Falmouth Classics 2024 – post event newsletter

From the Chairman

The Classics team and I feel that the 2024 Falmouth Classics was a success despite the significant difficulties the weather gave us particularly on Friday afternoon. That success is of course down to you for turning up and participating and our team of hard-working volunteers both on the water and onshore who make it all happen as planned. Also, I must mention our sponsors and advertisers who underpin the event by in-kind and cash contributions.

I trust you had a safe and enjoyable journey home or to your next port of call.

The team and I look forward to welcoming you in Falmouth in 2025 from 13 -15 June.

Fair winds,

Paul Hobson


Accommodating the visiting vessels

The berthing team were all set to welcome boats on Thursday 13th, they had been briefed and the plan had been circulated, but the weather intervened and vessels from further afield than the Fal arrived on Wednesday to avoid the strong winds and rain forecast for the Thursday. By evening over half the fleet to be berthed were alongside in the Haven. A member of the organising team was on hand and thus most boats were placed in the right areas.

The berthing team arrived on Thursday morning in the rain and wind to find their base boat was not to arrive. Bob and wife on Tehari II were happy to house the team in the dry and to provide refreshments. The shelter and hospitality was very much appreciated. Some boats delayed until Friday, but yachts continued to arrive and reported on the rough seas off Trefusis. Unfortunately, the usual welcome provided by a Royal Cornwall Yacht Club RIB did not take place owing to conditions.


Racing

Well over 100 had entered the event to race, but the strong westerly winds deterred some crews from setting out into the Carrick Roads on Friday. However, those that did enjoyed some good sailing, most with at least one reef. Some of the pilot cutters and large Bermudans carried full sail.

The committee boat, the 1907 Irene of Bridgewater, could not be missed. The Race Officer set a short course to enable all to finish and be ready for Race 2. A drop in the wind strength over lunch saw more full mainsails hoisted.

Race 2 provided longer courses and the larger vessels went out into Falmouth Bay. Some of the morning participants had by now gone ashore and the fleet had reduced to 67. A large black cloud began to move in from the west and the wind began to increase. One of the eleven Salcombe Yawls lost its mast as did the 1934 Harrison Butler Saoirse. The squall then hit the fleet with 40 plus knot gusts, heavy rain and decreased visibility.

Victory, the 1883 Falmouth Working Boat, sailing in Kb Class with full sails including topsail, tacked with all sails cleated, filled and sank whilst a Salcombe Yawl and 5.2m open yawl capsized. A Shrimper lost its mast and one of the larger Bermudans lost its mizzen mast as a result of a collision with the bowsprit of one of the large gaffers.

Falmouth Classics 2024 - Racing Day 1
Strong westerly winds deterred some crews from setting out into the Carrick Roads on Friday, those that did enjoyed some good sailing. Photo: Ian-Symonds

The Race Officer decided to abandon the race as all four RIBs in the safety fleet were now very busy. A Pan Pan call involved the Coastguard who tasked the helicopter and both RNLI lifeboats. The Race and Regatta Office Team were soon accounting for all the boats entered in the Classics. Several skippers, not berthed in the Haven or Port Pendennis, had to be phoned to check they were all safe. Fortunately, no one was injured. Victory was lifted the following day and was ready to race again a week later.

A big thank you to the Classics Safety Team, the RNLI, the Coastguard, the Harbour Team and Falmouth Boat Construction who responded to the difficulties some found themselves in just before and after the squall.

Falmouth Classics 2024 - Racing Day 2
Saturday morning brought steadier westerly south westerly winds at Force 5. Photo: Nigel Sharp

The Teamac Race on Saturday morning experienced steadier westerly south westerly winds at Force 5 with no violent gusts. Most racing craft were reefed and only one Falmouth Working Boat ventured out whilst some other classes were also depleted. However, the course and the wind provided good sailing.


Rowing and Sculling

The Falmouth training ship “Hardiesse” kindly provided two pulling dinghies which were added to by several owners’ boats. Locals were challenged by some of the Salcombe Yawl crews in the rowing competition but not in the sculling.

Falmouth Classics 2024 - Rowing and Sculling
Competitors were urged on by a good crowd at the Royal Cornwall Sailing Club. Photo: Don Garman

The Oggy Men completed their set at the Greenbank and the audience turned to watch the rowing and sculling and cheered the competitors who were also being urged on by a good crowd at the Royal Cornwall Sailing Club.


Parades

Grey skies and lighter winds welcomed the Classics Parade of Sail and Power to the Carrick Roads. HMS Mersey supplied a RIB complete with white ensign and Falmouth Classics flag to enable the parade director to coordinate the event. To celebrate 200 years of the RNLI, eight life boats led the parade, including the two current Falmouth lifeboats. The fleet illustrated lifeboat design from the 1930s to present times. The oldest life boat dating from 1938 had a top speed of 8 knots whilst the current all weather life boat has a top speed of 25 knots!

