The forecast was F4 to 5, occasionally 6 later, but the reality was a F5 to start, becoming F6 with big gusts of over 30 knots in the afternoon.
Details of the three inshore races get a bit hazy but it just got windier and windier. Flag Yankee denoted compulsory lifejackets, and the no kites rule was brought into force. A couple of boats started with a reefed main. By race two quite a few were reefed but we found that the extra speed downwind allowed for some occasional surfing and more than made up for the rounding ups upwind.
At times the biggest problem was avoiding other boats that were struggling to keep control. We wanted to stay close inshore upwind, but the gusts under Norris were fearsome. Add to the mix a succession of very big ships coming through what they called the main channel and we called the race area. At one point we even furled the headsail so we could stop and wait for an inbound container ship and attendant pilot vessel.
By the last race most were reefed (including ourselves) and a few double reefed. Everybody was wet including the helm.
We were 11th, 6th and 15th.
An exhausting day but great fun.