27 July 2020
The Junior Offshore group (JOG) are pleased to announce that entry is now open for the Home Ports Regatta weekend to be held on the 29th and 30th August in the Solent.
The weekend racing will start with a longer course leaving the Cowes start line, heading out to Poole bay and returning to finish outside of Cowes Isle of Wight. Day 2 will be a shorter course around sailing marks in the Solent.
Courses will be modified to suit conditions.
JOG endeavours to promote competitive sailing whilst not encouraging unnecessary risk of COVID 19 transmission.
Just a few of our measures include limiting crew numbers and ensuring competitors can return to their home ports during the 2-day regatta. Competitors can also opt to race using their non-spinnaker rating.
Entry is open to both JOG and non-JOG members for IRC rating boats with a TCC limit of 1.200 and no lower limit providing yachts comply with Category 4 world sailing regulations.
Early entry Fees - until 21st August
Members Entry Fee - £25 Non-Members - £50
Fees increase by 25% after the 21st August and entry closes at 5pm 26th August.
Entries will be limited and are on a first come basis.
24 July 2020
Hard work starts to pay off - Scaramouche Sailing Trust Riot and Eros
It was weekend number two of back to back races for Riot and Eros of the Scaramouche Sailing Trust. This was a new week, a different race, tweaks had been carried out on the boats and the crews, same as the Lonely Tower, had been out practising. What would the Great Escape bring, as the crews head west to the Needles Fairway?
Game on – Eros by Azat Ulutas
After the Lonely Tower, we had a week in Cowes, making some little adjustments to Eros looking to get some extra gains and see if we could get closer to the leaders on corrected time.
As always, we (Suen, Matt and I) looked at the conditions, tide, wind, and general weather, and we created our strategy for the day ahead. We decided to start near Gurnard where there was most tidal flow. Racing through the first leg we stayed in the channel to make the most of the ebbing tide for more leverage. Whilst beating toward the Needles the waves started to intensify as well as the wind, and Eros was being put to the test. This is the resilience bit Mr Holt always talks about!
After rounding the Needles Fairway, the kite went up as well as the level of concentration. There were some broaches along the way but still be moved on, flying towards the finish line.
Eros finished in 5hrs 22mins 35secs, which put us first in class on corrected time!
We were all delighted with the result and thank you to JOG, the Scaramouche Sailing Trust and everyone particularly those on the dockside in Cowes, who continue to support us.
Exercising caution in a building breeze - Riot by Jaydon Owusu
The course set by JOG was a beat out to the Needles Fairway, a fetch to North Head and then a kite leg back to the finish. Sailing three up, our combined crew age is 43, the youngest crew on the water. For us, every race is about putting our theory into practice. During lockdown, we all completed our Day Skipper Theory and our RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course so during the planning stage of the race, looking at our course, strategy and tactics now was the time to test our new skills.
Exercising caution was the name of our game, to finish first, first you must finish. During the week we were trialling new sail plans, we have a couple of different spinnakers and we also changed our reefing systems. This race would be a test of how good our boat work is. The beat out was tough, the wind was due to be around 15 knots, but by the time we were at the Needles Fairway it was more like 21 knots, plus did we mention the wind against tide element?! That’s a big day at sea in a 22 ft boat.
We decided to wait until we were back in the Solent past Hurst Spit before hoisting the kite, much to Mr Holt’s delight, and once hoisted we had a great blast to the finish line. Although we were last to cross, we were closer to the boat in front that the week before finishing in 5hrs 50mins 43secs, putting us in 17th place on corrected time, a big improvement.
We would like to say a big that you to the JOG. For a second week running we have been the last boat to cross the finish line, and we appreciate always seeing you there waiting for us to finish. We are getting closer to the boat on the water in front (40 mins in the Lonely Tower, 25 mins in the Great Escape). The race team are very personable, and you make the racing clear and it’s a great way for us to gain experience, thank you we are looking forward to the next one already.
Both crews will compete in the JOG Home Ports Regatta at the end of August where a third boat, a new Limbo 7.7 If, kindly donated to the charity will be joining them.
Scaramouche Sailing Trust – Eros and Riot. Scaramouchesailing.org.uk, @ScaramoucheST on your favourite social media channel.
Help us continue to inspire and provide opportunities for more young students, by making a donation through our website here.
24 July 2020
Saturday the 11th of July marked a milestone of our sailing program and a much-awaited start of our 2020 race season.
The race started with a strong East flowing tide and very little breeze, which meant being on the correct side of the line and in the vicinity of Gurnard was our game plan – simple yet effective!
