RORC Cervantes Race’ victoire

May 5, 2015

The crew was very much motivated. The preparations of last winter have been extreme. The circumstances were excellent for WINSOME. Our secret weapon, Wouter Verbraak, was on board. The race was sailed in theory already the previous evening, based on the weather forecast/model delivered by Navimail (once recommended to me by Noël Racine/FOGGY DEW). In short we were ready for the kill.

We started as the only boat on the North side of the start line. As a matter of fact we wondered at a certain moment if the race had been postponed, because we did not see any other boat within a Mile from us.

In preparation of the RYS Members’ Intern Regatta, where the owner has to helm himself, I took the helm at the start and consequently kept it for the first two hours after the start. Under guidance of Wouter Verbraak the start went very well. Please observe we did not have  a n y  boat around us, not even close.

We hoisted Spi II within a minute from the start, but we broached immediately in only 22 knots of wind. We recovered quickly and took off at much higher speed than the other 30 boats on the island side.

Apart from an enthusiastic co-member of RYS, who wanted to make some photographs of WINSOME under Spinnaker, we did not find any obstructions on the Solent.

Only at Hurst Castle we met our very strong, but always friendly, competitor Noël Racine/FOGGY DEW, who just was ahead of us. So far, so good. We left the Solent as the second boat.

At the end of the Needles Channel, FOGGY DEW  took a chance by passing the Shingles with a lot of breakers, so she increased her lead on us even more. It did not worry us too much. After all she is a faster boat and needs to stay ahead of us to win.

At the DBZ Mark we dropped Spi II and put op Genoa II. We made a fairly close rounding which brought us on the left side of the fleet. At that moment Leen had already taken over the helm from me.

We stayed sharp and alert. Many boats which tried to pass us windward had to give up that idea and had to pass us on leeward, including LULOTTE, a Swan 55′ Yawl, sailing in Class IRC-3.

So we stayed on the left side of the entire fleet, nearly one of the most left boats.

Wouter told us to watch carefully the wind shift expected to the right. It did not come at the predicted time, but much later. We sticked to our guns. All the time we were sailing under Genoa II.

When the shift finally came, we had covered good ground. It felt like we were in a race car in a curve, but in the inner lane. Thus a shorter distance.

Wind 18-20 knots, reaching. Wouter teached us a special method to trim the Genoa (II) in such a way that we could easily cope with the wind gusts, whilst maintaining or even increasing our speed (we keep this trumph chart to our chest; ha ha).

We proceeded at 7,5 to 8 knots, whilst reaching. FOGGY DEW was 1,2 Nm away from us, so within reach.

Wouter told us exactly when to tack on the wind shift. It was cold since the water temperature was only 10 degrees. Brbrbr.

Entering the bay of Le Havre (Embouchure de la Seine), the wind decreased and thereafter again increased. We took the risk to stick to Genoa II in 22-24 knots. Later when the wind died, we had to change to Genoa I.

Then it became a rat race. We do not know and may never know why FOGGY DEW kept the right side of the course and sailed a longer distance. Meantime we had calculated that she needed to finish 21 minutes ahead of us to win, but being only 1,8 Nm ahead of us that looked unlikely to happen. Our famous fore decker Floris was on the helm and kept his nerves under control.

We arrived at 06:23 UTC, about 15 minutes after FOGGY DEW.

At that moment we could not know if any other lower rated boat could still beat us. It appeared not to be so. So a first place in our first off-shore race. Seventh over all with 110 boats. Géry Trensesaux, who promised Isabelle last year not to participate in any off shore races anymore, took his customary 1st price overall. I probably need to talk to Isabelle again on this score.

We dropped Joost Heikens at the first available marina in Le Havre so he could join his family for a holiday in the middle of France.  Then we returned right away to Cowes. We arrived there around 20:00 UTC and immediately emptied and cleaned the boat. Boj, Floris and Dantuma took the Red Funnel at 22:15 UTC, after a quick Indian meal and a Dutch beer.

One more drink for the Herman, Leen, Wouter and myself in the Pier View.

A long sleep followed. We continued to tidy up the boat, to do all our errands and left Cowes, but not after I had another instruction course from Wouter on Expedition and on Navimail.

Everyone in the crew has done a good job and everyone has contributed to this victory on more or less the same level. Thanks to all, including Robin Milledge and his crew of Berthon Boat Company. Our rudder steered like never before.

The Course (141 NM) and part of our track:

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Post by Harry Heijst | May 5, 2015 |

1 Comment

  1. Good job Mr.Heijst and crew!!!


    by Mieke Borst | 05 May 2015 | 20:01