Cowes St Peter Port 2017

Cowes St Peter Port 2017

Raffles - A Shift Too Far 


Avid readers of JOG race reports will know that the reports tend to lend themselves to an episode of MasterChef than opposed to a recollection of a race. The challenge with the race to St Peter Port was that this race report could stretch into several hundred pages after what proved to be a bit of a marathon. Yours truly who is writing this piece was returning to the fray after all season off with a shoulder injury following an incident with a mountainside whilst on Lord Hill of Fordingbridges ski trip earlier this year secured himself a ride with our current Captain on the good ship Raffles.


The weather all week looked all over the place, but eventually settled into looking lighter than a weight watchers diet, (I have experience of these things) meant that we felt should go and see where we got to. After a safety brief and intros to the crew (Paul long time Jogger, Ian first time Jogger, me and Peter) we set off in a dying sea breeze to the start. The decision to go East was a wise one as the tide would have probably got us to Lymingtion if lucky going West, general consensus well done race team! Whilst running down the Solent with the kite up, dinner was served (Lasagne and vegetables with balsamic infused olive oil drizzled over the veg) There then appeared a mini saucerama admittedly only 5 sauces unlike the 13 I once saw on the Secretary’s boat to help wash a very nice dinner down. Blazer were trundling around and like us were trying all things to get going. Strangely at the forts some breeze appeared which kept us moving down to Bembridge. Having been over taken by the big guns, we somehow managed to mooch along to Dunose and managed to get back to the bigger classes. A stunning nights light air sail followed with breeze seeming to range from 4 to 10 knots on a very close reach to the shipping lane. Somewhere around 30 miles out into the channel, scurvy may have set in as pork pie and porridge were discussed as a breakfast option but we ended up with Bacon and Egg Sandwiches. The next 12 hrs saw no breeze, a little breeze, some breeze, no breeze, tack, gybe, tack, kite up kite down. Food, food, tea, coffee, kite up, kite down, are we really tracking 270 degrees, tea, tack, coffee. Are we still in the shipping lanes? How are Prime Suspect looking on the AIS? Where are Longue Pierre? JOG AIS watching could be a sport channel on TV maybe? 


A call with the secretary who was watching AIS and shepherding his flock confirmed that the party in St Peterport was not going to happen. The Casquets appeared eventually around dinner time with a stark realisation that the track down to St Peterport could involve several issues around timing and most probably an anchor (yes, an anchor) somehow, we managed to keep Raffles moving by the amount of food we consumed but around 4 miles from the Little Russel the breeze died and the tide turned. Dolphins or Porpoises (I never can tell) appeared to say hello. The skipper called a meeting and after a while a somewhat sunburnt and tired crew agreed that trying to kedge in circa 40 metres of water was not wise and the tide would probably push us back a few far miles before we could try again to get in. It was a shift too far! Sadly, we took the painful decision to retire just under 27 hours into the race and around 6 miles from the finish. Dinner was served on the way back to the race where we saw a boat speed of 10.5 knots over the ground.


The night seemed darker as we motored into the wind all the way home and we were back just before 3 on Sunday. Key things I took away from the weekend were that our new Jogger wants to come back, the race team made the right call to get us away and what a great thing JOG is that some of the fleet made it there and finished, well done to you, you deserve our respect.


Thanks to Nick and the race team and for the Captain for having me along.

J Fever St Peter Port race report

The forecast did not look promising. Not much wind, disappearing completely by midnight.

This was a race which started with problems, we did not have all our regular crew, the navigator missed his plane from Newcastle courtesy of British Rail, Skipper had dislocated his shoulder several times on his recent cruise and was one armed. Nevertheless we were keen and prepared to try and race out to St. Peter Port.

There was virtually no wind  as we motored towards the start, we picked up a mooring buoy and fortified ourselves with pasta bake. No sooner had one member opined that they couldn’t possibly start the race in these conditions than the starting sequel was started. We left our comfortable mooring and prepared to drift, but the wind filled in! Spinnaker start and off with the tide to the forts and Bembridge. We made a mistake and got becalmed off  Culver headland. Working our way slowly offshore we came close to Prime Suspect, only yards away she found a puff of wind and shot off, a few moments later the situation was reversed. Eventually we got a bit of breeze, and after the rest of our competition had moved on J Fever gained momentum. We sailed calmly and slowly through the outbound shipping lane and then ghosted gently. We had up the code 0 until the roller decided to part this life, so we went to white sails and made to the west, but the wind picked up and we put up a spinnaker, changed it for the code 0 without  its’ roller, spinnaker again, I can’t remember how many times.

