An Account of The Upnor Race 2005
By Mike Carrick

Well, I started OK and had a good trip to the South Shoebury, and was doing OK on the beat; pointing high and hoping to catch one or two boats ...
Then I noticed she was half full of water ... about a foot deep inside the cabin. Like, over my wellies.
So I eased the sheets to get her more upright, let her look after herself (which she does very well), went below and pumped like beggary. After a long time, and shifting about half a ton of water, she was just about empty. No chance of seeing where it was coming from.
After about 20mins sailing she needed the same again. I considered running for home but didn't fancy the long trip across the deep part in that state, so I headed for the Spile hoping for shelter. By then it was blowing a fair bit! More than the forecast 4 to 5 anyway.
I really didn't know what to do but the Medway looked the best bet. I rounded the Spile, and eased her along (still pumping very often and very much!). Again, she looked after herself blooming marvellously whenever I eased the sheets and dropped the helm. My 'easy' course took me to the Grain Edge so I rounded it and headed in. I considered Queenborough - but the tide was about to turn, I knew I could make Upnor and there were 2 reasons. It could well be Tiptoe's last race so it's nice to finish. And the shingle beach is good if I had to beach her.
So I went on (still pumping a lot of the time) and finished at 8.44pm.
LOADS of sorting out required. Everything, but everything, soaked. Spare clothes in 'waterprooof' bag: wet. Just one good thing; my sleeping bag was dry thanks to being wrapped in THREE bags.
So, no time or inclination to get to the pub so I missed y'all, shame.
Sunday I was away under engine. I'd anchored close to the shore in case of sinking! But she didn't make much overnight (I checked the rate before turning in). So when I got up I needed to be away right away, so engine it was. Put 3 reefs in the main and changed to working jib, eased her along (STILL pumping a lot of the time). Then, a lovely beat up the ray and then took her to the slip to be hauled out.
From ashore I could see the damage to the port chine forward.
Now I need to think things out. I was wondering about changing her anyway, as she's going to need ever more work doing just due to her age. No doubt this damage is repairable so I'll have a look, but I
think I've had this season! Er, any berths going on the races? :-)
I'm getting a little fed up with the fact that she leaks a bit all the time; I can never get the decks quite tight, and she works on a good beat and makes some water. A fibreglass boat has some appeal.
But ... the little beggar looked after herself quite happily in those winds on Saturday, and I'd guess a full 6 gusting 7? I couldn't ask more of any boat, and I think few will match up. OK, I had to ease her along but she still made good progress to windward and didn't seem to have reached her limit. Can I part with a boat like that?
So you see my quandary. Any thoughts, discussion etc welcomed to help me get my ideas straight!
Phew!


Regards
Mike

'Mr Tiptoe' and bloody proud of her .....


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