Friday, 5 June 2009

Hello clouds, hello wind ...

The day dawned bright, a bit chilly, and by no means wind-free. A ten o'clock warning signal meant that crews could recover from a late night.

The course was out east to Warner, just beyond the forts, then back to Spit Sand fort. The tide was building strongly against the start so most chose to start inshore, even amongst the moorings just off the Shrape. It was a spinnker reach but approaching the headland of Norris the wind was really fluky and those who had gone offshore seemed to have the better of it. As the wind came ahead many were forced to bear away, while others dropped their kites. Our aim was to stay over the banks but whatever we did we were slow and fell behind.

From here things were uneventful. We rounded Warner with 21 a long way in front, and 5 a long way behind. So we just relaxed while trying not to take our collective eye off the ball. We crossed the finish line (Spit Sand bearing 270) at 13.38 and headed for Portsmouth and Port Solent. Not a great performance for us but we had sailed every course without major mishap and had used the kite on every downwind leg and even the occasional close reach. A great week. Enough said.

Dinner at eight

Last night something like 200 sailors assembled at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes to celebrate another successful IDOR and to award prizes. Matching crew shirts were widespread, and spirits were up. Prizes were awarded by CSSA Commodor Alex Allan, while "Mr IDOR" Pete Shuttleworth played master of ceremonies. Despite the cancellation of racing during the day many of the fleet had taken to the Solent and enjoyed the afternoon's breezes, while others had headed to the Folly or the creeks, so appetites were honed for a delicious meal centred on rack of lamb.

My crew were a bit disappointed by the potato ration but they'll be all the better for it in the next light wind regatta. They also expanded their culinary vocabulary to include such exotic terminology as "tian".

For me the highlight of the night was Trevor Drew auctioning off his foredeck crew in aid of the RNLI. I think £81 was raised. I should say that this wasn't a permanent arrangement - just a foredeck swap for Friday's racing. Great idea Trev.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Racing called off for the day

Sitting in the Yacht Haven, racing having been abandoned for the day. The Bramble Bank weather station is showing 8 knots but the crew have defected to Cowes town.

The marina is filling up with boats for the IRC regatta which starts tomorrow.

More light winds

We started racing on time, at 8:30 this morning, heading east to North Ryde Middle but before too long the wind died and one by one the yachts starting crossing the line backwards as the tide strengthened. We now await Race Control's decision at 13.00, as to whether we resume racing. We are hopeful of a bit of breeze later but we'll see. Meanwhile those crew who aren't dismantling the water system in the boat have gone shopping in Cowes.


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

At last, some wind

After spending most of the morning enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation we decided to go out for a sail just after 11. We found 14 knots of wind and were spotted from the ISC race office, so a race was quickly convened and we had a cracking couple of races in the afternoon.

Our boat didn't do particularly well in the results but we had great fun sailing round the course and using our lovely orange kite at every opportunity. The sun shone and it was warm. Tomorrow we have more inshore stuff and on Friday there is talk of an offshore race to Bembridge. Wooohoo!


Waiting for wind

We are all sitting in Cowes Yacht Haven enjoying the morning sunshine. Racing is postponed pending review at midday. The wind out in the solent is about 3 knots, but forecast to pick up a bit in afternoon. Slightly frustrating, particularly after yesterday, but this is sailing. Watch this space.


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Pooh sticks in the solent

The morning started bright and early with a west-going tide, a light breeze from the north with just a bit of east in it, and a fleet of bleary-eyed IDOR competitors jilling around just to the east of the start line. We got off to an indifferent start but made good time inshore on the island side before we blew it, going inshore for the Yarmouth-Hurst slingshot. This put us much further down the fleet.

From here the fun began. We skirted Hurst spit and arrived at the North Head buoy around 9.30 with the tide not due to turn east until 12.00, and the wind failing. We spent forever jousting off Hurst - as much time going backwards as upwind. The wind came and went but the upshot of it all was that only half a dozen boats finished inside the time and we were timed out within spitting distance of the finish line.

By then everybody was roasted in the sun and happy to knock racing on the head for the day. At 3.30 this was made official. Three or four boats including this club's Captain managed to find the bottom in an attempt to cheat the tide by going inshore.

A frustrating and hot day. Tomorrow looks cooler but not an windier, so the RTI has been canned and we are going to have as many short races as the wind allows.

Time for a few cold ones now.


Monday, 1 June 2009

Day one - practice

After a long wait for the Sunsail guys to fix the windex we were off at, oh, 11 o'clock this morning. The wind had been blowing surprisingly strongly in the early hours but by the time we hit the Solent it was pretty modest. We hoisted the kite and headed towards Cowes to pick up Young Nick. The kite and main are crisp and point really high. Fingers are now clearly crossed for some wind for the week because things are looking a bit marginal.

Tomorrow is the "offshore", probably out to North Head. And hopefully back. We will see.