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.