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IOSSC Round the Isle of Sheppey Race 2023

by Lee Marriott 5 Sep 2023 07:26 BST 3 September 2023

This year's Round the Isle of Sheppey Race took part on the 3rd September. The forecast was not great with 5 knots at best however, like Saturday's round the cans racing, the locals assured us there will be wind.

The race over the last few years has been dominated by catamarans. Could this year be different for the monohulls? The conditions support the argument.

The tides also proved a little more difficult being 0.3 under predictions which meant less water. The Race Officer (Scott Atkinson) took the difficult decision to postpone all starts by one hour, conscious that it may be a very long day for some people.

The decision proved to be the right one and the breeze started to slowly build, and the tide started to flood.

There are 4 starts, depending on the handicap of the boat. The Slow fleet set off first in 5/6 knots of breeze but a 2 knot tide. Ian Brunger sailing a 40year old Laser led the pack to the first waypoint of Warden Bay, closely followed by the Enterprise (Paul Young & Lauren Morgan).

The Medium fleet started 30 minutes later, although Lee Marriott in the Blaze got the best start, it was Chris Brunger, also in a Blaze who lead the fleet in the light airs. It took just under 2 hours to reach the first waypoint, and it looked like Chris Brunger (note: his dad is in the Laser!) was away and uncatchable when a small faux pas led him to sail into a hole and then proceed backwards for about 5 minutes. This allowed Lee Marriott and Richard Proctor (also in a Blaze) to go past.

The Fast handicap started another 30 minutes after the Medium handicap fleet. The tide was stronger, but the wind improved (slightly!) and an eery mist started to descend. The RS400 (David Ryder & Ian Pierce), Merlin Rocket (Chris Martin & John Tailby) and Musto Skiff (Richard Smith) all to-ing and fro-ing to Warden Bay. Once past the point and a chance to free off after a very long beat, the spinnakers started to pop up, just in time as the wind finally started to build. Whilst the fast two-person boats fought for position, little did they know that the Aero 9 (Paul Halliwell) was sneaking up on them.

The Fast Catamarans finally got under way 30 minutes after the Fast handicap. The Nacra 20 Carbon (Kevin Dutch & David Banner) doing its thing in the light airs, followed by the F18 (Tim Neil & Simon Farren) and the Dart 18 (Chris Goymer & Paul Wiseman). The Nacra was away with tremendous speed, both trapezing in the F2 wind, leaving the F18 and Dart 18 behind.

The race itself proved challenging both physically and mentally. The long beat in light airs was frustrating as most boats zig-zagged along the foreshore to stay out of the tide.

With the delay of 1 hour, more water allowed boats to pass close to the beaches and do a more direct route. All the fleets caught up with each other between Harty and the Bridge which was ideal. The wind (as predicted by the locals) started to build and a steady 12/14kts was had around the back of the island.

What makes this race unique is the Kingsferry Bridge where you have to disembark, capsize your boat and walk it under. Competitors were greeted by a very enthusiastic and very professional beach team who assisted boats under. A top quality service!

After the bridge the land flattened off and the wind was now about 15 to 18kts. A superfast fetch up Long Reach towards the picturesque harbour of Queenborough, where there were old Thames Barges and Classic small ships moored.

As you exit Queenborough, you enter Sheerness Docks, which is a busy commercial port. Luckily there wasn't much moving, but the wind was now gusting 20kts. Already tired from the race, the weather made the final beat to the club from the choppy waters of Garrison Point a challenge. For most the tide had turned and the ebb carried us in the right direction.

The Round the Isle of Sheppey Race is so unique, so challenging, and yet so rewarding. Sailing around the picturesque island with its history and nature is just a delight. The small club on the north Kent coast can really put on a big show. IOSSC would like to thank all those competitors that ignored the forecast and took on the challenge. As a competitor, I'd like to thank IOSSC for its superb attitude, professionalism, welcome, brilliant social, and of course the race itself.

