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Royal Lymington Nordic Folkboat West Solent Series - Race 5 - Long Race West

by Chris Baldwick 15 Jul 21:25 BST 13 July 2019

Traditionally, the Nordic Folkboat Long Race West heads out into Christchurch Bay to round the Christchurch Ledge buoy. However, this year it appeared that the buoy had broken loose some weeks ago and washed up ashore!

Race Officer, Malcolm McKeag therefore sent the fleet out to North Head and then to South West Shingles before returning to the Lymington River finish via Black Rock.

In the variable northerly wind, Bonnie made the best start to leeward of the fleet and lead the spinnaker reach to the first turning mark at North East Shingles. On the reach to North Head however, she fell into a patch of light wind, whilst the boats closer to the shore made better progress. At North Head, Mistral lead the way followed by Svane and Bonnie with Jen and Tak in close pursuit.

A long spinnaker run to South West Shingles saw Mistral and Svane pull out a good lead with Tak making up ground on the two leaders, while The Otter, Samphire and Padfoot caught up with Bonnie and Jen.

There followed a close reach up the Needles Channel as the tide began to change from ebb to flood. By the time the first boats reached Black Rock, the tide was in full flood, and the northerly wind had become light and fluky with significant shifts. This made the beat to the finish off the Lymington River a great test of tactics and reading the wind shifts.

Whilst the three leaders went west of the river towards Pennington outfall, Bonnie and The Otter elected to play the wind shifts directly south of the finish. The Otter briefly passed Bonnie and both looked to have gained significantly on the leading boats, only for a late windshift to deny them any hopes of glory!

At the finish Svane had passed Mistral, Tak was third, Bonnie forth and The Otter fifth. However, it later transpired that Svane had unfortunately not entered the series, which moved the subsequent boats up a place with Mistral recorded as the winner!

All in all this was a classic foray in to Christchurch Bay with a wonderful day of racing in beautiful sunny weather, enjoyed by the West Solent Nordic Folkboat fleet.

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