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Folkboat Prince Consort Charity Race organised by the Royal Solent Yacht Club

by Julian & Claire Sowry 4 Jul 2018 15:21 BST 30 June 2018

Sixteen Folkboats came to the start of the Prince Consort Charity Race, in warm sunny conditions for a start at 10.15. Countdown, the Committee Boat was stationed in Bouldner Bay to the East of No 9 buoy with a pin mark laid slightly port biased and nearer to the deeper channel and stronger tide.

It was a delightful start with the fleet reasonably well spaced on the line. The Race Officer out in a windward mark at Zwerver (2J) for added interest and then a reach across to Prince Consort before the anticipated long run home.

A small group rounded the first mark, Sowley (J) lead by Ajax, Raev, Padfoot, Lady Linda, Crackerjack, Moonstone and Mistral who broke away from the rest of the fleet having taken advantage of wind shifts and the tide. A long port tack followed East up the middle of the Solent with varying wind strengths and velocity shifts.

With such a long course, boats were spread over a very large area. The challenge arrived when the wind died on the last of the flood tide.

At Gurnard the wind began to falter and several boats went in to Egypt point and the direction of "the Green" off Cowes, but a short while later the tide began to ebb there making progress very tricky. Another small group led by Crackerjack, Raev and Mistral went slightly to the North, to benefit from the last of the flood, but with fluky winds coming out of the Medina River, only Crackerjack and Mistral crept around at this point against the beginning of the ebb tide. The Otter and Ajax continued to the North East to get enough sea room to round the mark in the increasing ebb, which eventually they managed. Meanwhile Crackerjack and Mistral drifted in very light airs to Salt Mead and then picked up a light thermal breeze going onto the Island which with the help of the west going tide created enough apparent wind to sail with the tide to the finish, within 5 minutes of each other after 4.5 hours of challenging racing. The Otter and Ajax finished some 30 and 45 minutes later within the required time limit. Very sadly, the remainder of the fleet retired.

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