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.