Report from Blazer, Laser 28, Class 5
A great result for us after what seemed a very mixed day.
It all started off for us with the diver turning up at the Yacht Haven where we were waiting for Mark to arrive on the Red Jet only to advise us that he had not done the hull clean and wished to get on with it!
This was about 6-45 am which did not go down well given the race time but as we knew it really needed doing we got him to give it a quick wipe over before rushing off to the start.
We made a safe but conservative start and got on our way in light winds towards the forts, the fleet were fairly much together when what little wind we had died leaving us drifting perilously towards No Man’s fort with the tide.
Mark was on the helm at this time so I recorded a photographic image of him for possible insurance purposes (as you do).
We finally got round the fort but had lost a lot of ground so we gave chase, well not exactly! ......we followed the leaders as best we could in the very light conditions.
The pack split at this time with Black Diamond going East, Alchemist and Moondog keeping to the West and the others taking various other routes or as it seemed towards the Nab.
With the slow progress that we had made to this leg all our navigation plans went out of the window and it left us wondering how these navigation decisions had been made so we elected to take a mid course allowing for some tidal influence from the East.
We took the opportunity to tuck in to the pork pies, pasties and sausage rolls which came as a welcome relief to those of us with Vegetarian partners.
Black Diamonds route appeared to have paid off and they rounded some distance ahead of the fleet, as we approached the Nab a good number of boats converged with Alchemist and Imperator only just ahead and Xarifa on our inside at the turn.
With the wind dying on the way back we tried spinnaker changes to no avail drifting for awhile again towards the forts with the new tide.( we think this has been done before) until the new wind came in providing us with a great beat back to the finish.
Many thanks to the race committee and the crew Richard, Mark & Mat who stuck at it in the drifting conditions!
Report from Mathilda, E33, Class 4
Well it began with no boat, no crew, no IRC certificate .... just a Nab Tower pipe dream.
Thank you Franck for letting us sail Mathilda. An IRC certificate arrived midweek (with an outrageously high number that I’d challenge Ben Ainslie himself to race of) and by Friday I found a crew being Simon (as Ben couldn’t make it). Yet it seemed doubtful that we would get an 11th hour entry. I sheepishly telephoned Peter about tea time on Friday and he very kindly agreed to a late entry given our first IRC race with certificate having just arrived. But there was another hurdle to be overcome: getting to Cowes from Chichester harbour. We slipped mooring 11pm. I got a little disorientated and started to turn into Thorney channel from where I doubt JOG have ever started a race. Jazz on the radio, a beer, and a cruise-liner escort saw us to a mooring off Cowes by 3am. With flat sea conditions sleep was a priority but we hadn’t factored in the wake of a few closely passing container ships.
Up before seven, this was Simon’s first sight of the boat in day light so time to show him around. But there were no boats (had we come on the right day?) ..... then they started appearing from all directions ..... and they didn’t have lazy jacks like us! We read the race instructions and then Simon produced our class flag (the job I had delegated to him) which was his son’s superman cape with a cross made of masking tape. We had made it to the start of this JOG race which felt like an achievement in itself.
With very light wind we started respectably avoiding the OCS tidal trap. We chose a middle line as the fleet seemed to split more mainland or island side. After rounding the fort we went more towards the island to punch less tide initially. Interestingly, the majority of boats went more offshore presumably fancying more wind there. Two sigma38s followed us which we hadn’t previously seen but I recognised the blue hull as Persephone and the other as Marta. They sailed deep and we sailed the angles learning how to gybe the boat as we went before pulling away after passing very close to some anchored ships. As we approached the Nab (which Peter had warned me to give a wide berth) the boat to leeward but slightly ahead called “no overlap” – undoubtedly the biggest mark rounding of my life and I had failed to get an inside overlap ... and was quite happy about it! They rounded and bullishly went for their spinnaker. We kept ours in the bag as we sailed high to overtake them as their hoist went horribly wrong.
As we sailed back toward the fort the wind became light and variable and a debate went on as someone (I won’t mention any names as he sailed so brilliantly) wanted to put the spinnaker up. I reluctantly finally agreed. On doing so 20knot+ of westerly promptly appeared which quickly scuppered that plan. As we had lost some ground the Sigmas had appeared again from behind and to leeward. We knew they’d win on handicap but we wanted to try and beat them over the water. It was Persephone again with his crew, lining the guard rail, peering across at us struggling doublehanders. As the wind strength built and a wind against tide chop developed I knew the writing was on the wall and it read “death by Sigma upwind attrition”. We fought bravely to hang in there as Persephone did not blink or tack for many miles but just slowly but surely overtook from a position five boat lengths to leeward before finally tacking in front to cover the other Sigmas.
