Best possible result for Winsome in Cowes-Cherbourg Race

September 13, 2008

This would become Winsome’s Race and it would be one of those races where all decisions taken appeared to turn out alright.

Our new friend predicted winds over 40 knots during our passage.

The start of all classes was scheduled at 1830 bst but due to some mistake (a contamination of a flightdeparture at 0950 and as race starting at 1830) I believed our start would be at 1850 and so I put the timer in such manner that she showed the time until a start at 1850. With still 23 minutes to go, at least that is what we/I thought, we suddenly realized that we had only 3 minutes until the start. Fortunately Pieter Köhne had manoeuvred Winsome in the right position close to the starting line not far away from the Royal Yacht Squadron and we (Francois and myself) had no time more to continue our discussion if we should hoist Genoa II or Genoa III so we hoisted Genoa II [Theun always said you need to use your maximum sails, otherwise it is no racing] and we blew off having the best start. All boats around us had one of two reefs in their mainsails and most of them were flying a Genoa IV or their stormjib so it did not take us long with some 23-25 knots of wind to leave all boats behind us. Half way the Solent wind increased considerably, so we peeled quite professionally Genoa II away under UK-deVries newly made Genoa III and we continued to make good speed. Classes 1, Zero and Super Zero started 10 minutes behind us but not any of them managed to pass us prior to reaching Fairway Needles Buoy.

We reached Fairway Needles Buoy on porttack and we tacked some 10 minutes after we passed it. The tide which turned about that time, made us go East of our rhumbline but considering we had 6 hours East going tide plus a 3 hours strongly West going tide (close to the French coast), it was all according to plans and we never had any doubt this was the right thing to do.

We always sticked to Genoa III in spite of some windgusts of upto 47 knots which probably made our Antenna collapse from the masttop, without breaking away. In spite of two somewhat seasick crewmembers we made it alright and when we came closer to the French coast, the tide turned as predicted and we only had to bear away slightly to go straight into the opening of the breakwater of Cherbourg Port followed shortly by Puma Logic. On VHF we learned Orange Mecanix IRC-Z class, British  Soldier and Jaguar Logic both IRC-1 class boats, were behind us so that gave us good hope for a good result. With Robbie on the helm we virtually pierced into the breakwater opening of Cherbourg.

42 boats started, 19 finished, Winsome won both her class IRC-2 and overall. Our last win in our Class dated from 2001 with Theun still on the helm. What pleased us was that we did beat the local hero Philip de la Porte with PEN AZEN and our Commodore David Aisher with YEOMAN XXXVII on corrected time.

This was a good final to look forward to Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race in December. Only our antenna folded but other than that the boat remained in good shape and we never had any sort of problem during the entire race and our boatspeed was excellent throughout the race.

As always one needs some luck and that we had indeed at the start.


Post by Harry Heijst | September 13, 2008 |