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Yacht Race Weekend, Chichester to River Medina and Back

On the weekend of the 14th and 15th Oct was the last races of the year in the club programme. The turn out was good with 7 yachts, all of which were fully crewed. The event was for a weekend away, staying Saturday night at The Folly Inn, River Medina. Saturday was a passage race from near Chichester Harbour entrance to at mark in the central Solent. It was somewhat springy tides and a reasonable breeze from NW to start with which meant reefs for some boats. The first mark was a beat inshore to WE buoy then to head a few miles offshore south west to Cambrian Wreck. Calypso was very 20 mins late to the start (due to crew being stuck in road traffic earlier in the morning), crossing the line under just a genoa and mainsail only hoisted on the first leg. Next on the course for the fleet was a long beat into Solent towards Bramble Bank area with slowly increasing apparent wind as the tide flow strength increased. In the central Solent a squall could be seen approaching from the NW which it could be seen to cause drama for a race fleet of Cape 31s who were on a deep downwind leg with spinnakers set. After YachtDataBank the club course was to finish with a short trip around a few of the marks in the central Solent, first downwind, a reach and then a beat to the finish line. In the club fleet the yachts in the middle caught the squall first at YachtDataBank, then a few minutes later it came over the leaders and the tail enders. I noticed the squall wind speed was double what had been just prior, peaking briefly and suddenly to 27kts (at Bramble Bank weather station). At this point, after some drama, one yacht retired and another yacht with a Navigation error headed off to a mark in the western Solent instead. Minutes later the wind eased off and sun came out. Calypso recovered from a big heeling event and Intrepid quickly recovered from sudden heading up. Fortunately, no gear failures or damaged sails were reported from the fleet. All except Calypso then continued the race. As the race ended it was a pleasant sail/motor towards Cowes then onwards as a procession up the river to the Folly Inn. With all yachts rafted up on the Folly Inn pontoon, the evening started with a busy pontoon party using Intrepid’s side decks as an impromptu buffet table and bar. Later the Folly bar proved useful to quench thirsts, followed by a three course evening dinner served for all. Ipads were propped on at the tables for some to watch the live streamed rugby from France. All together it had been an excellent day. Sunday was an early race start time of 09:00 in the central Solent. The first leg was a beat to Royal Thames followed by a very long beam reach to Horse Tail. The reach proved tricky because it was a gusty N wind off the land and an increasing tidal current, consequently the apparent windspeeds and wind angles were border line for some of the kites. A few yachts stayed with white sails all the way, others switched between kites and white sails. A large ship entering the Solent complicated plans for the some of the fleet. After Horse Tail was a short beat and a broad reach, under spinnaker for some, to finish. It was a super weekend for all, just a shame it was the last one for this season.

Race Report 16th Sept, Non Mans Fort

The CCRC joined with Bosham Sailing Club for their annual race around No Man’s Fort. 13 or14 yachts started the race in light winds and calm sea. One may have retired before the start line due to a boat issue. It was an interesting downwind start, with from what I recall Exeat was first to get their spinnaker up. It was a tricky spinnaker run to the Fort, choices of how deep to sail and where on the tide to sail made quite a difference. As the west going tide increased a small amount of chop appeared which slowed the progress of the lighter yachts, one of which retired at that point. With the increasing tide on approaching the Fort the apparent wind eased further and the fleet bunched up. Rounding the Fort was challenging because of a significant wind shadow, dirty wind issues from the close fleet and a strong west going tide. The return leg was a beat. A few yachts chose switch back north to Hayling bay shore earlier than others. For the final stretch the yachts chose different tracks in varying depths selecting what they thought was the optimum balance between adverse tide, less distance to travel and wind speed. Another good day of sailing where tactics and light air sailing skills were important.

June – Passage Race to Yarmouth

Well this one did not go to plan. The weather forecast looked unsuitable for the passages and not many yachts were planning to join in anyway. There were also two guests yachts who had expressed an interest in the weekend. Anyway, the uncertainty with the weather resulted in just Calypso still being interested. So we went to Yarmouth for the weekend on our own. The actual weather was OK on the day but it did involve a few hours of motoring on the Sunday. However, the trip was good and crew social in the Royal Solent Yacht Club was very good. Memorable was the very light air spinnaker sailing amongst a number of French Sun Fast 3200s in the Western Solent.

