Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden

IRC Solent Series Race 3 at Portsmouth Sailing Club

by Graham Nixon on 28 Jul 2010 17 July 2010

The weather forecast for Saturday 17th July was rather cheerless, which might have accounted for 3 or 4 no-shows for the Portsmouth SC event in this year’s Solent Series. However, it turned out dry, warm and sunny with a steady south westerly, blowing 10 knots rising to 18 as the sea breeze kicked in for the afternoon race, and providing the best racing conditions of the Series so far.

Twenty one yachts assembled at Gleeds and the race officer called us to order on schedule. There was a slight hiccup as the RO fired the Preparatory signal 1 minute early, but quickly pointed out the mistake over the VHF and re-fired on time 60 seconds later. No-one seemed phased by this and Classes 1 & 2 got away to a clean start on a beat to Bob Kemp, off Ryde. A number of the visiting yachts, ourselves included, over-estimated the tidal set and over-stood the mark by a long, long way, handing the local yachts an easy lead. Class 3 also got a clean start, using the closer North Sturbridge as their windward mark. From then on, all classes sailed the same course.

A gybing run back to Mary Rose followed. This seemed a sneaky choice as it is a very dirty, almost invisible wreck marker, not shown on the Solent racing charts but known to all the local boats and listed on PSC’s web site. Still, our mistake at the windward mark meant we could follow the local boats who know exactly where to find it.

A fine’ish port reach to Vail Williams followed, which tempted several yachts to try carrying their spinnakers. However, they couldn’t hold them and soon everyone was down to genoas only. Then a short beat back to RNC/RAYC, a racing mark which is almost on the beach just east of Gilkicker point - we went down to 0.4 metres under the keel on the approach – followed by a spinnaker reach back to Mary Rose. The temptation to gybe with spinnakers and attempt the reach to Vail Williams overcame several yachts again, enabling us to recover 200 metres as they all struggled, broached and eventually gave up and dropped to genoas.

A final short beat back to Gleeds and the finish saw all four classes finishing together. Within 30 minutes we were all ready to go again; so no time for sandwiches. For the second race the RO kept the same courses, and this time we had all the mark positions locked in our gps – so no mistakes this time.

The second start for classes 1 & 2 was electric, with most of the fleet hitting the line right on the gun – in fact I suspect some of us might have been over, but the RO wanted his tea! We (an Elan 40) started between Sabriel, a class 1 Bavaria 42, and High Tension, a very quick J109. The battle continued all the way up the windward leg, with only our differing handicaps beginning to stretch us out. Class 3 followed, and picked up our earlier mistake, with many boats overstanding N Sturbridge on the second time round.

The wind had started to freshen now and the downwind leg tested everyone’s gybing skills, with the inevitable broach for some. Again, those who succumbed to the temptation to try carrying their spinnakers on the fine reach, paid the price, before dropping back to genoas.

The final spinnaker reach of the day proved quite spectacular, as the wind was gusting strongly by this time. A small J80 (Juicy) rounded the mark behind us, hoisted her asymmetric and rocketed past us as though we were standing still, despite our spinnaker being double her entire sail area. In order to get our kite down in the strong wind, we approached the mark high, then bore away onto a run, to “hide” the spinnaker behind the main and genoa. The J80 wasn’t so lucky and broached quite badly; so we had recovered all their lead by the time they managed to get theirs down and stowed.

A short beat back to Gleeds and a great day’s racing over at just after three o’clock. Congratulations to Sabriel who took the day’s honours in Class 1, High Tension in Class 2 and Shades of Blue in Class 3. Amazingly, Hot Rats and Xarifa dead-heated on corrected time in the 2nd race – leaving the crews ruing those little mistakes that cost a second or two and made all the difference!

PSC invited everyone back to the club after racing; so we tied up on one of Premiere’s outer pontoons and a club rib had us across the harbour in double quick time, for drinks and a buffet in their listed building in the historic old town. We found we’d been awarded two firsts, but after owning up to being in Class 2 rather than Class 1, we were demoted to a 4th and 2nd – alas!

Our thanks go to Portsmouth SC for a great day’s racing; good courses; perfect weather; well organised - no hanging about; an opportunity to meet the other crews in the bar; and chance for a nap on the trip back to Hamble. Couldn’t have been better!

Related Articles

Hap Fauth's Bella Mente declared overall winner
In the RORC Caribbean 600 Hap Fauth's American Maxi72, Bella Mente has been declared the overall winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. Whilst yachts are still racing, none of the fleet can beat Bella Mente's corrected time under IRC. Posted today at 4:14 pm
Cloudy Bay announced as Presenting Sponsor
Of the Round the Island Race Cloudy Bay has today been announced as the Presenting Sponsor of the Round the Island Race™ which is forthwith branded 'The Round the Island Race™ in association with Cloudy Bay'. Posted today at 2:29 pm
Epic win for Bella Mente
In the RORC Caribbean 600 The All-American Maxi72 battle in the RORC Caribbean 600 lived up to expectations with Hap Fauth's Bella Mente and George Sakellaris' Proteus enjoying an epic match race. Posted on 23 Feb
Rambler 88 takes Monohull Line Honours
In the RORC Caribbean 600 George David's American Maxi, Rambler 88 finished the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600 on Wednesday 22 February 2017 at 11 hrs 56 mins 17 secs AST taking Monohull Line Honours. Posted on 22 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 Day 3
MOD70 Nail-Biter While the multihull race record was not broken this year, Phaedo3 and Maserati had an incredible 600 mile high-speed duel. Posted on 22 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 Day 2
More Argyll than Antigua After a champagne start to the race there was a huge change in weather conditions by the end of the first day. The low pressure system emanating from the north arrived earlier than anticipated, extinguishing the trade winds. Posted on 21 Feb
An Awe Inspiring Start
To the 9th RORC Caribbean 600 The ninth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started in magnificent conditions with the largest ever offshore fleet assembled in the Caribbean enjoying sparkling conditions. Posted on 20 Feb
Abnormal Weather for RORC Caribbean 600
The infamous 'It's normally not like this...' Wouter Verbraak will be navigating Grant Gordon's 72ft Maxi Cruiser, Louise for the RORC Caribbean 600. Wouter has competed in the Barcelona World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race on numerous occasions and is Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics. Posted on 20 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 Welcome Party
Less than 48 hours to go to the start With less than 48 hours to go, it's a busy scene around the docks as crews prepare for the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 on Monday 20th February, but on Saturday evening it was time to officially open the race and welcome everyone to Antigua. Posted on 19 Feb
Chase the Race by Land or Sea
At Antigua Sailing Week The Antigua Sailing Week team is inviting spectators to "Chase the Race" daily as part of the 50th Edition of Antigua Sailing Week which will take place from April 29 to May 7, 2017. Posted on 19 Feb