18 August 2018 – Race Day

Start position
Folly Inn
Start time
Start engine hours
Distance travelled
Finish position
Shepards Marina, Cowes
Finish time
Finish engine hours
Louise, Tim, Lyn
  • Wind WSW 4-5
  • Overcast
  • HW Portsmouth: 0521 4.2m 1750 4.3m
  • LW Portsmouth: 1033 1.5m 2306 1.7m
  • LW Folly Inn 10:30 1.5m
New faults
Np->Sp %
There’s a strong ebb tide running as the rafts of gaffers untangle themselves, but everyone gets away safely. There are reported to be close to 70 boats racing today. We motor down the river to collect Tim and Lyn from Shepards, along with sausage baguettes. We have plenty of time and the conditions look good for the topsail. It’s easy to drop if the wind builds further.
We get a decent start, coming in on starboard and tacking across the line to head out to ‘Quinnell’. We’ve got the big smack ‘My Alice’ a little below us, with ‘Aeolus’ below her. ‘Hester’ and ‘Cynthia’ have both got away well at the front, with ‘Jolie Brise’ powering along well to windward. Our main competition ‘Nomad’ and ‘Lyra’ are further back. We’re almost laying the mark, with the flood tide just starting to pull us North.
‘My Alice’ is climbing at us from below, but we’re just able to match her for line and speed. Helming from the leeward side, with the staysail in bar tight I can see the tell tales and drive hard. Eventually ‘My Alice’ slides beneath us as we both have to avoid the red ‘NE Gurnard’ buoy, but she’s dropping away down wind. ‘Jolie Brise’ is first to the mark, but it’s now clear that it’s the next mark ‘The Elephant Boatyard’ that matters. We carry straight on and tack close in shore. ‘My Alice’ is behind us now. As we come back out we can see the tide pulling us 30 degrees off course. We tack back in. Our speed instantly jumps from 4kts to 6.5kts. We go as close to the beach as we dare (it’s low tide), then tack out along Lepe Spit and head across. We’ve gained hugely on the boats that tried to go straight across. As we close on the island shore we’re ahead of ‘Jolie Brise’ and leading the fleet. We pass just East of ‘Gurnard Ledge’ buoy. There’s nowhere to hide from the tide here, but we short tack as close to the rocks we dare. It’s slow progress and the big boats (along with ‘Dirty Girty’!) are closing on us, although we can see that they’re all going sideways. Everyone’s working well and a series of smart tacks keep us moving. After 20 minutes we inch around the rocks into Thorness Bay. From there it’s a couple more tacks in shallow water to get to the mark.
We’re first around and open up the gap as we reach up to the next mark. Then it’s a gybe and we’re up to 9kts back across the Solent. We’re almost 2 legs ahead of the next boat, ‘Jolie Brise’. A couple more careful gybes and we’re heading back into Cowes for the final beat. The wind is up and the topsail probably isn’t helping any more. ‘Jolie Brise’ is storming across the gap at speed, but there’s nobody else in sight.
It’s back to short tacking to keep out of the tide at Cowes. We’re well practiced now and are delighted to cross the line first. Looking back we see that ’Jolie Brise’ has been too keen to catch us and needs to use her engine after going too far inshore. Twenty minutes later we watch ‘Nomad’ and ‘Cynthia’ chasing 2nd across the line, only to see ‘Dirty Girty’ ahead of them. We head into Shepards Marina for lunch and a well earned beer!
We’ve had a great race in perfect conditions for ‘Ivy Green’, but it’s been a tough day for the smaller boats. At the prize giving we learn that only 20 boats completed the course, with stories of it taking well over an hour to get into Thorness Bay from those that followed. We were lucky to be there early. The race had a 5hr time limit and various boats persevered to use every minute of that, along with a few that got round, but outside the time. Somehow we’ve won 4 trophies for one race – First boat home, first in class 1B (Over 28ft, under 50 years), first square keel and first Solent boat overall. The last of these is the ‘Commodore’s Pennant’. There’s also a piece of the broken dinghy tiller from yesterday!
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