Tuesday, 28 May 2013
A race with several key stages:
1) starting at the north end of the RYS line with a minority of yachts, we kept in clear air and out of the flooding tide. Crucially this put amongst the lead yachts as we left the Solent past the Needles.
2) tacking west against the wind, along St Alban's Ledge to make the most of the faster tide over the ledges, then catching the last of the west going tide off Portland Bill.
3) easing sheets slightly to punch through the waves we bore off into Lyme Bay, in search of the new wind, forecast to veer towards the north-west. We almost ran out sea room at Beer Head when the wind shifted 100 degrees, allowing us to tack, hoist spinnaker and close reach directly towards Start Point where we caught the last of the southerly tide. By this stage we were surrounded by faster Class 2 boats - great for motivation.
4) off Prawle Point the inevitable drop in wind and change in tide meant we were destined to spend many hours gliding north & south barely holding our own against the tide as the rest of the fleet caught up. But as one of the most south-westerly positioned boats we were first to pick up the new zephyrs of wind from the west to keep us amongst the leaders around the Eddystone Lighthouse.
5) the most critical stage was to happen off Start Point where we noticed a boat inshore had picked up a counter current - the start of the turn of the tide. Gybing inshore we took full advantage of the current with our speed over the ground almost 4 knots faster than those still offshore.
At each stage we felt we had chosen the winning strategy, only to be frustrated by the wind and tide as the fleet bunched up again. But our sprint away from Start Point was never going to be easy to beat and was the final tactic that paid dividends - all credit to Jeremy for spotting it.
Monday, 27 May 2013
Jeremy, for tirelessly gybing the spinnaker and will no doubt be suffering tomorrow for his efforts.
To Sophie, who surprised me with this delicious cake upon returning home victorious.
And to Grace and Martine for supporting us in our adventures.
ps - this now sets a very high bar for the Fastnet Race starting on 11th August!
Sunday, 5 May 2013
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