Sunsail Race Series number 4,
18th - 19th July
Nick Bowles (skipper),
Crispin Allard (mate and driver), Nick Huxford, Jennifer Leech,
John Kimber, Sue Whitehill, and Tony Hinton.
Sailing in July in England - sunshine, cooling sea breezes and
a Pimms in the cockpit at the end of the day. Well, not quite. Summer
threw one of its curve balls for us in the Sunsail race weekend.
When we arrived at Port Solent all the boats had been brought inside
the marina for safety and the forecast for the weekend was windy.
And so it turned out. We started the first race on Saturday with
one reef, in a stiff force 5/6. Starting from KB Boat Park just
east of Gilkicker the course kept to short legs between Darling
Associates and Naomi House just outside Portsmouth Harbour. We were
a bit ragged and ended 5th out of 7.
After a short lunch stop we resumed racing from Darling Associates
with an upwind leg to Mother Bank. We went across the solent early,
beating up Mother Bank, while the rest of the fleet went along the
mainland shore first, before tacking across.
On the return to Darling we had a narrow lead, nearly jeopardized
by a crossing cargo ship. We held it and repeated the tactic for
the second upwind leg. This time we found ourselves with a big
lead which we held to the end.
We put into Haslar and hit Gunwharf Quays for a sophisticated
night on the town.
Next morning dawned calm, grey and wet, but the showers passed
and the wind came back. Heading out into the Solent we found a force
6/7 SW. We put a second reef in.
The race officer had set a course starting from NE Ryde Middle,
upwind towards the Island shore, presumably to get some lee. This
proved to be the case with the water much flatter inshore, but the
wind continued. We held third place throughout.
With the wind forecast to rise the third race was abandoned and
we finished 2nd overall.