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RORC Cervantes Race 2019, re-connecting with off-shore sailing.

May 6, 2019


Tradition has it that we are accompanied by Wouter Verbraak on our first off-shore race of the season. This gives us the opportunity to finetune our navigation system and of course to pick his brains on many different subjects.

Besides Wouter, WINSOME’s crew consisted of Harry, Leen, Peter Morton, Laura, Dirk-Jan, Joost Dantuma and myself.

Wouter gave us heads up on the weather forecast; already on Wednesday he predicted a cold and windy race. RORC announced the course on Friday; East along the Southcoast, across the channel, back up to A5 and Finish in Le Havre.

Joost and mainly DJ prepared the shopping and the food, so together with the lasagna made by Herman during the Easter regatta, WINSOME and the crew were fully prepared for a cold and windy race on Friday evening. As most of the legs were either fetches or reaches, very few strategical considerations, the main leg would be the long downwind for Littlehampton to Cussy.

The start; as discussed the night before, we started up the port end of the line, to take most advantage of the stronger tide in that area and North of Ryde Middel bank. Laura helmed, and of course we had a great start together with – who would expect anything different – FOGGY DEW.

With the faster boats starting behind us, towards No Man’s Land Fort, it was key to defend our position and not to let too many boats roll us, without being pushed up too much away from the rump line. I think we did well with our big G1 MH.

A kite ride with S3 towards Outer Nab. With many chiefs and few Indians on the boat, Joost and I covered the foredeck and the mast. Yes, it was tough to get the kite in, but as old soldiers never die, of course we succeeded. In case I haven’t shown my appreciation to Floris and Joost over the past years, this was a nice reminder that we are very lucky to (normally) have an excellent foredeck crew onboard WINSOME.

A reach towards Owers and a fetch towards Littlehampton was an interesting reminder for some of us (including me) on hardship; uncomfy, cold and rocky. I was punished for having attached the tack of the G3 in the wrong position with a cold and wet arm, while fixing it and Harry was punished with a fall and a rib contusion while getting the jockey pole on deck, for…. I don’t know for what actually.

Anyway, after rounding Littlehampton, we were up for a spectacular kite ride of 77 Nm on S3. Spectacular surfs, with high boat speeds and the bow at times completely under water. With the cold front passing, accurately predicted by the AROME weather model and checked by Wouter the Router on the latest satellite images, we had windspeeds up to 32 knots TWS. Boats around us had a hard time, broached and we saw some shredded kites (and egos), but we kept WINSOME on her feet and in one piece.

The important considerations during this leg; how to sail the shortest distance, how to pick up maximum current around Cherbourg and when to gybe. We had a very smooth gybe and sailed towards Cussy in the dark. FOGGY DEW, to the West of us, picked up the strongest current and surfed with speeds of around 15 kts to Cussy AND victory. Just before WINSOME reached the mark, the spi-pole auto-tripped the guy and sheet, so our kite was out of control. We took it down, put the G3 up and rounded the mark. A fetch to mark A5 was our next leg. Uneventful. Again we put up the S3 on the next downwind, but before reaching General Messinger the pole auto-tripped again, so we went through the whole procedure of sorting out the mess again. G3 up, and the last hour towards the finish was to shy to fly the kite.

After finishing, we tacked around and had a very smooth crossing back to Cowes. We found out we were 4th. Not great, but without the spi pole issues we would (and should) have been 3rd.

Back home at WINSOME’s cottage, we were just in time to celebrate Sophie’s birthday via WhatsApp. One beer and a very, very deep sleep at Peter’s cottage.

We used Monday to dry the sails, get WINSOME ready and sent everybody off.

Leen, Harry, DJ and me had a comfy lunch at the RYS. Best thing; whiles discussing we hopefully found out why the spi pole auto trips. The outboard end tripping line a much longer then on the previous poles, so it can get caught by the banging sheets. If that is the real problem, an easy solution (shortening of the outboard trip lines will do the trick.

Leen and Harry took WINSOME to Lymington, where Berthon will hopefully sort out the mess with the water tank, so WINSOME should be fully ready for the 2019 Myth of Malham race in 3 weeks time.

For myself, I must admit, I found it much tougher to get into the watch rhythm and keep pushing during the race as it was uncomfortable and cold and I was tired after the first 12 hours. Nevertheless, we kept it all in one piece and had a reasonable result and found (again) many ways to improve. Ready for next time. Thank you Harry and the rest of the crew for another great experience. Up for the next event!

Cheers, Boj

Post by | May 6, 2019 | 1 Comment | Comments RSS

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