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 .