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A few days ago it was a reminder for me about what a great place for sailing the eastern approaches to the Solent can be. Our sailing day had wind F2-4 from the north, which meant flat seas and probably due to the hot weather there was some variety to the wind direction. Escaping the busy Solent for a day sail we headed east on a reach from Portsmouth along the coast to Bracklesham Bay. Then up with the kite to head deep downwind going offshore for a while. Thinking we need not go too far from home, Gybed the spinnaker then reached a little further offshore with some west in the course. Time to head for home on a beat, mostly full sail and flat sea. We did not at any time have to change course to avoid other vessels and we pretty much has the play ground to ourselves. It does not get any better.
Calypso with six on board completed this year’s RTIR. Calypso probably new her way around the course on her own, whereas all on board were RTIR novices. We all had a really good time and learnt more about how to keep Calypso going well. No Pink Gin’s or hot meals were had on board but what we did have for sustenance was two boxed take away pizzas (cold and ready sliced) which were very popular. The weather was good and windy enough for the bigger yachts to get going properly. Sun lotion and hats were very much required. Calypso was rated by the ISC to appear in Group 7B which consisted of mostly longer LOA cruising yachts. This high rating was probably because we elected to fly a spinnaker, have a feathering propeller and relatively large sail area. Although our sail area did not play to our advantage at all because we spent some of the race reefed, two reefs at one stage! It was a lively and busy beat to the Needles where the sea state was decidedly choppy for a short while over the Bridge area. For our start time the ebb tide had built up quite strongly in the Needles Channel. With one reef to start with and having to drop in a 2nd reef as the apparent wind increased, Calypso was not at her best going up wind. We had a very good start but lost a few places on this first leg. At the Needles we went closer in than others in our group but still outside the wreck, this gained us a couple of places back. For the reach to St Catherine’s we did not make any gains, probably because we were a little late shaking out the reefs. We choose an intermediate route distance from the shore which seemed to be no better or worse than yachts close inshore. Near St Kat’s we closed into the shore to grab some of the SE tide eddy, which left us with a couple of tacks needed to clear St Joesph’s rock. We had only one yacht inshore of us at St Joesph’s rock. Just outside of us were a few of the larger cruisers that were in our group. All the reefs were out at this stage. As we rounded St Catherine’s a yacht similar to Calypso hoisted a symmetric but it was too close to get any great benefit, so we stayed with white sails and overhauled them. The S3 Spinnaker came out for a while but reached it’s limit for apparent wind speed, so we swapped for the S3 for very fast gusty reach across Sandown Bay. We gained back a couple of places on this leg noticed we were still amongst out starting group of top 8 yachts. In good time the S3 came down, it was rather a handful anyway and too close to the wind to make Bembridge Ledge mark. We could see ahead of use a few boats had downwind sails set after the mark, so the crew set about re packing the S2. We managed to find a gap on the inside at the Mark which put is in a good position .
On Calypso we really enjoyed the two days (11th-12th June) racing in Hayling Bay. The weather was very good, sun cream and hats required and a good sailing wind. On Saturday it was a little too windy at 12-20kts for Calypso’s comfort zone, but we joined in anyway. We probably had too much sail up but with four of us on board we managed to keep the boat more less upright enough for reasonable progress. We arrived late at the start area so unfortunately crossed the line about 3 mins after the start time, but I don’t think we were the last! With a longer leg going offshore to the Dean Elbow area and a few shorter legs inshore we had plenty of variety with pressure, tide and sea state variations. This gave the tacticians a few options to choose from. We elected to spend more time in deeper water where possible. For company around the course we had mostly Ku Ring Gui and Sundance , swapping positions on the various legs or rounding marks. The last leg was long, dead downwind, with a quite a stiff wind and enough wave action from aft that was going to affect progress. Most boats chose goose winged or a white sails deep broad reach. On Calypso for a sporting finish we elected for a spinnaker ride with a gybe in the middle. However a mis-connected sheet delayed the spinnaker hoist, then once up the boat was a rather handful to handle so it came down soon after and before the gybe. Pleasingly I think we recorded our fastest speed ever through water, but only for a short while. On the approach to finish line we closed up to the rest of our group in the fleet, so we did not much lose much time while phaffing about with the spinnaker.
The evening social for the race fleet was in the Itchenor Sailing Club. A lovely location, excellent food and we had the large conservatory to ourselves. Results were announced, on NHC Handicap Calypso took a 1st place.
Sunday was lighter winds around 8 to 14kts from the south west. It was perfect for racing, the longer water line yachts again probably have a slight edge. Once more Calypso and Sundance were closely matched for much of the course. After the usual upwind start the course had a couple of reaches where it was border line if a symmetrical spinnakers would hold up. At the start of the first reach it was too close for downwind sails so we started to rig for the next leg after a gybe. But all that changed because as the wind quickly came further aft, soon the helm called for the S3 spinnaker early but on the current tack! We managed to get some value from the downwind sail hoist before the gybe, as did Sundance next to us. On the gybe we had an incident because a shackle pin on the starboard spinnaker sheet turning block came undone, pin and shackle both dropped over the side. A quick repair with a gash length of Spectra line was required while crew held their stations mid gybe. After a few more marks the last leg was again downwind but this time deeper, so the S2 came out to play and our speed picked up nicely. The yachts at the back of the fleet suffered offshore in a lull in the winds speeds which spread out the fleet. In the results we surprisingly did not do so well compared to the windier day before. Ah well, it was the taking part that was the reward.
After the finish line we had to head back to home in Gosport Premier Marina. For us it was a double reefed beat west, back past the “forts”, with welcome tea and cheese sandwiches on the way.
We are looking forward to the Round The Island Race next.