Accelerating and maintaining momentum was also a focus of ours and we knew the breeze would fill eventually so staying with the leading pack was our priority, although we didn’t always have much control over this… Quick successions of peeling between the J1, MH0 and A2 was the story of the first two hours which was both frustrating but also a great opportunity to work on our maneuvers and how to make these sail changes as efficient as possible while sailing shorthanded.
Eventually once the breeze filled in from the North West, we got the A2 up and VMG ran down the Solent staying in maximum tide and following the pockets of breeze. Eyes forward meant we stayed alert to the changes ahead, and once rounding No Mans Fort, it was clear the breeze would suddenly swing to the South and we would jib reach to Nab Tower. By this point we had lost touch with some of the symmetric boats like Bellino, who are no newbie to the shorthanded racing scene, but we knew it was key to work to our strengths and learn our weaknesses.
Rounding the Nab Tower was a short-lived relief as it soon sank it that we had a long beat upwind to the finish, which not to state the obvious, is not a fun wind angle for a boat like Gentoo. We are also in the early stages of learning the boat and how to make her sail fast in our less favorable conditions but we enjoyed the opportunity to do some jib peels and experiment with our sail trim a little.
After crossing the finish line, we were pleased with a 5th place, behind some very well sailed boats. Above this, it was just great to be back out on the water racing and seeing some familiar faces (from afar).
Dee and I would also like to thank JOG for putting on a great race and turning the weather on! We look forward to being on the start line in future races.
20 July 2020
Saturday was our first double handed semi-offshore race with Matt as my new 2020 co-skipper. We were in a confident mood after doing well in the RSYC Thursday night series and beating Joy JPK 10.10 in an informal race from the Scillies to Falmouth at the end of our 2 weeks training camp last week. I thought I was going on Summer holidays for 2 weeks but Matt had other ideas and we had spent 2 weeks training.
We had looked at the weather but not hard enough as we chose the J2 and full main. Wind picked up to 18kts before the start so we quickly reefed to reefed J2 (=J3) and 1 reef in the main.
The start was busy but we snuck in at the pin end of the line. It was very very tight between keeping clear of other boats and not getting swept with 3 kts of tide onto Gurnard cardinal but I made the gap. The photo (Rick Tomlinson) makes it look like I had lots of room but I think I was the last windward boat to make the gap. I was very very pleased to be one of the first boats over the start line and happy it was witnessed by Sophie Palmer in a rib who was whooping her support and taking photos.
The beat up to the first mark was slow though and we lost the advantage, The sail plan was simply wrong. Next leg was a short reach, not enough time for anyone to deploy another sail but easy for us to un-reef the J2 and we gained a few places as we powered down to the island. For the next beat out to Hurst we un-reefed the main and were doing OK, we came past both Mostly Harmless and Mzungu which is usually a sign of doing well. The next tack I spotted a familiar looking cruising boat crossing ahead, it was some friends of ours on Quintessa a Dufour 38, As we tacked onto port I hoped I was ahead of them on the next tack.... or at least I hoped I was ahead enough that David on Quintessa would let me through.
All went downhill when we had a very dodgy tack outside Yarmouth where the outboard sheet lead got caught and left us heave to for a minute or two.. Advantage lost over Mzungu but Mostly was still behind.
Beat out to the Needles and the wind was now 23kts... for sure too much for our J2 and no amount of backstay was saving the day. However we crossed tacks and stayed ahead of Mostly.
The waves at the Needles were significant as you can see on the photo from Rick Tomlinson. That is where Mostly got past us as their slim hull (and correct sail plan) slid through the waves and we were overpowered,
Round the Needles fairway and onto a downwind sleigh ride. Almost everyone was on white sails but big shout out to Rob Craigie and Deb Fish on Bellino who hoisted there A5. The hoist was a bit messy but once set they powered past the fleet, We kept to white sails as were very powered up at times decided to save the A5 for back in the Solent. At North head the angle hotted up and Purple Mist had a mini broach and tried to take out Rick Tomlinson on the photo boat. They powered away the rib just in time.
Once through Hurst it was straight to the A5 Spinnaker. The hoist and unsnuff went well but during the J2 drop the cleat on the J2 Leech captured the leech of the A5 causing a tangle and a tear... nicely caught on camera by Ross Perchard on Ayaya.
Anyway after some tugging and dropping we untangled the two sails and we were off to the finish. I was watching the small tear slightly grow in size but luckily the spinnaker held until the end.
Final result Mid fleet and another job for the sewing machine Class 2 12th/ 24, Double handed 17th/42, Sunfast 3200 3rd/6, Female Helm 5th/7, We still retain the youth helm trophy 1/1 !!
Thanks to everyone out on the water taking photos.
19 July 2020
The JOG Great Escape Race offered some brisk conditions and a revised course enabled competitors to finally escape the Solent around the needles Fairway buoy and back to the finish with a few separator marks in between.
