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Portishead Cruising Club King of the Road Winter Series 2019

by Simon Britten 9 Apr 2019 07:03 BST

The Bay of Fundy off Nova Scotia has the world's highest tidal range at 16.3 metres (53 feet). Portishead in the Bristol Channel, is not far behind at 15 metres and our club The Portishead Cruising Club hosts adventurous racing all the year round.

We hold two winter events, an Autumn event of 7 races on a fortnightly basis and in the new year our King of the Road series, also of seven races, with 3 discards for each group. The club scores every race on IRC and HNC. Although the conversion to IRC as the predominate correction system is now virtually complete.

The tides present the club with a three-hour window for top of tide racing, each race taking just over an hour utilising local shipping buoys off Avonmouth. Tidal streams of up to 5 knots require precision rounding and strict adherence to Coll Regs! The first two races of 2019 were won by Jstar (J80 Nick D-Miller) and on the second only by 60 seconds from Slipstream (Corby 25- Matt Blundell) However the tables turned and Slipstream won the next two but only just, Songline (Sigma 32 Andy Brown) close behind. The rest of the fleet including two retired One Tonners (Hero (ex Local Hero 1V) and Rockhopper) struggled to break in.

However, the tables then turned on the smaller boats and the 5th race took place in surreal conditions of thick fog all around, sunshine from above and strong tides, provided exciting "blind racing" with every 'tacnav' glued to a chart plotter screen. Despite Hero (S. Britten) surrounded by thick fog and nearly catching her dowsed kite on the Rocks off the Royal Pub she managed to squeak in first on elapsed time. Hero powered through to a second win on the penultimate very windy race, 10 crew on the rail producing the horsepower well known from these wide old IOR boats.

With all to play for, the winner of the last race wins the series. Beautiful spring conditions and a neap tide allowed two hours of full racing. Hero tried her best to pull ahead taking advantage of the mile and a half dead run on the downwind leg but Jstar (J 80) kept the gap close enough to win on corrected time and take the King of the Road series Cup.

King of Road Series Overall Results:

1. JStar- J80 (Nick Duppar Miller)
2. Hero- One tonner (Simon Britten)
3. Slipstream- Corby 25 (Matt Blundell)
4. Ctrl J- J109 (Andy Williams)
5. Songline-Sigma 33 (Andy Brown, Huw Gibby)
6. Rockhopper-Tripp 40 (Hugh Gilbert and Richard Hine)
7. JTee-J80 (Jon Tucker)
8. Hullabaloo-J90 (Pete Blundell and co.)

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