Thrilling Race Back From Cowes

Sunday’s race back from Cowes to Chichester was all downwind but with wind gusting around 24knots. Most managed to fly downwind sails for the whole distance and gybe around the marks. It was a thrilling end to the weekend with some surfing in the gusts.

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VPRS Nationals

The 2019 VPRS Nationals were organised by Chichester Cruiser Racing Club on Sunday 26th May. Competitors converged on Cowes with the contingent from Poole and the contingent from Chichester each holding passage races on their way to take part. The VPRS handicap system is now used by some seventeen clubs and six of these clubs were represented – though this is complicated by some being members of multiple clubs. Competitors had handicaps varying from 1.16 to 0.773 so the fleet was divided into two classes.
The night before the races the crews came together for a dinner attended by over 70 people at Island Sailing Club and this was concluded by a briefing for the next day.
Sunday morning came with the promise of some fresh breezes but nearly all those booked headed out to a start line east of Bramble Bank. Here the two classes had three races each with those in class 2 having slightly shorter courses. For class 1 the first race was some 7.6 miles rounding 5 marks plus the start and finish; class 2 had a shorter version of this course and started 5 minutes later. The second race was a simpler windward/leeward course with class 1 repeating it three times to make a distance of 8 miles; class 2 completed this only twice. The third race, but which time the wind had strengthened to be frequently 25 knots, for class 1 was more varied again and 5.3 miles long; with class 2 again having a slightly shorter variation.
By 4:15pm all had finished racing and were returning to Cowes.
All competitors then gathered in Cowes Corinthian Sailing Club for the prize giving with the whole list of positions announced and prizes going to the first three boats in each class of the series (single race discarded).
Full results are published here but notable (for CCRC) were Intrepid coming second in class 1 and Folkdance coming third in class 2.
Next day the Poole and Chichester contingents each had passage races to return home.
Our thanks to Pam and Richard for organising the event.
Pictures from Anne Bonwit and there are more on the web site

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Race to Cowes

Saturday’s race to Cowes was a race of three distinct parts. The start was supposed to be directly into the gently breeze but this soon turned into a fetch and after the first mark the downwind sails came out as we headed towards Gilkicker Point. Once through the forts we entered a “wind hole” so sails hung limp and some dropped anchor to avoid being swept back. After a while (it seemed a very long while but we were patient) a gentle breeze started from the west and gradually reached each boat. Soon we had 15-20 knots of wind for the last stage towards Cowes.

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VPRS Nationals This Weekend

This weekend sees CCRC organising the VPRS Nationals from Cowes on Sunday. There are currently twelve CCRC boats due to head for Cowes in the passage race tomorrow with nearly all participating in the VPRS Nationals and a couple either being Sunday’s Committee Boat or maybe helping to crew other CCRC boats. Add another eleven boats from five other clubs and we are set for some exciting races on Sunday as well as some great opportunities for socialising with other cruiser racers.

Race To Yarmouth not round the island!…

CCRC weekend races were Saturday to Yarmouth and then return on Sunday, with the plan being to leave the Isle of Wight to starboard each day. Unfortunately the winds were forecast to be very light so it was decided that both trips should be through the Solent so there was plenty of opportunities to shorten. Retrospectively this also turned out to be a good plan since a fishing boat caught a large sea mine in its nets off the Needles resulting in a large exclusion zone which might well have been across our race path.
Saturday morning we gathered in Hayling Bay for the start, but lack of wind then moved us to south of Portsmouth and then on to north of Wootton before the PRO decided there was sufficient breeze to start. Soon we were zooming off west under downwind sails and but mainly with the tide. Once past Cowes the wind dropped but within a few minutes reappeared as a gentle south-westerly which helped to get round some buoys while going the tide strengthened. Then it was into Yarmouth, which had a queue outside of yachts hoping for a berth but we had ours all reserved. In late afternoon it was drinks onboard a number of boats before dinner at Yarmouth Sailing Club.
Sunday foresaw even less wind for the Ladies’ Race and the fleet motored eastward from buoy to buoy in the hope of sea breeze picking up but it was not to be. From outside Portsmouth the race was abandoned leaving competitors to motor or sail very very slowly homewards.

Spring Mini Series

The long weekend saw CCRC’s Spring Mini-Series of races over the three days. Each day was different weather-wise, in participants, the races and the other events.
Saturday saw a blustery day with winds topping around 30 knots for a short race across to Wootton Creek for lunch at the Royal Victoria YC. Unfortunately one member broke his boom even before the race start – probably due to an unseen fault that had probably been there a while. With the fresh northerly breeze the pontoons in Wootton were “lively” to say the least.
After lunch some members headed back with other commitments while the rest continued on to Gosport where another member joined them as night fell to join the post-dinner party. It was a chilly night.
Next day the wind was less strong but still northerly and still a bit chilly. More members had rushed from Chichester Harbour to join in the next race. This race was from outside Portsmouth harbour up to The Hamble with an assortment of upwind, downwind and reaching legs. The wind was exceptionally changeable in strength and direction which led to many changes in the order of competitors. Then it was a champagne boat party before a roast dinner at the Royal Southern YC.
Next morning there was even less wind so the start was moved from Southampton Water to outside Portsmouth by which time there was sufficient breeze to hold the race. After a short upwind leg the fleet raced back towards Chi and then did a quick loop before finishing in time to enter the harbour just after high water.

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