Monday, 3 June 2013

Trophy time.

This weekend, as a diversion from trying to re-attach the rudder on Ciao Bella, it was pleasant to be invited to take part in the Round the Island race. Liam Thom had entered his Hurley 20 bilge keeler 'Peggotty'.
As Ciao Bella was poorly I had to catch the ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth on the Friday evening.  Yarmouth harbour wa full of old gaffers and there town had a carnival atmosphere, to be honest I was glad to see Liam waiting for me as there was far too much testosterone and alcohol being mixed... it was only going to end badly :)

John and Liam (Owner)
Up far too early on Saturday morning, we headed for the Folly, where Peggotty is moored.  Here I met John, the other crew member; probably first mate as at least he knew what he was doing.  Liam and John paddled over in the Kayak and returned a while later with Peggotty to pick me up from the pier.
We were in the ISCRS Division 8D and our start time was 0640BST. I can only assume that 8D signifies a laughing face at all skippers and crew in this division.
Racing towards Hurst Narrows
The race start time came upon us before we were properly in position and we had to head for the line further north than we had intended.  We were unable to lay a line to Fort Victoria and had to tack away from the shore.  The conditions were quite blustery, 16 knots gusting 22 knots and we picked up a fair bit of speed.  Out of the Solent and the wind held steady at 14-16Knots so we braved the Gennaker... Holy moly, we had 10.5 Knots on the GPS and blasted past another competitor.  However it didn't last, a 20 knot plus gust came at us and we broached. Back on full main and full genoa we rounded the needles and settled in for a long stint around the back of the island.  Every time we even thought about hoisting the Gennaker a big gust would persuade us not to.  Even though we were close to the back we still had plenty of company and the boat was travelling well. After St Catherines the wind Strengthened again and we had to first reef the Genoa and then the main.  We beat across Shanklin and Sandown, where we still had some company but weren't able to make our course, we had to put in a series of tacks to get around the Bembridge Ledge buoy and head back into the Solent.
Beating to Bembridge Ledge

 By now the wind had dropped enough to shake the reefs out but the writing was on the wall, It looked like we were going to have a long race. The next obstacle was Seaview Mermaids. The race instruction were to go round their moorings which is a fair detour.   By now the wind was down to 8 - 10 Knots, We had to beat towards Ryde but could quite make our course to avoid the pier so had to tack out wide again. Beating to windward in light winds is not what bilge keelers like to do.

Beating past Ryde sands
The last few miles seemed the longest but eventually we made through the finish gate.. no triumphant blast of a horn for us... just silence. We finished at 19:35.. nearly 13 hours after the start. 56NM so not bad  in my 'Cruiser' opinion but certainly not race pace :)
Anyway, you have to play to your strengths..  1459 boats competing for 12 Trophies.. The Tenacity cup was always going to be ours ;)


  1. There are some cracking photo's there... and from my perspective you did bloody well, a lot didn't!

  2. Great result and superb to see a Hurley 20 still bagging the tinware 40 years since leaving the Plymouth works!

  3. Phil - the chap sailing the Hurley 22 has just put his story up - it's a good read.. :o)

  4. Spotted Peggotty on Folly Reach earlier today - got a couple of snaps if you pass the message on to Liam, I'll mail them over to him :-)