Rick Tomlinson was on hand to capture all the best moments of the race with the ebbing tide and opposing wind in the Needles channel creating the perfect setting for some dramatic photography.
Over 80 entries for this race adapted with covid precautions to limit crew numbers proved a great success with all three class winners racing with no more than 4 crew made up of family plus one groups.
Congratulations to Class 1 winners Bellino with Rob Craigie and Deb Fish, who were also 2nd in the Double Handed Class. Not many risked a kite from the fairway buoy to North Head but Bellino certainly weren’t going to allow the 20 knots + wind to stop them. If you haven’t seen Deb’s slot on the double handed webinar, you should watch to see why they are such confident sailors in these conditions. http://youtu.be/eTWP-C5gOoA
Class 2 winners were White Cloud ix, skippered by John Donnelly, sailed with 3 of his family plus one. We are certain that John will be celebrating his family success with this excellent result.
Class 3 winners Eros skippered by rising star Azat Ulutas, part of project Scaramouche who continue to impress with great results. Their second boat Riot should also be applauded for pressing on through the rough seas of the Needles Channel and completing the course in what must have seemed a very small boat in high seas.
Double handed winners Ziggy sailed by Kevin Downer and Timothy Eccles finished in just under 5 hours. Congratulations to them both.
All results can be found at https://www.jog.org.uk/race-results/results/?raceid=c1ec3f32-d036-ea11-a813-000d3a0b6d42
JOG next take to the Solent for the Home Ports Regatta, a weekend of Solent based racing in the August sunshine on 29th and 30th August. (Sunshine not promised!)
19 July 2020
Jacana is a 20 year old J105, racing out of the Royal Southern Yacht Club. We bought her in February 2020 and launched her in May, following some refurbishment. Having not exactly clothed ourselves in glory last weekend on our first JOG outing (pesky windholes) we were determined to do better this time.
The forecast for the day indicated that there would be a decent breeze for the duration, starting from the West and backing SW during the day. Our pre-race prep included winding our rig on a bit from “base” setting to the 16 – 20 knot setting, but we were still surprised by the amount of wind at the start line, definitely breezier than we anticipated.
We started at the deep water end of the line, in the strong west going tide. With a minute to go it looked like there would be plenty room there, but as we got closer to the start time unsurprisingly it got quite busy! There was a danger of us being pushed past the line, not because our fellow competitors below were pushing us up, but simply because the tide was so strong. We sneaked in with not a lot of room to spare and immediately tacked onto port out into the deeper water.
The beat down the Solent was reasonably uneventful and we were just getting used to sailing the boat upwind in a heavy breeze, without much weight on the rail. We stayed pretty much in the deep water navigation channel all the way down to Hurst, rather than favouring mainland or Island side and gradually made up ground on those in front. As we approached Hurst we experienced some small overfalls which were an indication of bigger things to come!
Once through Hurst we tried to hug the southern edge of the Shingles bank, until we were past the Needles lighthouse. Here the overfalls were quite something, halving boat speed at times and ensuring that everyone on board got a thorough soaking. Luckily both air and water temperature were warm.
We over-stood the Fairway buoy slightly, easy to do when trying to judge the lay-line with that tide and water state and rounded with we think, with about 16 boats ahead of us. We settled onto a white sail reach, slightly higher than the rhumb line to the North Head mark and after about 10 mins decided to hoist our smaller, heavier wind spinnaker, on starboard gybe. Once up, we enjoyed some pretty exhilarating sailing downwind hitting a top speed of around 19 knots and making up good ground on the leading pack. Deciding not to gybe on that leg, we flew the kite until we were about ½ mile west of North Head when we the dropped it and gybed under white sail to pass the mark and continue into the Hurst narrows.
Once through Hurst and into the Solent, we gybed onto port and hoisted our larger “AP” spinnaker and chose to favour the mainland side of the channel, in shallower water and out of the worst of the still west going tide. We could see boats much further inshore and also boats behind us deeper in the main channel so it was balancing act between good angles and watching for the change in tide. Eventually, we decided it was time to cross over to the other side, as our boat speed and SOG numbers started to match.
All was going so well until about 1.5 miles to go to the finish we had an issue with our AP snagging on something up the rig which ripped the head off and continued, to our dismay, to unzip the tape on both sides! We dropped it straight away, obviously, and did the final part of that leg under jib and main only.
