RORC Cervantes Race 2017

April 30, 2017

First off-shore race of the season. The crew consisted of Harry, Leen, Laura, Herman, Lennard, Luuk, myself and for the fourth year in a row, Wouter Verbraak was able to join us and coach us through our first off-shore race.


As the race course is only announced the evening before the start, Wouter had sent out weather outlook on Thursday evening. In general, it said; cold (as always!), South/Easterly breezes and a warm front passing through the race course.


The RORC announced the surprisingly straight forward course Friday afternoon;


With the present weather forecast that would mean a fetch out of the Solent, a reach towards the mainland shore, another fetch to cross the Channel, with possibly a (proper) beat at final 4 miles.


Saturday morning, we gathered for breakfast, including a final weather/strategy update by Wouter. Light breezes, probably from all over the place at the start, then the same as above. As the wind was supposed to increase during the crossing of the English Channel, we decided to hoist the first jib in the port TuffLuff groove.


The routing prior to the race would look like this:



We left the RYS yacht haven at 08:00 BST, one hour before the start of the race. Harry, Wouter, Laura and myself discussed starting strategy. A first it looked like there would be much more pressure on the North (mainland) shore. 10 minutes prior to our postponed start, it looked like the Southerly gradient was able to flow over the Island and we decided to start South and stay south.


As we were rushing to kill the engine 4 mins prior to the start, find our position and get an idea on time and distance to the line, we parked ourselves to close to the Green (West of the RYS). There was hardly any wind and the tide pushing us to the line was much less inshore, so a well prepared as we were with our starting plan, our first leg strategy and our set up, ended up start late. Only 1½ mins after the gun, we slowly crossed the line. We actually were one of the last boats in our class to cross the line.

Especially in off-shore sailing, but also in (and maybe even more importantly) in in-shore racing; never ever give up and keep on fighting.


By sticking to our pre-discussed plan and hugging the island shore (even if it meant sailing through the lulls of Castle Point/Norris) we were able to overtake 90% of our fleet before we reached No Man’s Land fortress.


We kept on sailing high towards Outer Owers, but in the end, it the wind turned right and a couple of tacks were needed, to reach the mark. Fortunately, we had foreseen this and we were positioned on the right (hand) side of the fleet.


Due to an eager call for the lay line towards this first mark, we (just) didn’t make it and we had to make two extra tacks. Looking at it from the bright side, this was really only the second mistake we made since the start, and we were already five hours on our way.


From Outer Owers toward the mainland shore, we were one of the first boats to put our Spinnaker (II) up. A nice and pleasant reach with good trimming in the windward side.

As both Luuk and Lennard had not sailed with us to many times, we discussed the drop before we reached the mark and executed our plan. After the mark we tacked on starboard for a 8½ hr. fetch towards mark A5.


The tide was setting us to the West for the first half of the fetch and to the East for the second half of the fetch. We played the Genoa with an out-board sheet and kept pushing really hard.


After rounding A5 mark we gained a lot by not giving away our height. Although the leg looked like a fetch at the beginning, closer to the land the wind shifted left and (almost) all other boats needed two or more tacks to get to the finish.

Our large comeback meant we finished 2nd in our class of 34 and 3rd overall (93 in total).

A great result to start the season.


Thank you all for this fantastic team result!




-We recovered from a bad start (in the right position) by sailing our plan AND keeping spirits up.

-We gained by staying south in the Solent, staying closer to the rhumb line then routed in the long crossing and keeping our height on the final stretch to the finish.

-We kept on pushing and trimming and did our boat handling solidly with a relatively new crew.


We should:

-Get a better pre-start routine including practice starts

-Adapt our sail trimming better to denser air with opening of the top part of the sails

-Log our settings better, so we don’t have to start trimming from scratch every time.






Post by Boj | April 30, 2017 |