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!


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