On handicap Chris Martin & John Tailby in the Merlin proved victorious, winning the race by just 39 seconds over the F18 of Tim Neal & Simon Farren. They also won the Fast Handicap Trophy.

  • First Medium Fleet boat went to the Laser 2000 of Alistair Moppet & Sarah Sneddon
  • First Slow Handicap was Ian Brunger in the Laser/ILCA
  • First Lady Helm went to Melanie Clark (and it was her first ever Island Race!)
  • The fast Windsurf went to Andy Gibson

All at IOSSC can't wait to see you all (and more) at next year's event.

Overall Results:

PosFleetClassSail NoHelmCrewPYElapsedCorrectedPts
1Fast HandicapMERLIN‑ROCKET3787Chris MartinJohn Tailby98004:31:3404:37:071
2Fast CatamaranFORMULA 18518Tim NealSimon Farren67003:06:0604:37:462
3Fast CatamaranDART 187727Chris GoymerPaul Wiseman82203:49:3504:39:183
4Fast CatamaranNacra 20 Carbon35Kevin DutchDavid Banner60302:51:4904:44:564
5Fast HandicapRS AERO 93042Paul Halliwell 101404:50:0004:46:005
6Fast HandicapRS 4001447David RyderIan Pierce94204:32:2304:49:096
7Fast HandicapAlto111Andy HockeyCiaran Buesnel92604:32:0404:53:497
8Medium FleetLaser 200021003Alistair MoppetSarah Sneddon111405:29:3104:55:488
9Medium FleetBLAZE860Lee Marriott 103305:06:1904:56:329
10Fast CatamaranDART 187761Rob Sted‑SmithCaroline Sted‑Smith83204:09:2804:59:5010
11Fast HandicapRS 400535Chris BrunsdenPeter Deeming94204:45:4705:03:2311
12Fast HandicapMUSTO SKIFF615Richard Smith 84904:19:0605:05:1112
13Medium FleetBLAZE799Chris Brunger 103305:17:2205:07:1413
14Slow HandicapLASER/ ILCA 7113606Ian Brunger 110005:47:4905:16:1214
15Medium FleetBLAZE77Andy Wilson 103305:27:3305:17:0515
16Slow HandicapSOLO5418Mick Greenland 114206:02:5005:17:4316
17Medium FleetBLAZE535Richard Proctor 103305:30:0605:19:3317
18WindsurfWindsurf1000Andy Gibson  05:21:4305:21:4318
19Slow HandicapENTERPRISE22901Paul YoungLauren Morgan112206:01:3105:22:1219
20Medium FleetSCORPION1906Tim BellJames Brown104105:38:5405:25:3320
21WindsurfWindsurf531Jonathan Davies  05:29:3605:29:3621
22Medium FleetBLAZE584Alex Perriman 103305:41:1505:30:2122
23Medium FleetLASER STRATOS (Keel)1774Melanie ClarkAmanda Bull118306:33:3805:32:4423
24Slow HandicapLASER RADIAL/ ILCA 61442204David Makkinik 114706:28:0305:38:1924
25Medium FleetLASER STRATOS637Richard WilliamsMartin Craig110306:17:4205:42:2625
26Medium FleetSPRINT 15 SPORT1991Derek Darley 90405:17:1005:50:5126
27Medium FleetCOMET TRIO (MK I)448Simon MillingtonStephen Deakin110406:34:2305:57:1427
28Slow HandicapPacer1891Bill HutchingsS Hutchings119307:07:4905:58:3628
29Medium Fleet42041566James SNeddonJohn Rees1105DNC 36
29Slow HandicapGP145794Tony DukeStephen Duke1130DNF 36
29Fast HandicapRS 600810Jake Willars 920DNC 36
29Fast HandicapRS 700 Richard Lilley 845DNC 36
29WindsurfWindsurf Elliott Taylor  DNC 36
29Slow HandicapTOPPER45794Stuart Shields 1365DNF 36
29Medium FleetTopper CruzN/AAshley BeukesLuka Frances1050DNF 36

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