30 July 2019
Skipper: Kate Cope Co-skipper: Bobby Drummond Purple Mist
The next race in the JOG inshore series was Weymouth . I’m currently lying in second place overall in 2H in this series so everything to play for to keep my place. It’s fair to stay so far we’ve had some light wind races and I’ve benefited from others retiring but as they say “you need to be in it to win it!”
I was joined by Rob who is super experienced on his J105 Bigfoot ( don’t ask ...still in Falmouth with a wobbly keel) but it was his first race on a Sunfast 3200. Still hopes were high he could bring some magic speed to Purple Mist.
We had a pretty hopeless start behind the fleet, only one boat was more hopeless and was shoved out the windward end of the line and had to loop back.Normally I’m good at starts so this was a bit disappointing.
It was a lovely reach out the Solent in touch with the fleet. 12kts of wind from the NW and all the fleet were sailing well so hard to catch up. We overtook Fury the other Sunfast 3200 at the Needles and were doing ok across Poole Bay.
We stayed out a bit at Anvil and St Albans to take advantage of the stronger tide and not loose the NW wind which paid off. The inshore boats did loose the wind a bit.
After St Albans it was head to wind , tacking to the end with the wind at 16kts. Bright sunshine made for a lovely sail but the boat was a bit overpowered so we struggled to make top speed. The last tack was very favourable as we had gone out towards Portland Bill and benefitted for the tide and a wind shift to almost make the final mark. Just a quick tack at the end and we were done. Weymouth in record time!
Final position was 4th in 2H so I think my 2nd overall is maintained. Only 8th from 9 boats in Class 5 was not so great but that same corrected time would have put us 3rd in Class 5.
We moored up on the Cove (South ) side in Weymouth which was a first. It’s a bit quieter and nearer the Weymouth sailing club which welcomed the JOG fleet for drinks and food. I had the unexpected honour of being presented a bottle of bubbly as a well done for completing AZAB race which was very thoughtful.
Sunday was a festival to celebrate 150years of Weymouth lifeboat. There was 4 or 5 historic lifeboats at the quay fully dressed ready to make a parade of boats with the current lifeboat.
Sundays cruise back was downwind and we tried the spinnaker net I made to prevent wraps. It looks ok and would be useful in a rolly sea. On Sunday we wrapped the S2 twice gybing and then the net doesn’t help as you need to take it down to gybe the symmetrical spinnaker.
So overall a very enjoyable weekend and better prepared for the next race which is Fastnet on Saturday.
23 July 2019
I was lost in France ...St Malo race
Skipper: Kate Cope Co-skipper: Bobby Drummond Purple Mist
No sooner had we got back from Azab then it was off to France on the Rorc St Malo race. This was our Fastnet qualifier so important that we finish to avoid debates about miles completed. We still had our broken kicker but the forecast was favourable and the pink dyneema doing a good job holding the kicker on the boom.
Expedition was promising less than 24hrs but given last year we took 66hrs I was not sure to believe the software. Last year we had some great success in this race winning the Spica trophy for a second year running ( best boat in IRC 4 under 38’ sailed by 3 or more friends and family) . Also with Bigfoot we won the John West trophy for the best 2 boat team from a yacht club amazingly beating the Fast 40 InoXXX and Baraka GP. To be fair we beat them as they gave up the race ...but you have to be in it to win it and if you give up you loose !
The race had 180 boats entered and the IRC 3 start was crazy. As you see from this picture we had a great start with Purple Mists generously proportioned rear end snuggled up with the lead boats. A French boat tried a tricky manoeuvre on the start barging in and was protested. Another windward boat to us was not making the yellow buoy marking the end of the line so decided to squeeze into us bumping us in the process so we protested them as the windward boat has to keep clear and we quickly attached the red protest flag to the rail.
We had a great run out to the Needles ahead of Joy a JPK who has done so well in AZAB. Friday afternoon we were still ahead of Zest however as we came off the wind we struggled to increase speed - something we need to work on.
As night fell the wind incresead to 18kts and went behind to 120’. We needed the A5 but for those that have read my AZAB blog and Cervantes you will know that the A5 is the naughtiest sail on the boat with the tendency to cling to and wrap around the forestay rather than catch the wind. With new crew aboard and in the dark I decided to be cautious and stick to white sails.....and so had to suffer boats overtaking us.
