RORC Myth of Malham Race

May 30, 2008

It all started well. On board Boj Mirck, Paul Glazener, Dirck van Dort, Maarten van der Zwaag, Hubertus van Everdingen Jr and myself. With Paul on the wheel we made the best start in the combined Classes IRC2-3 and we were passed just prior to the Forts only by FORMIDABLE3 of Piet Vroon. All other boats were behind us. During the passage to Bembridge Ledge we were finally passed by some J-109 boats and most of the IRC-1-0-SZ (though not all of them).

Spinaker II went up right at Bembridge ledge and stayed for the rest of the day until we had to peel her with Spinaker III, Boj’s favourite hobby on board. We gybed half an hour South of the Parallel of St Catherine’s with the idea to have less countercurrent and a later tide but looking at another boat which gybed earlier, we probably could have done better (Strangely enough ERIVALE who won overall gybed even more to the South).

During this afternoon the wind increased steadily so finally we had to hoist Genoa II and take Spinaker III down. So far, so good. The wind further increased to 38-41 knots with a True Wind Angle of 160 degrees we were able to keep going with Genoa II and most of the time our speed through the water was well over 10 knots. During the night things became more exciting with gusts of upto 47 knots. It was at one of the 47 knots gusts that we decided it was time to take action: we lowered first of all Genoa II (the mistake we made as it appeared later was that we did not flake Genoa II and put in a bag, but lashed it onto the deck), then we put one reef in the Main and only thereafter we put up Genoa III. Sailing became very challenging, but with two crewmembers not feeling entirely well (..) we felt undercrewed and we were indeed.

We made a stormround instead of gybing at the Eddystone Stone and we came so close to the Rock that the crew asleep got awake from the light getting into the boat through the windows. At only some 10 boatlengths (!!) away from Eddystone rock we did not give an inch away in this part of the race. Getting back to Starting Point was not an easy ride but Winsome behaved well in the waves and was gentle to the crew.

Then close to Starting Point, Paul discovered the Genoa II slipped partially overboard after the lines between the stanchions and lifelines appeared broken. The only way to recover Genoa II was by asking everyone on deck, sail to the North etc etc and I am must assume we have lost here an hour altogether. Genoa II is now badly damaged so we were lucky with the late delivery of UK DeVries Sails this time so we will have a new Genoa I and Genoa II for the IRC Championship 13-15 June on the Solent.

The winfinder webpage showed minimal winds for the coast at the next day and I can tell you that is hard to imagine when you sail in 40 knots of wind. So we went in the direction of mid Channel and tacked back to get in the direction of Anvil Point resp. North Head Buoy (Finish). Believe it or not but just when passing the Bill of Portland at a distance of some 12 Nm the tide turned (this we knew of course) and the wind died to 3-4 knots. In 55 metres water we decided not to anchor but keep our position by sailing Winsome with utmost diligence North-South. After some 2 hours we were in the same position as before but we did not loose an inch in Longitude. The wind increased steadily to some 20-22 knots which we did under Genoa I.

We must have lost altogether 4 hours i.e. the one hour to recover Genoa II and the subsequent tideloss at Bill of Portland and therefore we ended quite disappointly on place 4 in IRC-2 Class. In the competition we are doing alright standing #4 but #2 and #3 have sailed already three races. FOGGY DEW created some distance in the scores but the season is not over yet.

My personal analysis of this race:

  • lack of a core crew incl some strong -not seasick- foredeckers made us fail to flake and store Genoa II
  • boatspeed seems good
  • boathandling was alright
  • navigation was alright for 90%. The gybe at St Catherine’s should have been effected earlier. If we would have made another tack into the Channel prior to getting close to Bill of Portland, might have saved us the race. Navigator is to be blamed for these errors.
  • new B&G H3000 is a great advantage. The visibility of the analogue meters is much better, the configuration of the GFD [Graphic Function Display] is much better, the log of TWS and of TWD is an advantage. In short everything is better with the new instruments, except that still BTW has to be installed. It is now still missing and we need same badly for Cowes Week. Visibility in pitch dark of both GFD’s outside is not great since we failed to bring more contrast into the screen. These screens have a red background with black letters and figures versus the FFD having a black background with red letters and figures, which gives a better visibility in the night. (The Windex can be seen much better this year after the small mirror was put under a different angle in Lelystad).

It really has been great sailing, but as said a disappointing result considering a first place was wel within reach.

Returning from the finish at North Head Buoy to Cowes looked like crossing an inferno, strong winds, hail and tide turning against us. Upon arrival at East Cowes Marina we took LUNA to return to RLYC pier and just when arriving outside RYS the engine stopped so we nearly went on the rocks at the breakwater. The waves on the Medina must have had a height of 1,5 metres and it appeared extreemely difficult to negotiate the Medina waves even over the short distance from East Cowes Marina to RLYC. Once we arrived we moored LUNA and left her all by herself until the next morning. It was a delight to enter Winsome’s Cottage at around 4am in pouring rain. At 10am we started to clean up the boat and prepared her for 90% for the IRC Championship by taking out the heavy anchor, the drogue, the liferaft etc etc.


Post by Harry Heijst | May 30, 2008 |

1 Comment

  1. Dear Harry,
    I am sorry that I missed you last time you were in Cowes. I can send the jackets to your grandchildren and they will receive those in few days time. I am looking forward to hearing soon from you.kind regards

    by elena | 17 Jun 2008 | 22:30