Report from Black Diamond, Class 5, Cowes Yarmouth.
Going through the identity gate we waved our coffee mugs at JOG1 to show that the Skipper had remembered to put this vital piece of safety equipment onboard this time! (See Race Report for St Vaast).
We didn’t have a brilliant start because it was a bit congested with boats doing exactly the same as us – trying to spill wind and weave around to avoid going over the line with the tide behind us.
After our fairly average start we made an early gybe offshore. This really paid off for us as we avoided what looked to be a very congested tussle inshore – with lots of dirty wind. As a result we had a respectable lead by the time we reached Hill Head.
Thereafter we had a good race, and didn’t really make any technical or tactical mistakes – on the review we reckoned we’d have done much the same. However as a quick boat on handicap it was always going to be tough to get a really good result with the tide building very significantly behind us.
On the plus side the sun came out, we finished before midday and had a very pleasant afternoon sitting on the sun terrace at RSYC drinking beer. What a contrast to the rain and cold of St Vaast!
Oh yes, plus it was Team BD crew member Ella’s birthday so we got to celebrate that in style with the cutting of a birthday cake shortly after coming alongside in Yarmouth (and yes that was us playing Stevie Wonder “Happy Birthday” at full volume in Yarmouth Harbour)…. So now you know why! (And also that the navigator has dodgy 80’s music on his iPhone)…
Black Diamond, Class 5, Yarmouth to Cowes
A very close race for us in the Western Solent. Longue Pierre and Alchemist were breathing down our necks as we did the leg from Hamstead Ledge to West Lepe. The chart plotter showed the next leg to Salt Mead as being 144 degrees and with the instruments showing TWA fairly constant at 40 degrees we figured we could just about carry our reaching spinnaker albeit for a short leg.
Longue Pierre got just ahead of us at West Lepe but having our spinnaker rigged really paid off and we pulled ahead of them again to round Salt Mead first.
From Lepe Spit we were able to grow the lead very slightly as we had our #1 headsail up and it looked like they had their #3 up.
The leg from Hill Head to East Bramble would have been perfect for our reaching spinnaker, and we’d had the foresight to re-pack it. Unfortunately we thought the leg from East Bramble to the line would relatively down wind so rather than hoist the reaching one and then drop it to hoist the running one we decided to fly the running one all the way from Hill Head.
We immediately regretted that decision as we were really struggling to make East Bramble and as we rounded it we found that it was a tight spinnaker reach to the line. Mark Brown on the helm and Tom Aitkenhead trimming had their work cut out to get us to the line. We feared that the wrong choice of spinnaker might cost us a lot of time but we seemed to maintain the gap with the rest of the fleet despite fighting with the spinnaker all the way to the line.
We were relatively inshore at the line with insufficient space to run downwind to drop the spinnaker so we had a very hairy and rapid drop just after we crossed the line – and a rather wet spinnaker and crew as a result!
Report from Red Zeppelin, Class 3
What promised to be a damp weekend turned out pretty nice after all.
Friday evening I had promised to meet up with a chap who wanted me to test an AIS transmitter on Red Zeppelin. The unit is stand-alone USB rechargeable battery powered and is supposed to last for 5 days on one charge. We fitted the unit to the push-pit in 5mins and with the MMSI and boat details coded into the unit from his laptop, we were ready to test. If you look on the Red Zeppelin Face book page, you can see the plot of our Saturday race as seen by Chris, who was unable to sail with us at the weekend. The unit is not on the Market yet but may fill the gap for boats, which already have receivers wishing to do CAT 2 races.
From thinking that Don & I were going to do the race 2 handed due to lack of crew we suddenly found 4 Graduates (not allowed to call them Students any more), Bob and Trudy now eight up. A few weeks prior to the race, I had invited Cougar to eat on board on the Saturday evening as long as Billy provided pudding and Dougie provided booze. All agreed; we had 16 for “Hairy Biker’s Lamb Vindaloo” and Chicken Jalfrezi, Nan Bread Onion Bahgees and Rice all followed by a super Summer Pudding from Billy accompanied by Red and White wines from Dougie’s Vin Yard.
