Cowes-Dinard (St Malo) 2017

July 10, 2017

My very good friend Patrick de Koster persists in calling any RORC race of less than 200 Nm ‘a ladies race’. So I have to live with this, since this race is only 151 Nm. I will have to wait for the Rolex Fastnet Race to sail a race which even in his eyes draws some respect.

Our start was late since I had a misunderstanding with Expedition. At the gun we were still 15 boat lengths away from the start line. Luckily we changed G1 L at the very last moment (within the last six minutes to the gun) for G1 M-H, since the wind increased quickly from 8 to 12 knots.

Leen positioned the boat well, the crew did well and our new kid-on-the-block Dirk-Jan Zweers acted like he sailed already many years on Winsome. We found with help of Expedition all information, mainly WX and tide, the fastest track and we arrived as first boat at Hurst Castle being passed very soon by RAMBLER which started 30 minutes later than our class IRC-4.

After the Needles the tactical part of the race started. We stayed as high as possible and were soon the most Westerly boat of the fleet. It felt risky to be so far to the right of the fleet and I thought many times of two conflicting expressions:

1. Who never takes risks, never drinks Champagne (Russian)

2. If you sail an extreme course, you sometimes win, but usually not.

The fleet to the South East of us got better speed and could sail higher than we. My tactics appeared initially wrong, but I had no other option than to stick to our guns and persist in the choice made earlier. Giving up height would have brought us behind the entire fleet.

After an hour or so the fleet had to bear away whereas we got a lift and we had a better angle with the tide against us. Our relative position changed considerably. To the North of Guernsey we had only POMEROY SWAN in front of us in Class IRC-4. She is a 45′ S&S with a better rating.

At the Lighthouse Les Hanois on the SW corner of Guernsey we hoisted our S1 and that continued until the finish with interruptions when the wind died completely. There was not much we could do in winds of 2-4 knots so we swapped from the East to the West and vise versa. Still we had only POMEROY SWAN in front of us though half of the time her AIS did not function.

SPACE ODDITY, the fastest boat in our Class was close to us. Moreover she is a JPK 1010. LONGUE PIERRE and CHINA GIRL were 5-8 Nm behind is and we could never control them.

LONGUE PIERRE had a better speed than we and SPACE ODDITY stayed ahead if us, however not enough to beat us.

Here below the results:

Sophie awaited us in St. Malo with Mr Jean-Michel & Mrs Corinne Germaine. Our artival time was after 6pm French time.

A shower, a good dinner at restaurant Duchesse Anne and a good sleep in Hotel de l’Univers did the rest to recover.

The ladies trip back to Cowes took us only 21 hours. We had nice weather, good winds and a lot of fuel on board. We tested the track of our Try Sail and spent our time in the best way on watch schedule of 5 crew since Pieter van Balkom had to take the train St Malo-Paris-Rotterdam. 2 hours watch alternated with 4 hours sleep was very nice indeed. Thanks for your schedule, Floris.

Paul Glazener made lots of coffee.

Our new mast did well and we noticed for the first time the difference with our aluminium mast. Even in slight waves the boat is behaving better.

Since our Class score in the Round the Island was 5th, in this race 4th, our targets are now: 3rd in the RYS regatta, 2nd in the RORC Channel Race and 1st in Cowes Week. In the Rolex Fastnet Race we will have to battle with FOGGY DEW and probably some 70 other boats.

Our reception in Cowes by Dirk-Jan’s wife Aster was fabulous. Breakfast and later a very nice lunch served with cool and excellent wine on board of their XOANA.

Post by Harry Heijst | July 10, 2017 |