The steeple in the old town jutted out from the Carnac skyline, its majestic presence regal in contrast to the 60s style apartment complex adjacent to the clubhouse. Not sure how they got that through the planning application system but the mayor probably has the penthouse.
The breeze, set to drop through the day was blowing gently from the north, the overcast sky, a gift from the UK to this usually Sun rich region in Brittany.
PRO Patrick, standing proud like Napoleon himself had brought racing forward by 1 hour to a start time of 10 a.m. and there was no dissension from the troops.
I jumped aboard my media rib with the jury crew who were then transferred to their own vessel which had been the target for some pretty substantial bombing runs overnight. I did wonder if the Seagulls held some deep hatred for the on-water judging but that was just my malicious imagination. To be fair to the judges and the sailors, the rule adherence has been exemplary.
The wind caressed my weathered face like a lovers gentle touch, not much then and I lowered my Nikon P950, shielding it from the UV rays which were punching through the cloud.
I took a moment to note a number of trawlers circumnavigating the bay and did wonder if they were UK based, no flags flying, a classic Nelson trick.
Race 6 finished as soon as it started, a mass of Solo hulls collecting at the pin end resulting in the first of many general recalls. I had positioned my rib at the pin end and it is not uncommon for the fleet to follow a man holding a camera, akin to seagulls following a trawler full of fish guts. The wind was flicking left and right , the next start saw mass exodus to the committee boat end.
I looked down at my trainers accusingly, surely they do not smell that bad. I prised one from my foot, tore away some of the rotting flesh and replaced it before retrieving my reluctant driver from the sanctuary of the water.
Lewis was parked and was not about to let anyone into his part of Carnac, the beautiful triangle which sits beneath the PRO’s vessel. The hard work and skill he used was for nothing though as another recall siren echoed across the race course.
Disturbingly, the wind was dropping and fluctuating in direction with the regularity of a conservative back-bencher. I was then interrupted from my reporting by my driver who had been instructed to notify the stragglers, disappearing towards Carnac and an early shower that a decision would be made in 30 minutes. The poor buggers returned to the race area for more fun, no doubt cursing us for ruining their plan.
I returned to my scribing, deep in thought of how I could make a sailing report interesting when there is not even a race. I was then interrupted by my driver once more, gesturing to me and pointing towards the fleet. The sails glistened like diamonds, mounted majestically atop a silver platter, accentuated by the Sun which sat high in the June sky. “Everyone’s an expert’ I uttered under my breath as I took the money shot with the driver looking satisfied.
At 11.40 a.m. the PRO finally called it a day, the fleet pumped their way into shore, wives and partners prepared themselves for various emotions and positioned their loved one’s trollies by the waters edge.
We powered into the harbour and I disembarked with the athleticism of a Walrus before thanking the Carnac team for providing the NSCA with very personal yet professional support. France know how to promote sailing and media is high on the priority list to get people interested, the coffee is also bloody good.
The prize giving was another extravaganza of prizes, applause and speeches, 50% were misunderstood by both the UK, and french audience but that did not matter. Tom Gillard was gracious and complimentary to all, class President Patrick Burns was authoritative and yet humorous and with the back bench of Graham and Fiona Cranford Smith delivered a near faultless display, save for the top two prizes which they almost forgot.
Thanks to all the competitors for making this a special event, despite the lack of breeze, the social side exemplifies the friendliness of the fleet.
Carnac did a sterling job and both UK and Dutch fleets look forward to returning.
Thanks to Rooster and Magic Marine for your generous prizes and we look forward now to the Superspars/Harken National Championship at Abersoch in July.