Eight life boats led the parade
To celebrate 200 years of the RNLI, eight life boats led the parade. Photo: Nigel Sharp

The sailing fleet was led by the 1907 west country trading ketch, Irene of Bridgewater, with all the crew reflecting the theme of rescuers and rescued. They almost won the bottle of Hattiers Rum for best dressed crew but instead were winners of the best presented sailing vessel award. The best dressed crew went to Tumblehome IV. Thanks to all those crews who sought to reflect the theme. It was great to see the Truro River Gig Club’s Royal navigating the parade route under sail.

The Heather and Lay steam and small boat parade got underway in the inner harbour at 13.30. The six steam boats drowned out the shanty band when in unison they operated their whistles! There was a good mix of steam, sailed and rowed craft.

Psipsina, a rowing boat from Salcombe
Star of the show was the 1920s Psipsina, a rowing boat from Salcombe. Photo: Paul Fowler

The lug rigged Gelveynek demonstrated, sculling, rowing and sailing. Star of the show was the 1920s Psipsina, a rowing boat from Salcombe. The crew were dressed as RNLI lifeboatmen and towed behind a model of the Falmouth Working Boat Victory. They won the best dressed crew prize of a bottle of Hattiers Rum and a special prize from Heather and Lay presented by Jo Lay.


Onshore Events

The Dynamite Valley Brewery Reception was held on the Haven as the Chairman and Vice Chairman had consulted several weather oracles at midday on Thursday, all of which indicated the rain would stop around 18.00 and it did! Plan B, a marquee, was not therefore implemented. Rum and Shrub sang, well over 300 pints were drunk and 400 Pips pasties consumed.

Falmouth Classics 2024 - Shoreside
More than 300 pints were drunk and 400 Pips pasties consumed

The Polgoon Vineyard and Gweek Classic Boatyard Reception was well attended in the Art Gallery and Council Chamber on Friday evening and Jamie Medlin’s art exhibition “Nuances of Light” was much enjoyed. Jamie was on hand for a while and discussed his work with several of the crews.

A big thank you to the three sponsors for enabling the two receptions.

Falmouth Classics 2024 - Maritime Village
The Classics Maritime Village was busy on both quays

The Classics Maritime Village, of 12 exhibitors plus food outlets, was busy on both quays during the three days aided by shanty bands performing on both Custom House and North Quays.


Falmouth Classics Supper at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club

The hog roast on Saturday night was enjoyed by 124 crew members and guests and music was provided by the jazz trio “Jumping Out” from St Austell. A good number, not staying for supper, enjoyed a beer or two and the music.

Falmouth Classics 2024 - hog roast
124 crew members and guests enjoyed the hog roast. Photo: Nigel Sharp
Falmouth Classics 2024 - Shoreside
Music was provided by the jazz trio “Jumping Out”. Photo: Nigel Sharp

Prizegivings

Falmouth Classics 2024 - Prizegiving
Photo: Chris Williams

Day prizes, including the Teamac Race were presented at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club by three officers from HMS Mersey, a patrol vessel undergoing refit in the docks, and Kris Wright from Teamac. Kris presented Teamac trophies and £100 vouchers to the winners of the Teamac Race.

Falmouth Classics 2024 - Prizegiving
Photo: Chris Williams

Parade and overall prizes were presented by Falmouth Classics Chairman Paul Hobson, and sponsors Jo Lay from Heather and Lay, Wesley Massam of Noble Masts and Mineera representing Musto.


West Country Classic Series

Raced in the Falmouth Classics? Then why not also compete in the Dartmouth Classics (July 18 -19) and Fowey Classics (30 July – 2 August). Participation in at least two will ensure you are eligible for prizes or at least a West Country Classics Series flag and an enjoyable lunch in the Autumn.


Comments

Many thanks to competitors, sponsors and parade guests who have already commented on the event by email and the competitors Whats App. We would be delighted to receive more comments and suggestions to further improve the 2025 event. Please respond if you wish by emailing: info@falmouthclassics.org.uk


Photographic Record of the Event

Thanks to Nigel Sharp, Ian Symonds and Chris Williams, the official photographers, there is now a great record to be found at: www.falmouthclassics.org.uk/2024-gallery/


Identification Boards

Have you returned yours? If not please email Sue Treneer at treneglos@hotmail.com to arrange return.


Volunteers

The Classics core team expands from around fourteen to fifty during the event. I am sure you will join the editor in thanking not only the core team who work for about 9 months of the year but also the berthing, registration, reception, race, safety, rowing and sculling, parade and village teams for their time, effort and energy.


Sponsors and advertisers

The Association is very grateful to the partner, major and event sponsors and the advertisers whose contributions help to make the event a success. If you use their services and products please mention the Falmouth Classics.


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