Pactolus 2015

The Pactolus 2015 began with a very special supper from Club Chef Simon on Thursday 30 July; in  addition to the usual SYC suspects we welcomed skippers and crews from Société des Régates de Fécamp who had sailed over to join us for the race home. The Pactolus Race attracted 8 entries and the fleet was started by Race Officer Doug Beanlands stationed at the end of the harbour entrance pier. After a clean start into 12 knots of SW breeze the fleet set off south towards the Greenwich Light Vessel and then to Fécamp; unfortunately the forecasted light to non-existent airs soon becalmed everyone, including David Skinner aboard Moonlight Saunter who had decided on an easterly strategy and found himself drifting on the tide off Newhaven. Eventually all the yachts bar two decided to use their 'iron sail' and retired to motor accross. Two yachts stuck with the fickle breeze; Plover and Barda. After drifting for close to four hours some 10 miles off the English coast the breeze arrived and both made good progress towards the French coast. Barda moved ahead during the night, but in the early hours misjudged a huge wind shift, allowing Plover to catch up. Hoisting their spinnaker at 4am, Barda moved forwards apace, crossing the line early the next morning, followed a little while later by Plover, however having just missed the 20 hour time limit neither finish would count towards the Pactolus Cup which was therefore retained by Karsha who won the event in 2014.

Saturday night brought a celebrationery supper at the SRF club house where we were welcomed by the French Club Officers and after numerous speeches the trophies were awarded and gifts distributed. The SYC skippers were each given a SRF burgee as a momento. This race was named back in the day by Hermione Lady Colwyn after her yacht 'Pactolus' and we think she might approved of the wonderful atmosphere and feeling of bonhomie. 

Everybody enjoyed a fast and sunny return crossing on Sunday and we have high hopes that we can build on the success of this very enjoyable weekend with an even bigger entry in 2016 - we can but pray for better winds on race day! 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Chef Simon treated us to a wonderful lamb dish that brought compliments from our French guests.
With SYC Admiral Tony Boysons at the head of the top table, our French guests enjoy some club hospitality.
Club steward Jon delivers Kir Royal to guests at SYC.
Chef Simon treated us to a wonderful lamb dish that brought compliments from our French guests.
Dominique Chalot in fine form at the SYC Pactolus supper.
Rob Reeves at the helm of Barda a few hours after the start. Shortly after this the wind died leaving us drifting on the spring tides. Purgatory.
Barda sails double handed into the night, still hopeful of beating the 20 hour time limit on the race. In the end we missed it by just over half an hour, beating Plover, the only other boat to complete the course without using engine.
Painfully slow boatspeed aboard Barda, but after the earlier 4 hours becalmed this is welcome progress.
Sunset aboard Barda.
Sunset aboard Barda.
Mid channel moonrise as Barda heads south east on the flooding tide towards the French coast.
A late breakfast at the Big Ben; moules frites with a cheeky carafe of rose. Happy days.
After sleeping all morning Rob Reeves of Barda savours the first beer in the SRF club house.
A very happy Pactolus gathering.
Sunset from the SRF balcony - everybody saw the green flash.
David Skinner of SYC makes his speech with Dominique Chalot of SRF making translations with, we suspect, some extra comments for the locals!
Serge Levaray the SRF Commodore and skipper of Mickey Moose.
Isabelle inspects the Pactolus (Club Rated) Cup originally presented by Hermione, Lady Colwyn in 1970.
SRF stalwart André Noël Robert enjoys the presentation banter.
Chris O'Neil retains the Pactolus trophy after sailing to defend his previous win with the help of with Cornelis van Rietschoten and Spencer Neal.
Although Barda was some three miles from Fécamp when the race time limit expired, Barda collected the Pactolus (Club Rated) Cup from Christophe Boche for being the first of the two boats home that persevered through the frustrating wind conditions to sail the course.
Chris O'Neil retains the Pactolus trophy after sailing to defend his previous win with the help of with Cornelis van Rietschoten and Spencer Neal.
Chris O'Neil explains to Debbie from Ocean Dream how the Karsha race strategy was largely food based.
Société Des Régates Fécamp honour the Pactolus Race arrival by flying the Red Duster.
The SYC ensign is a regular sight in Fécamp.
Feeling sunny in Fécamp. Moonlight Saunter.
Low water in Fécamp Marina on Sunday morning. Most of the SYC fleet set off for home around 09:00 (BST of course).
Rob Reeves aboard Barda as we head home back across the channel to Shoreham. Blasted it in 9 hours (with some assistance from the iron sail when the wind eased).
Karsha on her way home.
Chris O'Neil gets down to some DIY as he sails Karsha home with Cornelis van Rietschoten and Spencer Neal.
Karsha on her way home.
Karsha on her way home.
Ocean Dream on her way home.
Ocean Dream with Debbie at the helm on her way home. Laurence looks as sanguine as ever.
Rob Reeves runs out of power as Barda heads towards Shoreham. That's Beachy Head in the distance.