JOG Cherbourg 2 2017

All or Nothing race report

Chris & I met early on Friday morning for the drive to the Hamble and after a little shopping we arrived at AON to find her liberally coated in red berry induced bird pooh – lovely – if there’s one down side of dry sailing a yacht that’s got to be it! A couple of hours of scrubbing, trips to the chandlers and general tidying later AON was ready for the off. What was interesting was the amount of additional ‘stuff’ a boat can accumulate over a season, certainly Chris & I have a weekends job ahead of us ruthlessly purging AON of unnecessary said ‘stuff’.

At 1300BST AON slipped Hamble Yacht Services and headed out into the Solent for man over board practice under sail. Before I get admonished by OB1 (AKA Keith Harding & REACH4THEWIND) the reason behind us practicing MOB under sail is that the engine AON has restrictors on it so that it can take 2-3 minutes at least for it to engage power which feels an awful long time when your best mate is waiting for you in the water. Anyhow practice complete we decided to head over to scout out the JOG starting line which is situated between a flagstaff slightly to the west of Cowes high street and Gurnard Buoy. Reconnaissance complete, after battling an adverse wind and tide combination we attached to one of the Cowes mooring buoys in order to grab an hours rest before the race start at 1840BST.

The start of the race was less frenetic than some of the RORC starts we’d experienced this season, but with the wind pretty much straight out of the SW and a neap tide running with us Chris on the helm was careful not to be OCS at the start of the race. Chris remarked this was our first race out of the Solent in darkness and it was certainly an interesting experience as we headed down the deep water of the Solent battling with Arcsine and other boats. Unfortunately, an over tensioned inhauler blew and resulted in a little disruption and we never really gained any ground on Arcsine who we believe were quicker off the start line than AON.

As we passed the needles and the safe water mark Chris left the helm and almost immediately I had to respond quickly as a fisherman’s buoy appeared and flashed past us in the darkness. With the wind just forward of the beam and blowing a pretty constant F5 there was little more to report for the next six hours other than the normal dodgems with the large ships around the traffic separation scheme.

As we approached Cherbourg the wind backed and dropped considerably to F3 which made the final approach to the finish line a little more of a slow slog than expected but we made it arriving 0448BST which was almost ten hours’ door to door. With the promise of a warm bed and cold beer waiting back for us in the UK Chris and I opted for a quick turnaround and we followed Rocket Dog & Full Circle back to the Solent arriving at 1800BST.

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