Round the Island Race 2015

June 28, 2015

06:00 BST Saturday 27 June 2015. At WINSOME her crew wakes up better prepared than ever before. Last night we spent discussing tide and wind predictions to optimize our route. In the end, we did indeed execute our battle plan.

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Joost H, Hidde, Floris and Boj slept on WINSOME. The rest of the crew were picked up at the Royal London pontoon, and WINSOME is motored out to the committee boat at the end of the line.

  • Laura – Helm
  • Leen – Main
  • Joost Heikens/Dantuma – Trim
  • Boj – Pit/Tactics
  • Harry – Navigation
  • Hidde – Mast
  • Floris – Bow

Start: Strong tides to the West. The tide is stronger towards the Island side, but as the wind is 20-40 degrees more to the South/Left than (we) had expected. Therefore we decided to start half way down the line, to sail quickly into the strongest tide.

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We saw our main opponents Zarafa and Straight Dealer closer to the shore than we were, but we stayed in pace with especially Zarafa. It was a nice beat towards Hurst Castle, staying slightly more on the Island side to stay in the deepest water (strongest tide pushing us), while negotiating the other 1583 boats on the Solent.

The wind was doing 240 (SW) around 11-13 Knots.

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At some stages other boats dictated us, but most of the time we sailed the plan we made the night before.

On this leg, the key point was to sail in as much in undisturbed air as possible, while staying in the strongest tide.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 08.20.37After Hurst Castle we made two tacks toward the Needles. In hindsight –to my view- this is the part were we lost most on the future winners of the 2015 RtIR. Straight Dealer and Zarafa.

Rounding the Needles lighthouse is always very spectacular. This time, the waves were too big for us (or our courage) to pass inside the Varvassi wreck, but we sailed only 40-60 meters around it…. So we did well on this rounding.

This is our track;

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 09.23.25But this picture on the Expedition Screen tells you that we were not alone (remember most boats are NOT on the screen, as they do not have an AIS):

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Or in real life a picture from some other classes:Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 13.50.47

The Northern side of the Needles, works like a funnel, therefore we anticipated  more wind after the Needles, than there actually was. We were slightly underpowered with our Kite II in 14 knots of breeze. Luckily our Foredeck Union of Floris and Hidde was extremely well prepared. They even wore brand new Foredeck Union UV shirts with this text on the back:

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A bit of arrogance, but they were good. They were really good! We immediately changed the Kite II for the Kite I. As pilot Urs was on the RIB Luna, he made a movie of our Kite peel.

Afterwards, we put up Ruby and we were ready to aim at Atherfield Ledges, to pick up the eddy from the Ledges to St. Catherine’s. Hidde actually took a picture looking back at the Needles.

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What we did extremely well during this leg, was sticking to our battle plan. We wanted to pick up the eddies, and we did. We gained massively on the boats that chose a route more outside, like Machimo II, but also on the two boats that went even further in.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 09.13.2310 minutes before we had to head up to aim at St. Catherine’s, we realized that we would have to do a close reach. Therefore we woke up the foredeck from their well deserved rest, to do our second Spinaker peel on the same leg. We went back from the Kite I to Kite II.

We rounded St. Catherine’s and hugged the shore, to stay out of the tide.

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We sailed in the wind shade of the Island, on a very low course…. And as our confidence had grown during the last two peels, we threw in a third Spi peel. So No II down and No I up!

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By doing this peel on the first Starboard gybe, we sailed away from the coast, slightly more then we had hoped for, we lost some ground on some boats around us.

 

After Dunnose Point we had a really exciting Kite ride towards Bembridge Ledge. The tide was still against us, but the 17 knots of breeze pushing us towards Bembridge Ledge was great. Unfortunately slightly greater for the boats that actually planed. So this must have been the third spot were we lost some ground on our opponents.

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During this leg we had some discussion going on, whether to go into Sanddown Bay to get some tidal relief, but we sticked to the plan, and I believe we did good.

