The skippers were apprehensive if not downright nervous as Saturday dawned with a stiff 15 knots southerly breeze. It was Bilge Boys and Girls day – the day crew find out how easy it is to drive a J24 round the racecourse. On Sadiiqi it was Becky’s turn to be Bilge Girl – moving back from mast and foredeck, and over on Solaise Tom swapped foredeck for helm with Neil. Erin, Shogun and Cyclone rounded out the five boat fleet. Remini was helming Erin whilst Sally moved to winch wench.
All five boats were out early to practice – across the racecourse you could her owners coaching the newby helms “up, up, up – no the other up”, “let’s tack…… ok that was a gybe”. On Sadiiqi Becky had obviously picked up a lot of bad habits from Pete – offering lots of helpful advice to the crew regarding vang, poles, twings, etc. After the tiller extension had been removed (just gets in the way), and chocolate had been distributed (it helps focus), we were all ready.
Race one and Sadiiqi, Solaise and Erin led off the line. Ann had called for a move to the right, and it paid off big time – by the first mark Sadiiqi had a 50 yard lead over Solaise, with Erin hot on her heels. Becky’s quiet voice made gybes interesting as the first the crew knew about it was the boom coming over. A clean second lap and the result was Sadiiqi, Solaise, Erin. Race two and the J fleet was first to go – this caught out all but Solaise and Sadiiqi who had read the board on the RC boat. Equal start with Ann “numbers” Symons calling again for a move to the right – Solaise matched the move but struggled to maintain height with Sadiiqi – Neil was heard to mutter “Tom points like a broken finger” back at the bar. The two boats split out on the right – Solaise kept going into shore and it didn’t pay off for them. The next lap Sadiiqi’s compass failed (either that or we constantly sailed 205 no matter which tack we were on), so we stuck to covering. After rounding the windward mark for the last time, Becky threw in a gybe and broach to see if the crew were paying attention. As we weren’t it took a while to sort out the spinnaker - this turned out to be a good move as we took it down just before the wind shifted 90 degrees as a squall hit. A broad jib reach to the finish at high speed had Sadiiqi finish ahead of a two way battle between Erin and Solaise – Solaise holding Erin off to take second.
With the squall now making life wet and miserable, and visibility reduced, the RC canned the third race.
So the 2007 Bilge Girl is Becky Davies!