Cambria arrived back in her home port of Cannes in December 2015, after 17 months away. Her refit in Southampton is detailed in the “refit report” and further in the photo section of the website.
The remainder of the winter was spent continuing and finishing jobs from the yard, the two major works were finishing the floor of the cockpit and reducing the heat build up in the port thrust bearing. The heat generated on the voyage south was heading toward the limits of the bearing and was temporarily solved by applying external air via a fan onto the bearing. The bearing was removed and rebuilt, plus the shaft realigned, completed in the port during January!!! This solved the port side, however after her annual haul out in May, where everything from the yard work looked perfect, we found a vibration from the starboard shaft! After the commitments of the Antibes regatta and the first cruise of the year, Will and Dave enjoyed slightly warmer temperatures, dropped the starboard shaft, realigned, polished and reinstated. The end resulted in no more vibrations and we were ready for the next voyage.
Cambria’s extended summer cruise started in the northern Sicillian town of Milazzo which is the closest port on mainland Sicily to the Aeolian Islands. The following 2 weeks were then spent visiting Vulcano, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Almalfi, Capris and Napoli. Her next destination was the beautiful fishing town of Gallipoli on the East coast of Italy. From here it was a short hop across to the Ionian Islands where we cruised from Corfu in the North to Zakinthos in the south. Cambria then headed west back to France to make the Cannes and St Tropez regattas.
It was Cambria’s first regatta since the refit and conditions proved very light, barely any breeze over 8 knots. We were all very excited to see if there would be any noticeable difference in her performance. Although a little rusty on regattaring after a long time away, Cambria sailed particularly quickly. She
was back racing her old friends Moonbeam IV, Moonbeam III and Halloween.
On the first race we managed to sail an extra 8 miles more than our rivals and still finished only one minute behind on water from Moonbeam IV. Race 2,3 and 4 were carbon copies of the conditions of Day 1, however the crew work did not let her down. Cambria finished on the water 28 mins, 26mins and 16mins ahead of her closest rival, Moonbeam IV. Race 4 was only 8 miles long so it was an impressive result. Cambria finished first on the water overall and a competitive second on corrected time. A great return, and noticeably faster. The extra work fairing the hull certainly made a difference.
Cannes Regates Royales
Cannes Regatta is generally held during the Autumn solstice, so weather is often unpredictable. This year our main competition came from the Herreshoff schooner Elena of London. Over the past 6 years, Cambria and Elena have enjoyed particularly close scratch racing. Cannes provided more of the same as the regatta provided days suited to both Cambria and Elena. The other competitors in the Big Class were Moonbeam III, Moonbeam IV, Sumurun, Ashanti, Puritan, Halloween and Sincerity. As the weather varied between 10 knots and 22 knots the results of the week were already determined; the smaller “Big Boats” will always dominate on handicap. The interesting sailing would be between Cambria and Elena. Day one saw a rare event at a yacht race, a tie on corrected time between Cambria and Elena! Cambria won on the water by 1 min 45 secs which resulted in a tie on corrected over that distance. Day 2 suited Elena with 18 – 20 knots of breeze, however Cambria managed to hang on and only finished 6.5 minutes behind the giant schooner. By this stage the battle between the two had caught everyone’s attention of the drama unfolding on the water between these two beautiful and closely matched yachts. The sponsors got wind of the rivalry and offered a small trophy to play for just between Cambria and Elena on scratch results. We were at this stage 1/1. Day three saw lighter conditions suiting Cambria who took the line by 5 minutes over Elena. Day 4’s conditions suited Elena who took line honours by 4 minutes. With one day remaining we were suitably 2/2. Unfortunately the weather dropped out completely on the Saturday, hence a cancelled race, and the regatta ended 2/2. This was a great result for both yachts and crew who certainly put their all into the event and shared the end prize. This could be the way forward as it keeps everyone in with an opportunity to win, a smaller class within a class. Elena and Cambria’s ratings are within seconds, plus both yachts run powered winches so both receive the same time penalty. As the smaller yachts in the class do not run powered winches they receive the 4% bonus on time, making it virtually impossible for the bigger boats.
The racing aside, the conditions were the strongest Cambria had raced since the refit and the difference in her stiffness was particularly noticed. She certainly feels stronger and more solid through the backbone. Even on the windy days tacking to windward, Cambria not only held onto Elena but was generally faster. Elena would then charge back on the reaches and downwind legs with her greater waterline and sail area.
Les Voiles de St Tropez
Both Cambria and Elena competed in the feeder race from Cannes to St Tropez, however the results are not representative. The yachts were for some strange reason placed on different start lines and though Cambria started before Elena's start brought the new breeze which carried her to an easy victory.
After the fun and close results of the Cannes regatta, the two yachts decided to continue their own racing through to the last regatta of the season. The racing was again close and exciting, Cambria grabbing the first two days whilst Elena took the two final days. The best was the Saturday of St Tropez. It was always going to be tight as Cambria was up 2/1 at the time - so it was all to race for: the last day of the season. The forecast had changed from soft to a fresh 15-18 knots. This range is always difficult for Cambria's sails wardrobe, it is in between full main and #1 and #2 jibs. She is generally just over or under powered. Conditions again suited Elena.
Cambria got away to a clear and fast start and tacked her way out to the weather mark, holding off Elena at the mark only by buoy room! It was the broad reach to the next mark which again, by sailing Elena off the course, we managed to hold off the inevitable until we reached the bottom mark and headed for the finish. As the two yachts rounded the mark there was only a few feet between them. Marigold who happened to be round the same mark at the same time must have had an amazing view as 350 tons of yachts and 1000’s of square meters of sail came charging through at 11/12knots. So close in fact that we had to politely ask them to center their boom to allow us to fit through their lee as Elena forced us up toward them to close the door on our efforts to hold them off! You could have jumped between the three yachts at that point. With that, kites were set but Elena was gone. She set both kite and golly and took off to claim the last day and end the regatta 2/2.
It was a great couple of regattas to finish a fine year on the water.
Race Crew 2016 – John Wooderson, Francis Langrenay, Jean Michel Rouve, Steve Jackson, Laura Bardon, John Lammerts Van Buerren, Frano, Emma Hammerton, Nicole and Fiona McFarlane, Ziggy, Fleur ter Kuile, Peter Mandin, John David, Tubby, Eric Burrus, Adam Davis, Salva, Mannie, Tim and Sarah.
Special thanks – to the full time crew; Dave, Will, Colin, Nicola and Amelie. Also, thanks to our logistics/language/seamstress/extra hand whenever needed; Anna Barkham.
Capt. SY Cambria