Round the Island Race, 2nd July 2016

July 4, 2016

The Winsome crew for Round the Island Race 2016 was Harry, Leen, Laura, Boj, Joost D, Joost H, Hidde, Herman and Floris. We had a very enjoyable day, racing the 50 nautical miles round the Isle of Wight, in 20-25 knots of wind and sunshine! Boj had done some excellent preparation for the race, in terms of analyzing the tides and sending us all a detailed plan factoring in the tides and wind conditions, which was very helpful for determining our overall plan.

Winsome was racing in IRC 2, division 2C this year and we started at 9.20am. We started 2/3rds of the way down the line, towards the island end and thankfully we had a good start, which enabled us to sail in clean air for a lot of the beat up to the Needles! There were over 1,500 boats entered for Round the Island Race this year, so navigating our way through all the boats was tricky, especially on the first beat. Harry and Boj did an excellent job keeping us in clear air and towards the island side in the strong tide, which was going with us and was very strong, 2-3 knots.




As we headed towards Yarmouth and Hurst Castle, the wind began to build up to 25 knots, so we decided to change down from the number 2 to the number 3 jib. This initially hurt us, as sail changes take time but then it really helped us when the wind increased as we got closer to the needles. Harry called an excellent layline on our last tack towards the Needles and we decided to navigate our way inside the wreck around the Needles. This was very enjoyable and we got a nice close-up view of the Needles lighthouse. We could not see any boats in front of us that took the inside route (albeit we know some of the much faster boats did) but after we went inside the wreck, many boats began to follow our route inside the wreck.

Straight after the needles we bore away onto a tight reach and put the spinnaker up. It was a close reach all the way (12.8 miles) to St Catherine’s Point and it was very enjoyable. Joost D did an excellent job trimming the kite and we kept the boat very stable, upright and no wipe-outs for the whole day. Laura also got a good work out on the steering wheel and her arms are feeling it today! We sailed quite a straight course from the Needles to St Catherine’s Point and in retrospect we should have stuck to our original plan and sailed into Freshwater Bay and sailed closer to the land to get out of the tide.

After St Catherine’s Point, the waves increased and we bore away onto a dead run. We had fun surfing down the waves and decided to drop the kite, before gybing. Again, in hindsight, we should have gybed in earlier to the coast to stay out of the tide but we were nervous about doing too many gybes as the waves were quite large! For a period, we decided to pole out and goose-wing the jib. Harry took over helming from Laura and did a great job helming and surfing down the waves. When we rounded Dunnose Point the waves decreased in size and we hoisted the kite again. We had a lovely run down to Bembridge Ledge and dropped the spinnaker as we rounded the Bemdridge Ledge buoy. We survived the long kite runs with no wipe-outs, no damage and lots of enjoyable sailing! Many boats did not fly spinnakers at all, so we were pleased with our performance. Albeit, many of the lighter boats with a-symmetric sails, flew away from us on these long spinnaker legs.

After Bembridge, we had a fetch past Seaview and to the forts and then a long beat home to Cowes. On the long beat home, we stayed out of the tide and tacked into Ryde Sands.

We finished at 4.33pm, after 7 hours and 13 minutes of racing. On corrected time we were 7 hours and 8 mins. We were very pleased with our race, albeit, we know where we made some mistakes by staying too far out from the island when the tide was against us and we know that next year we need to stick to our plan more rigidly!

Winsome finished 4th in IRC 2C, (out of 41), 9th in IRC 2 (out of 151 botas) and 46th in IRC Overall (out of 457 boats). Leen handed over the pink t-shirt to Urs, who had a minor issue when parking the plane at Bembridge (the rain had made the grass , which was the usual parking space for the plane, too wet to park on) but thankfully all is okay! Urs handed on the pink t-short to Hidde who will wear it on the first day of Cowes Week. All of the crew (with the exception of Laura) had a very enjoyable plane ride back to Holland with Harry, Urs and Sophie, whilst Laura took the train back to the RORC in London.

We wish Harry and the crew the best of luck in the St Malo Race net weekend and in the Channel Race at the end of July.

Thanks to Harry, Leen, Boj, Joost H, Joost D, Hidde, Floris, Herman and Laura for a very enjoyable day and hopefully we will have a great Cowes Week! Thanks to Harry in particular for some great navigation around the Isle of Wight.

Please watch the great video that Herman and Floris made! I think you will enjoy it! It shows the exact course that we took around the island and some nice footage from the day!

Laura Dillon


Post by Harry Heijst | July 4, 2016 |