By Les Hanois lighthouse off Guernsey the wind has reduced and gone further behind so despite the dark it was time to throw caution to the wind and hoist the S2 which Is anyway a better behaved sail. A lovely spinnaker run down to St Malo keeping pace and overhauling various boats. A slight wrap was quickly unraveled and we finished in just less than 24hrs ...just as expedition had predicted...what clever software !
St Malo really is a beautiful city and we wanted to lock into the inner harbour to be under the city walls and avoid the 40minute walk. Rather than jostle with the rest of the fleet on the waiting buoys outside the lock we picked up a mooring buoy off Dinard on the opposite shore and enjoyed bacon and eggs with a fantastic view.
The lock is was the busiest I’d ever seen it with at least 30boats jostling for position. Knowing the lock is massive and we would all get in we hung back and were last boat in rafted onto a guy with “St Malo sailing “ on his shirt.....I figured he must know what he is doing.
Inside was busy but there is always room on the wall so we nipped into the last spot and welcomed Sheevra and Jangada to raft onto us.
Sunday we enjoyed a lovely walk out to the islands at low tide . We spotted some beach catamarans but resisted more sailing.
At the prize giving ceremony I learnt that my Purple Ensign had made the pages of the Royal Naval sailing association members forum with a discussion on whether its faded blue or really purple. Yes it really is Purple, I made it that way, and worse than that it’s defaced with a penguin! In Salcombe recently someone asked me if it was from the Falkland Islands Yacht club !
Here is my track outside the big sea lock into the inner harbour and eventual mooring spot. Lots of circling but no need to jostle as bags of room in the lock.
Sunday was Bastille day July 14th. We had a fabulous lunch at a little restaurant we found inside the city walls and were treated to most fantastic fireworks display in the evening. Well worth staying for.
Monday we set off for home dropping in on Dielette which makes a very convenient stopover being much more on the route than St Peter Port or Braye. Also walk ashore pontoons and convenient restaurant. It also is positioned favourably to catch 10kts of tide up the race ...yes STW was 5kts and SOG was 15kts !! Home in to Hamble in record time.
20 June 2019
Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels announced as sponsor of the JOG Cowes to Weymouth Race
The Junior Offshore Group (JOG) announced today that Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels will be sponsoring their Cowes to Weymouth, Yacht, Race.
Dougie Leacy, JOG Captain, had this to say: ”I look forward to, not only presenting their prizes at the Weymouth Sailing Club on 27th July but welcome their generous two part, sponsorship which will also enable JOG to offer its members preferential accommodation rates for our Annual Dinner and Prize Giving to be held on the 7th December in Southampton. JOG will announce the offer to its members very soon when tickets become available. Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels are a first class Southampton brand and this allies itself well to one of the South Coast’s premier offshore sailing clubs”.
About the Junior Offshore Group
JOG has focused since 1950 on making coastal and offshore racing accessible to Corinthian boats. While taking yacht racing seriously, they value sportsmanship and their community above all else.
JOG run about 16 yacht racing events each season split 50/50 with inshore and offshore races between 30 and 180 miles per race.
JOG is run by and for its members and few sailors haven’t heard of, or competed in, a JOG race.
About Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels
Jurys Inn is part of Leonardo Hotels, the group that includes the landmark Royal Hotel Southampton Grand Harbour.
Jurys Inn hotels are ideally situated in city centres across the UK, Ireland and the Czech Republic. Their hotels provide guests with extremely convenient locations from which to enjoy local attractions and are renowned for their superb customer service and friendly welcome.
20 June 2019
JOG members can now track their JOG miles and hours for completed races. Members can opt to be included in the public leaderboards on the JOG site and automatically be entered for prizes at the end of the season. Simply log in to your MyJOG account, select MyJOG Miles and set a public name of how you would like to be known then select the option to be included on the public leaderboards.
You can also see all your achievements as a crew member or skipper for this and past seasons.
If you’re not a current member, supporting JOG by joining is simple, just click on the Join button on the website. Crew Membership is only £21 per year; this all goes towards supporting JOG, who are a non-profit making organisation run by and for members.
