The Pactolus 2015 began with a very special supper from Club Chef Simon on Thursday 30 July; in addition to the usual SYC suspects we welcomed skippers and crews from Société des Régates de Fécamp who had sailed over to join us for the race home. The Pactolus Race attracted 8 entries and the fleet was started by Race Officer Doug Beanlands stationed at the end of the harbour entrance pier. After a clean start into 12 knots of SW breeze the fleet set off south towards the Greenwich Light Vessel and then to Fécamp; unfortunately the forecasted light to non-existent airs soon becalmed everyone, including David Skinner aboard Moonlight Saunter who had decided on an easterly strategy and found himself drifting on the tide off Newhaven. Eventually all the yachts bar two decided to use their 'iron sail' and retired to motor accross. Two yachts stuck with the fickle breeze; Plover and Barda. After drifting for close to four hours some 10 miles off the English coast the breeze arrived and both made good progress towards the French coast. Barda moved ahead during the night, but in the early hours misjudged a huge wind shift, allowing Plover to catch up. Hoisting their spinnaker at 4am, Barda moved forwards apace, crossing the line early the next morning, followed a little while later by Plover, however having just missed the 20 hour time limit neither finish would count towards the Pactolus Cup which was therefore retained by Karsha who won the event in 2014.
Saturday night brought a celebrationery supper at the SRF club house where we were welcomed by the French Club Officers and after numerous speeches the trophies were awarded and gifts distributed. The SYC skippers were each given a SRF burgee as a momento. This race was named back in the day by Hermione Lady Colwyn after her yacht 'Pactolus' and we think she might approved of the wonderful atmosphere and feeling of bonhomie.
Everybody enjoyed a fast and sunny return crossing on Sunday and we have high hopes that we can build on the success of this very enjoyable weekend with an even bigger entry in 2016 - we can but pray for better winds on race day!