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Largy releases lager

September 25, 2012

It was one of those very special days. The Bistro rally took place yesterday amid a backdrop inland of rain and thunder, but out on the ocean the race unfolded in patchy conditions with a westerly wind providing some wonderful sailing.

The crew, slightly motley it has to be said, proved lamentable in early practice for the race. I had heard of tacking, indeed I thought the adjective tacky could have well be applied to many of the crew of l’Exocet. It was after two terrible practice tacks, where it seems the imperative is not to lose boat speed, that resulted in one of our crew suggesting after one particularly disastrous turn, that we were going backwards. Help was at hand however in the form of The Master Mariner who banished most of the “crew” to the superstructure and resolved to sail the thing himself. The five-minute hooter sounded, but the hootee obviously ran out of breath because neither the two-minute warning nor the actual starting hooter were audible so the start of the race was chaotic, as was some of our sailing after the early beers had kicked in. We gradually eased ahead of all but one boat and thought we had come second, only to discover that the “winners” had been disqualified for passing the start line 40 seconds before the official start time. So once again victorious.

Amongst the crew was The Wingco, renamed the Winchco for the day, Peachy Butterfield who did a very credible job serving drinks from the galley as Roger The Cabin Boy, an epithet that had old Harrovian Largy dribbling with anticipation (he likes a drink, what did you think I meant?) The competing boats then tied up together after a brief squall and as the sun came out a massive lunchtime party ensued.

The rose charged blue sky sail back from the Iles des Lerins was sublime. Some of the “crew” were enjoying it so much they did not want to miss a moment on deck, even to go to the loo, as my picture today captures. I think that is one reason why the Master insists on an entirely male crew for the race.

Largy tests the wind direction

Largy tests the wind direction

We found some space for the WAGS aboard a lovely boat which the Master rather disdainfully described as a “diesel chucker”. Whilst I love sailing, the idea of being served champagne not by Roger The Cabin Boy but a pretty girl in a bikini on a flat deck in delightful sunshine has its merits.

After we had parked at Port de le Rague, an impromptu sing-song developed aboard in the early evening  with the Wingco at its heart. There had been a guitar and amplifier aboard a Dutch boat, when we had been tied up which The Wingco had found but after a particularly rousing version of Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Child” he appeared to have been disinvited aboard. Some 25 people from other boats crammed on deck and it was starting to unwind when we decided to leave. That was because the lovely Suzanne who was driving could take no more abstinence so we headed home to the pav for a nightcap.

Today there is talk of lunch and then even more talk of an evening in Valbonne Square, which seems to me to be compulsory when one has been away for some time. I shall of course endeavour to do some work today for Currencies Direct to justify my measly commission. Then on Wednesday, a sad day because it may be our last day in France this year. Galway Bay and its oysters awaits.

Chris France

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2012 1:02 pm



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