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.