5th June Nab Tower Race

Calypso in the CCRC fleet joined in with Bosham Sailing Club for the annual June Nab race. The course was simple, Chi to Nab ( starboard) then return to West Pole. With a north north east ish wind it was a downwind start but as the leg progressed the course became an apparent wind port tack reach. Those with downwind sails that could be trimmed in enough managed to maintain good speed to the Nab. Those that had sailed too deep for too long had to change to white sails and even tack. A few, including Calypso manged to keep a kite up all the way to the Nab. For Calypso rounding the Nab was tricky because first we had a tri and two mono hulls quickly appear from around the tower on Starboard which caused us to very quickly (almost a crash douse) drop the kite and immediately tack in strong tides, which resulted in Rockhopper catching us up on the inside. But Rockhopper decided they had chosen a course too close to tower so tacked behind us. Calypso had a clear route to round the mark and duly headed back north on Starboard passing through the remainder of the fleet on Port, memorably new member boat Paddy was one of the yachts that gave way. Calypso and Markova were close after rounding the tower, but Markova chose a better course allowing for the changing tide of the leg back. Near the finish line Markova had used her longer water length to advantage and had chosen a better line closer to the wind all the way from the Nab. Both Markova and Calypso had to tack to make the finish line but Calypso had much further to go. It was a really good race with a large fleet, testing and fun. Looking forward to next year to do it again.

Cowes Weekend Passage Racing 28th May

Calypso could only join in on the Sunday and Monday of this bank holiday weekend. Even then Calypso was very late departing Gosport for a start line off Lee on Solent. We just made it in time, though had not had time to look at the announced course. So we set off a little confused but after a couple short leg marks we got into the groove. It was rather a good course hopping back and forth over the central Solent area roughly between Hamble Yacht Services and Royal Thames marks. What was most exciting was the broad reach long finish leg between Ancasta and Royal Thames on the southern edge of the sandbank, with a choice of slipping south slightly in to deeper advantageous tide or taking a more direct route in shallower water. Crossing the finish line was Rockhopper, Celebration, and Calypso either with overlap or very close up behind. Someone did manage to take a picture of this close finish but I don’t seem to have it to hand.

The evening was in Cowes with supper in the ISC.

On the Monday the start line was set by Calypso as RO boat using the mark Collette, which unfortunately was somewhat cluttered with pot buoys around it. So the yachts spent a few minutes circling to make sure they know where the pots were. Being a passage race it was pretty much upwind all the way to the finish line at Chi. Just a few tactical options as to where to find more wind and stronger tides.

An excellent weekend away

Yacht Sailing in Company, Yarmouth to Cherbourg

Having just returned yesterday from our CCRC X Channel “dash and back” I have just have time first to post a quickie picture from the “cruise” this past few days. Suffice to say for the moment is that all those on board the two yachts had a really good time. The attached picture shows how cruising in company is done CCRC style. For the entire 60-70 sea miles from Yarmouth to Cherbourg the two club yachts never lost sight of each other. Somewhat by accident we were briefly at one point only about 4 metres apart! I can also add it is quite exciting sailing on small yachts making 6.5kts on a Reach, being solo on watch and night.


Start Delayed By Lack Of Wind

Sunday’s race looked uncertain with such a light wind forecast but we headed out and a course was set when the wind was just 5-6 knots. Then as the warning signal was about to be sounded the wind dropped and we postponed. Slowly the wind returned and an hour later the race started with a number of short legs in case of a need to shorten. But instead the wind continued to rise as the sea breeze with the brilliant sunshine reinforced it.
Another great CCRC day.

Bramidge Trophy: CCRC vs CYC

Saturday’s CCRC race was the Bramidge Trophy, an annual team (and individual) race against Chichester Yacht Club which has been run since 1996. Both clubs put forward a good number of competitors (especially CYC). The conditions for the race were excellent with a good northerly breeze – not so strong that downwind sails could not be used but for some it was “close to the edge”. After a short upwind beat from Hard to Sparkes it was a long run out to Horse Elbow, then another long run along the shipping lane to New Grounds before a finishing beat to Chi where some deft dancing was needed around dinghies also racing there.
Then it was off to Chichester Yacht Club for some socialising and dinner – and then the results. The team results were based on final corrected positions of all boats participating. It was a close run result highlighted by first place CYC boat beating second place CCRC boat by 5 seconds. When all were counted CYC won by one point. Well done CYC.

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Calypso 2023 Launch

Calypso was launched today, after 8 weeks ashore in the marina car park for the usual yacht maintenance jobs. Pleasingly I had fixed a rainwater leak that had been bothering me for a few months, caused by the sealant around a deck fitting that had failed. It was an easy launch from the enormous Endeavour Quay travel hoist. There was a slight problem when the engine would not start and it was pretty obvious why as it was spinning really fast with no compression! The engineer who had worked on the shaft seal a few weeks ago had left the de compressors enabled. So that was quickly sorted and with a thumbs up to the hoist staff I slipped out from under the hoist. It was now 07:45am and between 2 to 5 degrees C, but sunny. So not to miss an opportunity I popped out of the Portsmouth Harbour entrance and motored around for an hour before returning to my usual marina berth. All was good. Now looking forward to getting the sails handed on ready for a shakedown and the first race of the season.

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