Sunsail Race Series #7, 9th - 10th October 2010

Nick Bowles (skipper), Phil Armitage (mate, driver), Emily Shrosbree, Stefan Berg, Melanie Clark, Sue Whitehill.

Another breezy weekend, easterly this time, and despite some mist and gloom on Saturday morning, predominately sunny. 13 boats entered.

It's always a bit of a rush to get out to the start line on Saturday morning. Once again we were a bit low on fuel; we had to get through the lock; and of course there was a power boat filling up on the fuel pontoon. In the rush we missed the change of start line and went all the way to Bob Kemp, only to find it deserted. A quick sprint back to Darling Associatesand we crossed the line 5 minutes after the gun. At least we had clear air! The course was all off Portsmouth in an easterly wind and west-going tide. We picked off a couple of back markers mid-way but it was in the final beat against a now foul tide round Gillkicker, that gave us 9th place. Pretty good considering our start.

The second race saw the tide building. These were big, big springs and getting close inshore was essential on the upwind legs. With only 6 crew and short legs we stuck to white sails downwind. Maybe a bit cautious but this time we managed 7th.

We headed into Portsmouth harbour against a massive ebb. There was a fleet of Victorys struggling against the tide with a mixture of small outboards and wind power. There were a few close calls. We put into Haslar where we managed to sneak in front of a nice looking Dufour to grab our berth on the visitors' pontoon. It turned out to be Sea Essay with Dave Price in charge.

We took the ferry to Portsmouth where Emily took us on a magical mystery tour, at the end of which we had fish and chips in the Still & West in old Portsmouth.

A much calmer start to the day. We got our fuel in good time and set off for Gilkicker. But no, the start was now to be Bob Kemp! Anyway we got there in time and the start was postponed as the wind shifted to the SE, albeit only briefly before shifting back to north easterly. We got a great start but overstood the mark rather drastically, and lost a few places. Nonetheless we sailed well and finished 6th.

The final race started at Darling and for some reason we were discussing spinnakers when we should have been going for the line. The result was another "clear air" start. We had an interesting race with Sunsail 4, swapping places by quite large margins: the complicated tides coming out of Portsmouth harbour were a navigator's challenge. Anyway the final leg was a long one from Vail Williams to North Sturbridge so we went for a kite hoist. This proved problem-free until the shortened finish where some confusion over the mark rounding and the tide led to a very close wriggle round the mark. Our final position is not clear at this point as the results show us as retiring. Maybe we were disqualified for some reason. We should find out later.

The day ended with a gorgeous sunset over Portchester as we drove away from Port Solent. Another good weekend.

Results: 9th, 7th, 6th, 14th. 9th Overall.



The GPS track for Saturday first and second race and Sunday first and second race..