Fully loaded with the contents of the average Indian Restaurant we headed out to the start line expecting to be beating at the start. Given the light wind forecast, Peter had wisely decided to shorten the course and keep us with in the bounds of the Solent, the result being a Kite start. Trudy and Tom manned & girled up to do the foredeck, I did the Helm off the start Don filled his usual role of fight the main sail and Bob helped by Amy and Oli did the trimming. After the start, Bob took on the helm so that I could go and confuse the foredeck staff with weird ways of gybing. Mean time Justina took loads of Photos and started to learn how it all works!
Generally, that is the story of our race. Oli did the upwind bit to the finish. Considering that, we had people in new crew roles and even new to sailing we managed to finish in one piece. By the time the evening arrived the older members of the Red Zeppelin crew felt in need of some sleep, however, the Graduates were now in full flow and getting louder by the pint. The amusing moment was when the Club announced Happy Hour and Tom rushed to the Bar to take advantage of the student union style two for the price of one or 20p a shot type of offer, he was met with a 10% off response. Tom, Amy, Oli and Justina promptly renamed it Wry smile hour.
The Royal Red Zeppelin Restaurant opened for dinner at 2000. With some juggling, we squashed every one in for some fine dining and more quips per-second than the Edinburgh festival.
By 2330, we were all ready for our beds. Stepping on to the deck I found Fernando walking towards us asking “is the party still on” when I replied his crew, who had joined us, post-meal, had gone to bed his response was, “where is my boat”. Pointed in the right direction he made his way to OJE.
The next morning was a bit damp and blustery, however, the wind dropped off and the rain stopped, allowing us to start in reasonable conditions. We stuck with the crew roles that we had practiced on Saturday and nailed a good start. The beat up to the first mark saw us in the first three boats. However, due to some bad planning on my part we allowed two starboard tacking boats to take us well off the lay line for the mark allowing eight other boats through, as they say the rest is history.
At least Red Zeppelin now has some pace upwind and we no longer feel as though we are playing on a different pitch.
Bob returned home having thought we were only racing on Saturday and that he would be home by Saturday evening. Thanks for staying on hope you did not get into trouble.
Thank you to our hard working race officers, Hamble estate agents and to every one who took part. (& the Hairy Bikers for their Vindaloo recipe)
Raffles Race Report Class 5 Cowes-Yarmouth 19/05/12
Munching breakfast rolls on the way to Cowes we wondered whether a bespoke course would be in order and the thought of fighting an ebb tide trying to get back in the Solent must have been in the race officer’s mind. After Peter’s several repetitions of the course we did consider asking for just one more but thought better of it as the joke could have fallen a bit flat.
Keen to avoid the adverse tide change inshore and with the likelihood of better wind we thought like everyone else seaward end – quite a lot of traffic so and while we were pretty much on the line at the start we certainly didn’t have clear air and still didn’t after the turn north for leg 2. Eventually we went high to get above Alchemist and get some separation from the Lasers but should have done it earlier as a dead run resulted into the mark with the tide now going solidly westwards.
Going west was a nice if chilly sail and quick, but it was obvious we needed to be further ahead for a decent result and the smaller rating boats were going to do well. Well done to them including the winner Blazer who was looking particularly slippery through the water.
Pleasant walks and a snooze in the afternoon followed by the RSolYC curry then a couple of drinks in the Wheatsheaf with Vlad the Impala rounded things off nicely.
Raffles Race Report Class 5 Yarmouth-Cowes 20/05/12
Just a hint of drama disentangling ourselves from the two cruising boats on the outside berths, but we were on parade in good time for the start. With a dramatically under-reading windspeed instrument and a forecast with an increase to come later we wondered about sail choice but went large which was the right decision.
Sal played the main to good effect as we zigzagged up the Solent. Hoisting our cruising asymmetric (came with the boat and believed to be a bit small) was good for the last two legs with the wind ahead of the beam. To be truthful we thought we would use the all-purpose spinnaker to the finish but the angle was good for the asymmetric again which had to be repacked and rehoisted. Our result was quite respectable for the second day.
A reversal of fortunes for a surprising number of class 5 was evident Saturday to Sunday but that’s all good.
Thanks to the race team as ever!