All in all, a great day out on the water, our second JOG outing and we learnt a lot about Jacana and how she handles in those conditions. We hope everyone else enjoyed themselves too. Now, where’s that spinnaker tape…
19 July 2020
As Great Escapes go, this one started badly - trapped above the starboard layline by a wall of boats we were forced above Gurnard and had to tack, gybe round and wait for a gap before we could actually cross the start line. Our only consolation was that we weren't the only boat to do so... From there it was a case of never give up, as we fought our way up the Solent working hard to get clear air and stay in the strongest tide. Tacking was physically tiring in the strong winds, but the marks along the Solent en route to Needles Fairway added interest. The wind built, and we needed to depower our full mainsail and number 3 jib as we bounced over the waves to Fairway, trying to maintain our slender lead over Scream 2. As we approached the Fairway it was a case of holding on for dear life on the bow through the bigger waves in order to clip the spinnaker on ready for the bear away.
After Fairway we were one of a handful of boats to brave a kite, hoisting our smaller A5. After a bit of excitement setting it and wrestling the jib to the foredeck it was nicely under control and we enjoyed surfs of 14-15 knots, with big grins on our faces. We worked our way through the fleet, with a wary eye on the Shingles Bank to leeward. After North Head we reached under white sails to Hurst, losing out to Dusty P who was further inshore out of the foul tide. We decided to go close inshore at Hurst itself, to make amends, only to have to luff sharply when the depth alarm went off - the depth fell to an alarming 0.9m before we escaped the Trap and made our way into the Solent.
We had debated tactics at Hurst. An early gybe followed by a spinnaker hoist felt too risky with so little time before the shallows. Did we white sail gybe out of the tide or bear away and get the spinnaker up straight away? When it came to it, Rob called for a spinnaker hoist and by the time we'd wrestled the jib down we were mid-Solent and too late to seek tidal relief on the mainland shore. We headed for the island, sailing deep under our S3 symmetric. On the run we had a very civilised crossing with Emily of Cowes - they found themselves to leeward, wanting to go high under asymmetric but unable to sail through our lee; we wanted to go deep. We had a quick chat and agreed that we'd sail low, allowing them to cut behind us, so we could each sail our courses. The wind was kind to us, allowing us to lay the finish line without gybing. We finishing tired but happy after a tough race, and certainly felt we'd earned our post race beer. COVID provided one more hurdle - the need to jump through hoops, download an app, navigate various menus and pass through layers of security before we could actually order a beer - but my it tasted good.
Thanks to JOG for getting us racing, and for setting a fun and challenging course that certainly made the most of the conditions.
16 July 2020
15 July 2020
It seems that my updates are coming thick and fast as the, ever changing, Covid guidelines evolve. We have been very busy behind the scenes reviewing our own programme and activities, not to mention monitoring all that is going on around us.
The Lonely Tower race, on its rescheduled date, saw 120 boats out on the water on a classic sea breeze day and, if the feedback is anything to go by, was enjoyed by several hundred crew and race staff who have been champing at the bit to get back out there. JOG has led the way with a framework that does its best to keep everyone safe. For some, the crew restrictions imposed have not been as flexible as other clubs. However, you only have to look at how difficult the on-board social distancing was to achieve, to realise that multiple crew from non-family groups verges on irresponsible. We have taken, and considered, advice from all quarters, including our National sailing bodies, and are sticking behind our early stance that we would be “socially responsible” in our own prescriptions. We can see that others are choosing to interpret the guidelines in their own way but, if you assume that someone in the crew steps aboard with infection, our own policies offer some real chance of not passing it on to everyone. You only have to think about crew in normal times with a common cold to see why we continue to be massively concerned. We are monitoring outcomes and will continue to make changes as things settle down and the sport develops. In the meantime, the cooperation and support from you all is very much appreciated. The last thing we want is a further embargo on racing in the event that we see a spread of the virus as a direct result of our activities.
We have had a number of virtual committee and flag officer meetings and, to assist in your planning, we have taken the decision to announce that we will not be holding our annual Dinner and Prizegiving. We are, of course, disappointed but it is in line with our policy of prudence, even if there are further social relaxations which may make it possible.
Similarly, with no prospect of presenting trophies, we have suspended the points series, as such, until we have a new start next year. We are still not able to plan any offshore races and the limited remaining coastal, cat 4 races, will almost certainly be run on our current format. We will, however, be awarding informal prizes as we go along and, as there are no immediate prospects of a social get together, we will be awarding JOG vouchers as prizes which will be added to your account (if you are in the podium spaces) so you can use them against race entry fees or purchases from the JOG Shop for Polo Shirts, flags and burgees. You will find them when you next use the checkout. Non members will still be able to find and use them! Shame on you for not joining though!
As I write this, the Great Escape race is nearly here. The virtual race briefings and our recent two-handed webinar are new innovations by us and have been informative and well received. Whatever the world is doing, we are doing our very best, and putting in the effort, to give all our members the best experience that circumstances will allow.