needles let 'Sagitta' pull back lost ground on the monos, but much of the advantage was lost on the long run down the back of the island in ever lightening winds. Once past St Catherine's, hardening up for an 80 degree spinnaker reach from Bembridge to the forts allowed 'Sagitta' to romp ahead in impressive fashion, and even though our speeds may not have been setting the race on fire we were still dicing with some mean looking 40ft and 50ft monos and level pegging with a splendid Swan 65. We were also within sight of three trimarans - an unidentified F-27, the F-25 'Arlette', and the unmistakable one-off 'Ozone' which was totally dwarfed by the monos at this 'not very far from the front' end of the fleet.

With the wind going lighter and lighter the loose luff drifter was brought into use for the final beat back to Cowes, losing pointability but gaining speed to buck the tide all the way up the Solent with the satisfaction of seeing occasional monos run aground. 'Sagitta' eventually finished in a time of eight hours, nine minutes and 18 seconds - she was the 17th multi and the first boat in the fleet to finish with its tender (solid, not rubber) hung in davits off the transom, a comfortable way to go racing !

Once over the finish line, there was little respite for the well travelled duo of Woods and Fisher. They opted to drop me at Calshot as arranged, and then head direct for Swanage without a break en route to Plymouth, making the most of the ebb tide and the wind which by then had swung north to make it a convenient reach all the way.

But first the business of dropping me off posed a few problems. The well barnacled pier at Calshot looked uninviting with the northerly blowing onto it, which gave Richard a chance to show off one of the brilliant aspects of multis which monohullers miss out on. Lifting the twin daggerboards, we motored into the protected lagoon behind Calshot Spit, where bemused windsurfers stood waist-deep by their boards. Richard then nudged the bows right up to the shingle beach, allowing me to jump off straight down onto dry land. It's a  neat way to go sailing.