Last year we introduced a real race on the Monday after several years of "phoney war" Mondays. The idea had a mixed reception, in part due to the lively conditions we experienced, which limited the practice that was practical. This year it seemed to work better as we just popped out of the Hamble and straight into some tacking practice in Southampton Water.
A bear away down to the Solent proper and a reach off up the western solent eventually led to some tentative spinnaker work. The assymetric spinnakers were easy to handle and encouraged a bit of adventure. We managed a few hoists before heading over to Cowes and the Island Sailing Club start line for the first race. This was to be a simple offshore race but somehow this hadn't got through to the Island Sailing Club who set a course round the cans. With a downwind and downtide start this was a bit of a baptism of fire that would have been a problem with a different boat. As it was we managed fine, until the first spinnaker leg.
During the hoist the kite halyard shackle came off and we were left with a flailing halyard half way up the mast. Nobody fancied a mid-Solent climb so we settled for a series of white sail downwind legs which was a bit frustrating but this only counted for single points despite being an "offshore" race, right? Wrong - the SIs hadn't included this piece of information so the committee had to award double points.
Anyway we didn't exactly set the field on fire as we were so slow downwind but we regained some ground on each upwind leg finishing 16th out of the 18 boats.