Members’ also benefit from discounts from our partners, including Exposure Lights and a soon to be announced major marine clothing company. You can access our expanding membership benefits here: https://www.jog.org.uk/members-benefits/
21 May 2019
So after a friendly night in Yarmouth catching up with the Joggers it was time for the race home Sunday.
The start line was crowded again and very little wind but we set off close hauled up the Solent to the first mark Quinnell, just beyond Lepe Spit. We didn’t get the best start but we were slightly more south than the rest of the fleet and this was to our advantage as this was where the wind was. As the lead boats sailed into a wind hole on the north shore before Beaulieu , we tacked back south along with Just So and Mzungu and we sailed past the leaders. For a while this position was looking very very good.
With the very last of the tide the fleet started to bunch up around Lepe spit, I’ve never been North of the South Cardinal before... but hey ho it was high water and others were closer in ... and Fortune favours the brave (The last time I said that was on RORC Cervantes and the result was the Spinnaker wrap that crashed us out of the race) . Anyway we sailed over Lepe spit with 1m under the keel... plenty of depth!
Then in a cruel twist that is racing the wind died.... and the tide strengthen.... and so the fleet went back over Lepe spit inside the cardinal. This time we had less than 1m under the keel, and the engine running in neutral just in case. Then some wind appeared so we carried on, again back over Lepe spit.
Our position was not too bad as we now set off upwind to make Prince Consort. Over to Bramble bank, again inside the buoys to get uptide of Prince consort. At this point Mzungu was past us but many boats had gone too far, caught by a wind shift so we were still ok. Also plenty of boats had retired due to the lack of wind so we knew we had already beaten a few.
In the end It was another tack to get round Prince consort which lost us a bit of time but we were headed for the end, tide whisking us along we decided to make the most and even though it was a short distance fly the S2 to the end.... what an error! The wind shifted off ahead of us off Cowes and complete died, so now we have an S2 flapping against the forestay that needed to get snuffed ASAP. The heading was not good enough to get inside the final buoy of the line so ourselves and Nimrod drifted past the line outside the outer mark of Gurnard. This was a disaster! White sails were not enough to make progress against the tide so in a slight SW breeze the S2 went up again so we could claw our way back up tide and cross the line.
Finally we made it and placed 4th out of 7 in 2H so not too bad. I’m now anxiously waiting the updated seasons points as after 3 races I think I might be second in the inshore series... which is a bit of a result given my sum total ever of round the cans races is only 5.
21 May 2019
Compared to AZAB (2400 miles) a race to Yarmouth from Cowes (20miles) should be a doddle. However to make any race boats go you need wind and today there was very little about this morning.
The first attempt to start JOG class 4 was aborted as too many boats were OCS ( =over the line) we were a little way back so on the restart it gave us a chance to get closer. Even closer with such a strong tide it took us, and many others , 4 minutes and lots of tacks to get over the line. First mark was east knoll so we headed off straight over the top of Bramble bank ...this is ok as it was high tide.
Round the first mark we had a good swop to the code zero and thought we were doing ok until a J105 came past. Just before the mark our friends on Azygos had overtaken us ...neither of us know where their wind came from.
Then it was a long leg down to Newton creek, initially the boats that stayed north like Mzungu looked like they had more wind but then the wind dropped for all of us and the better course was the south side with the tide taking us to the mark. By this time we felt a long way back but we beat Mzungu to the mark. Then we were in luck , a lot of the lead boats had been swept past the next mark on the tide. We zoomed across on the code zero and nearly made the mark but the wind died and it was too close , I turned downwind but then lost speed so joined the pile of boats trying to gybe there way round the mark . This was really frustrating as we had the chance to sweep by the fleet. Third time lucky we made it.
The it was 2 tacks to round the last mark and we were finished I was delighted to be 3rd out of 11 in doubled handed class and 11/16 in class 4 though only 5 minutes of 6th place Same again tomorrow as we race home.
08 May 2019
Well, that was very interesting!
We are still learning about Sapphire and the differences between a design originating in the 60’s and one from the late 90’s. After the excitement of Friday night we can truthfully say that what was testing on Sapphire would have been truly frightening on Ariane. The assertion that you can still have directional control down the face of a breaking wave, and that you can hit speeds of 15 knots just under a double reefed main and no headsail would have been met with sarcastic laughter from Ariane’s crew this time last year. To reinforce the difference between the two designs, throughout the night Seb was able to keep the on-watch crew supplied with hot drinks and snacks, even whilst your correspondent was driving (a man known far and wide for his incompetence at helming downwind); that would have been impossible a year ago.