We made it to the finish tired but amazed at what varying conditions and excitement this excellent JOG race had been. Lots of learning points to reflect on the trip back to Chichester. More JOG racing soon please! Thank you Peter. Simon, bring the superman cape again next time and we can take turns at wearing it.
Report from Red Zeppelin, Salona 37, Class 3
Friday was planned as a day off work in order to meet Rob Dyer from North Sails at Gins Pontoon so that he could have a look at the mainsail on Red Zeppelin.
Seven phone calls into the morning I decided a ½ day’s leave would be more appropriate.
Rob confirmed that the main, which had fitted Substitute so well, is not a match for the tree trunk mast that Sparcraft supplied for Red Zeppelin, plus the mast does not appear to match the data that Salona specified it should have been built to. I now realize that I should have known something was wrong when Red Zeppelin was first delivered and All-Spars were unable to fit the mast due to incorrect forestay length and cap shroud lengths. Lesson learnt, I should have insisted that the mast and shrouds etc be replaced by Sparcraft at that time. The good news is, albeit a compromise, North will be able to re-cut the main to make it fit the spar that is on Red Zeppelin and the resultant loss of sail area will attract a lower IRC rating.
Friday night we popped over to Cowes so that we would not have to worry about low water and early starts etc.
Saturday morning the weather was looking lighter than we had expected and the westerly wind had not started to fill in, therefore the kite start that we had hoped for dinot materialise. The entire fleet drifted down towards the forts picking up the odd bit of breeze here and there. Just off Ryde we were entertained by Andy Hill and his crew on his lovely new J111, OJE, as they hoisted one kite after another with a grand finale of them hoisting Fiona up the mast (not sure how effective she is as a down wind sail).
Eventually the wind started to free enough for us to hoist our kite and we were able to enjoy slopping about in the wake of various motorized vessels with our spinnaker. As we cleared the forts we took the decision to go up the island shore to avoid the tide; this proved to be the wrong choice as we watched those on the left hand side make ground over us. Not long before Nab, the wind headed us and we ended up back on whites. Being slowed down by the air brake that doubles as our main did nothing for our position in the fleet or the direction we could point in.
Our passage back to the finish was punctuated by the odd squall and hailstorm.
Once we had crossed the line, we headed back to Beaulieu River where we were able to tidy up, remove our main for re-engineering and enjoy some of the left over food from the Royal visit to Gins. Chris charged off to the K & Q in Hamble to catch up with Andy Hill whilst Don and I took the main to North Sails. Sleep beckoned after that.
Thank you to our race officers for their hard work and thank you to all those who took part for a grand day out.
Race Report from J-Fever, J 120, Class 3
It was up early again for skating practice on the deck and breakfast as we motored down the Hamble in a beautiful clear, still morning. The weather continued still and being over the line was definitely not an option.
We had 3 debs on board for this race, so a lot of briefing and explaining went on. The wind was not from the west as forecast and we started on a fetch. Once clear of the start a coffee seemed a good idea, would put galley slave's weight in a good place, but just as it was being poured there came a call for spinnaker. Back to the coffee prep, down spinnaker, up ... I can't remember how many times we changed it and the no. 1. Finally got tepid coffee about half an hour later.
Sunscreen and shades were the order of the day, so much better than the forecast even if the wind was lacking. As we approached the Nab we noticed boats ahead with white sails and so weren't surprised when the wind came ahead. We made it round Nab soon after the tide turned and then had the frustrating situation of boats to south and to north, especially those to the north, having wind whilst we had little. So it goes.
The wind then increased dramatically. Who needs a beauty parlour? Exfoliation was provided by the weather and those with little head covering had scalp stimulation courtesy of the hailstorm. The no.1 was a bit above its limit. Whilst the debate about a change was being convened it split requiring a bare-headed change. We had tacked to lay the line, the sun shone again, we finished. What a great race, nearly every kind of weather, lots of sail changes so a really good training day as well.
Many thanks to those ashore who started and finished us, sorry we didn't make the watering hole.