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Most exiting part of this leg was in the rounding of Bembridge Ledge Bouy. Laura skilfully maneuvered us inside of a floating thing, which must have been a combination of a Caravan, a Catamaran and an Office tower. As we hailed for Markroom, which she had to give us, this office block was blocking about 10 other boats, which we nicely overtook.

 

Then a nice fetch towards No Man’s Land Fortress on Genoa II.

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And then some hugging of Ryde Sands. The Genoa II was up, and was giving us just the right balance between power and maneuverability. We got into a bit of dirty air rounding Ryde Sands post. We had already past inside the post near No Man’s Land Fortress, where we gained on other boats. However, due to lack of space we did not dare to go inside Ryde Sand post. Some boats overtook us, and we were in dirt. By tacking up Ryde Sands we positioned ourselves in clear air again. Unfortunately the wind had gone down, so we changed the G II for the G I MH. This gave us the power to hammer all the way to the Finish.

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This was the smoothest Genoa change I’ve ever seen. Well done again Foredeck Union!

 

After an early (my mistake) tack to the Finish, we Finished at 15:08 BST, after 7:10:22 on corrected time. Eighth in IRC out of 152 boats. Not bad, but no silverware…

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We were 5th in our IRC 2 C subdivision of 50 boats….

 

We might not have won the race, but we all had good feelings about it. We sailed extremely well. We executed our game plan, had perfect boatspeed and excellent boat handling. In the mean time, we also know where we had lost it;

  1. WINSOME is a heavy boat, tough to wiggle our way of the pack on the first beat and not so good at planing on the South side of the Island.
  2. We over stood the Needles by trying to hug the Shingles on the North side, we might have done that a bit to much.
  3. After Rounding St. Catherine’s, we sailed out a bit to change the Kite.
  4. After rounding Dunnose Point we tried to sail out and in for some time…. Trying both is losing on both sides.
  5. Rounding Ryde Sand’s pole, we got into dirt and stayed in it for a little while, as we could not get out. Stay aggressive towards the end of the race!

Still, in the end 143 of the 152 boats were behind us, so we must have done some good things:

  1. Plan the race and execute that plan, I don’t believe we’ve ever done that so well ever before.
  2. Do not settle in dirty air, find undisturbed air at all costs.
  3. Sail towards Yarmouth to pick up maximum tidal pushes.
  4. Sail towards Atherfield Ledge to pick up the Eddy, we gained over 1 NM on boats close to us at the Needles.
  5. Boat handling was so good; that we could easily change (Head) sails to maximize our performance.
  6. Great communications, everybody was busy trying to sail hard and push hard. Good focus!
  7. Harry managed to get two 15 min naps during the race, as he is still recovering from his serious shingles. So he worked hard on helping to navigate and sail WINSOME and worked hard on his own recovery. One thing is clear, he is not there yet. So we’ll have to see what the near future will bring.

 

 

There were no prizes to celebrate, but our pilot Urs had his 63rd birthday. We wish him all the best and good health, thanks for the great movie! Urs, congrats!

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And of course we had to celebrate our safe trip, as not every boat managed to sail around the Island without any damage…

 

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Ciao, Boj

Post by Boj | June 28, 2015 |

2 Comments

  1. Nice report from a great day of sailing. Pleased to see Harry was well enough to sail and saw him briefly in the High St.

    My only trip on Winsome R-t-I was specifically to show you how to go inside the wreck, sorry you have not continued! One of the ISC website videos shows us on La Réponse going inside but being pushed out rather close to it by an inside boat. Like you we missed the silverware but had a great day!

    Best wishes

    Andrew

    by Andrew McI | 28 Jun 2015 | 18:39
  2. Great summary Boj! I really like all the learnings at the end and the great photos! I really enjoyed sailing with you all yesterday and had a fantastic day! I am already looking forward to IRC Nationals in 3 weeks and Cowes Week in August. Thanks especially to Harry, Boj for all the preparations and all the crew for a great Round the Island Race! Hope everyone had a safe trip home

    by Laura Dillob | 28 Jun 2015 | 19:38