With winds forecast to veer from the west to north-east after the start, possibly rising to force 4, we planned accordingly. Choosing the small spinnaker was dictated by the likelihood of the heavier winds being at night and deciding not to ship anything smaller than a no.2 (apart from storm sails of course) by the expectation that anything smaller wouldn’t be needed – how wrong can you be?
We had one of our best starts ever, crossing the line a close second to Virago and we stayed at the head of the fleet some way past Bembridge Ledge, but as the wind veered and the sea became unpleasantly knobbly we failed to gybe early enough. When at last we gybed it took five minutes and a couple of wraps, so dropped the spinny put in one reef and put up the Code 0 which took us through the growing breeze until about 3 a.m. when the sheet decided it was drop time and released itself. It must have been prescient, because almost immediately the wind added a couple of forces and left us having to sail bareheaded, having no sensibly sized headsails on board. Quite soon a second reef was needed, but our speed didn’t drop, quite the reverse, our highest speed and longest surfs were recorded under this rig.
Like many boats we suffered some damage; in our case splits to a couple of the mainsail’s panels and loss of the main’s luff tape, but fortunately no damage to the 28 day rib-eye steaks that our new fridge has allowed us to carry as survival rations. We would not have chosen to in those wind speeds in the dark and rain, but having done so, we have gained confidence in the ability of Sapphire to look after us when things get tough – a great result in its own right.
29 April 2019
This was our second race on new Purple Mist after JOG Nab Tower earlier in April and our first race with her overnight. New Purple Mist is a Sunfast 3200R2 and is a bit faster and feistier than her older sister we were racing on last year.
The start was very calm and with a strong spring tide running the main priority was not to be OCS. We started upwind but soon after the start boats started peeling to zeros and spinnakers. So up went the S2 and we floated on light airs down to the forts. At this point the fleet were bunched together so I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the fleet.
Juliette Off to a strong start
Overtaking Hair of the Dog
Sheevra looking gorgeous
Ahead of the eventual Class 4 and 2H winners All or Nothing
After Bembridge it was all downwind, but which gybe to take many were sailing far west but we decided to try and get south having seen the wind was going to start to die from the North we were trying to head for the stronger winds. As the tide turned East though this meant we were swept East of the rhumb line, however we weren’t too concerned as with light winds we were sure we would be in the West bound tide at the end.
Midnight our position looked good just east of Barfleur, we were 5NM behind Juliette and 1NM behind Hair of the dog when we all gybed for Cherbourg. Under the A5 and the big spring tide were making 10kts SOG with only 15NM to run and 6 hours of west bound tide.... what could possibly go wrong?
Well the thing about sailboats is they need wind to move and in a cruel twist of weather with 2 NM to the line the wind died. Never mind we still had a few hours of west bound tide.... but it was not enough. At 5am we started going backwards and were sat off the east entrance to Cherbourg. I didn’t think the ferries would appreciate a yacht kedged in the entrance, so we basically held station by squeezing every 1/10th of a knot out of the boat with all sorts of creative sail set ups. As we sail double handed and were by now well into our watch system most of this work was single handed.
New Rig for TWA 180° : Poled out Code Zero, Preventer on the Main Finally, at the tide turned and the wind increased we made the finish line, 11:29am just before the race finish deadline of 12noon. We were glad to get the message the party had been delayed so enjoyed a well-earned drink and our Easter egg prize for perseverance. The race home to Cowes was cancelled which for us was not too disappointing. We needed to complete our 300mile qualifying passage for the Azores and back race in June and starting in Cherbourg made for a more interesting course. Saturday afternoon we took full advantage of the westbound tide and headed off down the Alderney race under S2 (14.3kts SOG!!). The sunset over Sark was glorious with the Sahara dust turning the sky red. Then down to the French coast, round the Roches Douvres off Treguier, over to Eddystone and back to Hamble.
15 April 2019
Our congratulations to JOG Captain, Dougie Leacy and Ruth Coll who married on Saturday 13th April. Celebrations will continue in Cherbourg this weekend! Best wishes from all the members.
- Martin Banfield, JOG Secretary