CCRC weekend racing for the three day weekend was more “dank” than “bank” with very light winds.
Saturday was a race to Cowes with a shifting and variable wind but a good tide. As the PRO said “I feared we might not get to the first mark, then I thought I should have set a longer course, then I thought we would not get to Cowes so we shortened – and then the wind filled in!”. In the end a good race! Once in Cowes some gathered on various boats for drinks, and then it was off to Island Sailing Club for a super supper.
Sunday was most dank! As we set off for the race the drizzle started and with even lighter winds the race started. Beating with the tide was possible but the downwind legs, as the wind dropped and the tide built, were a struggle. Nevertheless most rounded the four marks before the race was shortened as the next leg was likely to be impossible. We headed back into Cowes to dry out and then many headed to The Lifeboat for dinner.
Monday was forecast to have even lighter winds and with a counter tide for the passage back to Chi. We motored to Gleeds where a race was started round a couple of marks towards Chi and then an extra leg in the hope the wind filled in. As it turned out the wind was so light that even when it veered to the south which should have made a broad reach even our low speed made the apparent wind ahead of the beam. Again the race was shortened for a race of around 3 hours. And, of course, as we entered the harbour the sun came out!
Well done to the PROs and ROs for setting courses in difficult circumstances.
The first CCRC race of 2022 was delayed from Saturday to Sunday by strong winds with gusts over 30 knots. Sunday still saw fresh winds with gusts of 22knots but also relative calms of just 10 knots. The race started at midday with a CCRC rolling start from Hard for a beat to Chi. Some had reefs in but a few not; then on the downwind legs to Winner and then Horse Tail most shook out those reefs. The sea was relatively calm because of the wind being offshore, and with the warm sunshine it was a pleasant sail. After the first circuit of four buoys there was a further leg out to Hard and then back to Chi and all finished by around 3pm.
A great first race of the year.
On Tuesday last week (5th April) Slipstream and Calypso yachts synchronised our day sail plans to sail from in company from Gosport Marina into the Eastern Solent for a few hours. The weather was forecast to be west 12-15kts average wind with sunny intervals. The passage plan was to sail to Bembridge for lunch. We left Gosport Marina mid morning, exiting the harbour entrance on the tidal stand a few hours into the flood. We on Calypso cautiously started with two reefs in the mainsail whereas the larger Slipstream opted for 1 reef. It was a Reach then Broad Reach to near Bembridge entrance. The sea state was not too choppy so progress was very good. On Calypso we checked the tidal heights carefully, Heaved To dropping the sails and prepared to enter. Then Slipstream hailed us with a loud whistle to change plans and instead anchor in Priory Bay. The wind had picked up a little and it was Spring tides, but there was just enough shelter from Seaview to anchor for lunch. On Calypso we found a spot with 0.5m under keel and used the light weight Fortress anchor which was perfect for the sand. A third yacht appeared and joined us anchoring in the bay. Our lunch in the cockpit was fine but the wind crept up a little more. With the anchor up and sail hoisted it was then a Close Hauled course back to Portsmouth Harbour. By now the TWS had climbed to around 21 kts in the exposed area by the forts and briefly a little more. Hence was pleased to have two reefs in both sails. It was a super sail back which needed crew on the rail, the Traveller eased down and the genoa sheeting point ease aft a little. I managed to get drenched by a surprise wave that came over the bow. It was a gusty in the entrance but found a spot near Haslar Marina to drop Calypso’s sails. We parted company with Slipstream as they (motor?) sailed back to their summer mooring up by Hardway.
Our Log on Calypso recorded a max speed through the water of 6.8Kts, which is pretty good for Calypso in that chop. It did not rain on us and we had the right sail area up to suit the conditions. With three of us on board was ideal for a potter. Prefect. More of a Shake Up sail as opposed to a Shake Down sail.
We are looking forward to the 1st yacht race of the season on the 23rd April in Hayling Bay.
It was the last CCRC weekend of racing for 2021 and what a couple of days of weather!
The forecast for Saturday was light southerly breezes so a westerly at the start was a surprise – but then it died completely leaving the fleet stationary and some pointing the wrong way. Just as we were thinking we might need to abandon and restart (or even abandon and not restart) a breeze appeared from the south so we were off. The clouds cleared and there was pleasant sunshine. There then followed 5 legs of competitive racing with much changing of positions as downwind sails were used or not. The 30 min wait for the wind in the first leg meant we had to shorten though.
Sunday had a similar forecast for wind direction (Southerly) but more wind – and so it was. We had a long leg out to Horse Tail and a beat back plus a few legs around the Hayling Bay buoys before a final leg almost dead downwind to finish at WE. The stronger wind (up to 20knots) meant fewer flew their downwind sails – or needed to.
A good weekend for the last races of the year with more boats out than expected.
CCRC’s weekend racing was in light winds and sunshine – surprisingly pleasant for mid-October.
On Saturday we raced from Chichester to Gosport. After a short windward leg from Hard to Chi, there was a long leg to the mark “Mary Rose” when most flew downwind sails in the very light winds with speed much assisted by the tide. From there we had a challenging leg to the next mark where it was difficult to stem the tide but most managed it and the race was shortened there.
Then it was into Gosport marina where we had drinks hosted by Sycorax in their cockpit/deck and then many had fish & chips from a take-away which was also eaten in the cockpit where it was still warm enough at 9pm.
Next morning it was the race back and there was a little more wind so two windward legs were possible but also another long broad reach with many spinnakers and cruising chutes in use.
All goes to show that October can produce some super weekends for sailing.
CCRC members are welcome to take part in the Hayling Island Sailing Club Nab and Sparkes races the weekend of 2/3 October. Entry is free, get details and application forms via the link.