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Nordic Folkboat West Solent Series Race 2

by Chris Baldwick 5 Jun 2017 10:50 BST 3 June 2017

The Nordic Folkboats competed in race 2 of the West Solent Series, the popular "Long Race West" into Christchurch Bay on Saturday.

The date for this fixture is chosen to enable the fleet to take the ebb tide through Hurst Narrows and then the flood tide back again through Hurst on their return. It was good to see 11 Nordic Folkboats at the start, including a first appearance for the Saturday racing this season of Svane with the Muskett family.

Race Officer, Malcolm McKeag, set a traditional course to the Christchurch Ledge buoy, leaving North Head to port on the outward leg, and to starboard on the return leg. The 12 knot NW breeze produced a close reach down to Hurst, with Madelaine, Pilgrim and Samphire benefitting slightly from getting to the stronger favourable tide first. Padfoot skilfully navigated the complex tidal streams at Hurst to take second place to the well-sailed Madelaine on the beat along the spit to North Head. It was tricky making good progress on the beat across Christchurch Bay due to the short choppy wave pattern, but the boats taking the left hand side tended to be favoured.

Madelaine stretched her lead on the fleet with Padfoot, Pilgrim and Samphire close to each other on the beat at various points. There was then a small gap back to Bonnie, Paloma and Millie. The fleet rounded the Christchurch Ledge buoy in that order and hoisted spinnakers for an enjoyable and boisterous run back to North Head. Here, the wind had increased to nearly 20 knots and backed to the southwest. This gave an exciting close spinnaker reach to the Hurst Narrows where it was possible to gybe for the run to the finish line at the Lymington River entrance.

The final run to the finish saw the Nordic Folkboats catching the XODs who had started the same course 10 minutes earlier. This gave some spectacular sights as the two fleets intermingled, and negotiated their way through a large fleet of Optimist dinghies competing in an Open Meeting. A crowded piece of water on a beautiful sunny Solent day, but a great advert for the many and varied boats that race out of Lymington on a Saturday!

At the finish Madelaine won convincingly, followed by Padfoot, Pilgrim, Samphire and Bonnie. All agreed it was a wonderful race in glorious sunshine out into Christchurch bay and back.

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