Conditions for the 12 Mile Banks and Back Cruiser race were unusually benign with light winds out of the south-south east producing swell, but no real problems for even the smaller boats.
The 12 mile banks race two weeks ago goes back to the days of the mighty schooners that raced from Seven Mile Beach out to the banks and then back for bragging rights which boosted trading credentials.
The modern race is a bit longer, starting in North Sound and returning via Hog Sty Bay to Seven Mile.
Seven boats made the start and it was not long before Blue Runner had broken out and led the fleet through the main channel of North Sound.
It soon became apparent that the expected spinnaker run out to the banks was not as easy to hold without sailing a longer course, which meant that those boats not flying the kites were competing on more level terms.
Yahoo Yahoo was in pursuit of Blue Runner, closely followed by Pie Sees 3.
Mark Rickman’s Panacea sailed well during the first half of the race as did the smallest boat in the fleet, Nigel Bates’ Artemis, a Catalina 25-footer.
Shanti, sailing with an inexperienced crew from Portugal and South Africa, had quite a few technical difficulties and were left struggling toward the back.
As the fleet turned at the banks for the sail back to Seven Mile Beach and the harbour they were well spread out, but different courses and tactics did see some boats coming together in the harbour for the final turn up to the Beach Suites and the finish line.
After 32 miles of sailing, Blue Runner, skippered by Bruce Johnson, took first place by a handsome 23 minutes on corrected time.
Pie Sees 3, last year’s winners, took second place by a little more than four minutes from Artemis with Yahoo Yahoo just three minutes behind.
Jonathan Cuff from Harbour House, who sponsored prizes for the first three places, noted that Blue Runner was the first boat to win this trophy for a second time, having first won the race in 2007.
“They have spent some time and money bringing the boat up to spec, but they also have put together a consistent crew who know the boat,” he said.
Bruce Johnson acknowledged his crew, too.
“The key positions on board are filled by the people who have been with us some time,” he said. “This means that all I have to do is drive!”
Rob Hutchison, the cruiser rep for the sailing club, said: “Thank you Terrie Farrington and her race committee, Harbour House for their sponsorship and the Grand Cayman Beach Suites for hosting the after race barbecue.
“There is always a bit more of a thrill sailing offshore and we are now looking forward to the Easter Round the Island Race.”