Mutiny lurked, talk of retiring was heard, dolphins were seen, sunscreen applied. We decided a cup of tea and flapjack was in order whilst the options were considered. The wind gods smiled and we gathered speed. As we reached the Casquettes the opposition were in site. Cheered up we slopped about in the swell in the race but eventually made way heading to the west of Guernesey, not the best but it was movement.

The gybe took us to the N of the Little Russel, but not before the tide turned. Skipper did a magnificent job of sheltering from the tide on the E side until the tide became too strong and every gybe took us North again. So to anchor. We drifted towards some rocks and as the depth reached 8 meters we dropped the kedge. An eddy took the line around the keel between keel and rudder but the kedge appeared to hold.

We had an assortment of pies in quiches from the lovely Amanda’s at Deacons for the return journey, but we ate them for supper whilst methods of disentangling ourselves were discussed. We thought we would tackle the job at slack water. …. The anchor alarm sounded as we prepared for rest. 20 minutes or so of work with boat hook, rolling hitches, warps, sail and muscle succeeded in getting the anchor line to the bow, the wrapped line on board and the thing free, it seemed to have rebedded very effectively. 8-10 knots of wind and we were off to the finish.

We did get there, we have a huge sense of achievement So sorry to have missed free beer at the Yacht club, and our thanks to the start team for their wise decision to start us in spite of everything.

Shades Of Blue Race St Peter Port Report

It's a bit light & shifty
It's a bit blowy on the way back
It's a bit light & shifty
It will be sunny at least

You get the drift (and what an opportune word that was) of the conversations through the week, but we stuck it out and three of the expected four turned up on Friday afternoon expecting a slow, but successful race to St Peter Port. Unfortunately the jet setting fourth, a victim of thunderstorm induced delays at Paris-Orly, was having a slow and unsuccessful trip down the M3 and bailed when he realised he was more likely to catch the 07:15 Red Jet on Saturday morning than the 17:15 on Friday evening.  With hindsight he should have done this and he could have taken our mooring lines as we came back in!

Shades was looking immaculate, the result of three days hard work by the owner, who was also getting over excited at having all his sails available in the new storage locker and had to be restrained from putting as many as he (legally) could on board by the fore-deck contingent, who occasionally (every couple of minutes) reminded him there were only three of us and she wasn't planning on changing sails every two minutes on her own.

Calm restored and the padlock firmly locked, we motored out to the start in time to see Class 5 head East towards the forts.  Thank you shore team for setting the Red Flag course, getting through the Needles would have been nigh on impossible until the next tide with the breeze there was, even with very little tide.   A quick swap of the kite gear (set for a Green course)  and an easy hoist later,  we were off.  SOG around 2 knots.  

If nothing else it was a lovely summer's evening with warm sunshine and a pretty sunset over Fawley; definitely a good night to be out on the water.  A few gybes - mostly OK but one with an irritating knot - and a few hours later we arrived at the forts, dropped the kite and hardened up towards Bembridge, juggling a very nice M&S pasta bake at the same time as dodging what seemed a huge number of moored ships.   It was by this point looking like a very long night!

As we crept along the island shore, average speed never getting above the magic  2knts, it was time to start doing some maths.  None of us wanted to be the first to resort to donkey power but equally when we talked it through the thought of arriving in the early hours of Sunday, simply to turn around and motor back home (many weather sites were checked in the vague hope that one of them said something different) wasn't jumping out as a fantastic opportunity.  As a crew we decided to retire somewhere around 03:00, still a stones throw from Ventnor and with the rest of the fleet around us (quite a lot behind us if I'm being pedantic).

The fastest way home was to carry on with what tide there was, so a course was set for St Cats - Needles - Cowes and we arrived back at Cowes Yacht Haven somewhere around 08:00.  The marina was heaving with fast looking boats and fit looking crews from all nations getting ready for the SB20 Worlds (racing until st September) and some very loud power boats getting ready for their annual Cowes - Dartmouth race. Still, Ben managed to find us a pontoon and after a short rest the boat was tidied up, as much food as could be eaten was eaten (chicken anyone) and everyone that wanted was home in time a BBQ on Saturday afternoon.  Not the weekend that was planned but good all the same.

Recognition MUST go to those who stuck it out,  A great example of JOG seamanship and proof that as an Offshore Club we can, and do, race in all conditions.  Thanks also to the shoreside teams, near and far.


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