RtIR 2018; ‘Easy guys, One by One’

July 8, 2018

Although this quote was brought to us by a Port gybed fellow competitor looking at Starboard gybed WINSOME like a deer caught in headlights, it was very applicable for this race.

We sailed RtIR 2018 with:

Harry, Leen, Laura, Peter Morton, Nijhoff, Heikens, Lennard, Floris and myself.

Sunday and Wednesday before the race I tried to brief everybody on pre-race planning, weather outlook and expected currents. To give you an insight:


With a huge High pressure area over Westren Europe and especially over the UK, wind would be light and hard to predict. Intense racing by the seats of our pants was at hand. With little wind and many wind blockers called fellow competitors (1,200 boats in total) around us, a challenging day was coming up…

The course: Around the Isle of Wight; counterclockwise:

According to plan we sailed out of the RYS yacht haven at 6:30BST to have a good look around.

We were expecting only 3-4 kts of breeze, so were were pleasantly surprised with 7kts. Laura at the helm gave us a great start, one boat length below the line at the gun in the area with the strongest current towards the Needles.

Staying in the strongest current, while avoiding bigger ships that started before us and their wind shades was our basic strategy towards the Needles. A new obsession was born as we noticed FIREBRAND a wooden S&S 43 from 1965, looking beautiful. The one thing that didn’t look nice about her was that she was in front of us, while being rated lower (meaning she could sail slower than us but still beat us on handicap). So we committed ourselves to beat her.

We positioned ourselves in a way that we had max current pushing us through Hurst narrows. This is the place were our On Board Reporter Floris made a #Sailfie.

It wasn’t as crowded as in previous years, so we could position ourselves nicely for rounding the Needles Lighthouse inside the Varvassi wreck and of course outside of Goose Rock. Our plan was approach on starboard tack, bear off, hoist the kite with a starboard pole and gybe at the lighthouse. Keep in mind that the passing between Goose Rock and the boiler of the wreck is only 55 meters wide and not indicated somewhere on the water. That plan was executed perfectly.

The lifeboat was on station, but fortunately not for us! Maybe is was there for some other Cloggies, you’ll never know ;).

Needles rounding 2018


As it promised to be a long and tiring day, Peter took over the helm, so Laura could rest a little bit and alternate helming with Peter. We sailed a downwind leg towards St. Catherine’s Lighthouse, balancing tide and wind. We could see by the other boats on both AIS and on the water that the shortest course around the lighthouse would take a long long time, as there was absolutely no wind near the shore.

Even in hindsight we gybed at exactly the right time to keep us in both wind and current. As our newborn main
opponent FIREBRAND sailed much further out, this was the first time we overtook her.

We continued the downwind toward Dunnose, with Lennard doing a superb job trimming ‘the Dantuma’.

On this leg we tried to teach the Sunsail crew from the first lines of this blog, that ‘One by one’ is not in the racing rules and not an excuse of being in our way without any rights. In the end we forced them to gybe. None of the 5 people on board noticed that the boom came over and they were sailing with their spinnaker pole on leeward. I hope they had a great day and made it around safe. I’ve proposed to the Cowes Week organisation to have a separate Cowes Week for Sunsail boats and other charters, but now I would like to suggest they have all of these Clippers and Sunsails, etc. to join for the Round the Island race….. (and have them sail around the Isle of Man, while we race around the Isle of Wight)

We were happy that the wind was between 7 and 9 knots and we were making way more progress than expected. Less happy with the fact that FIREBRAND had overtaken us on the outside and was on the inside (and forward) of us towards Bembridge Ledge… Paul Weyth even took a picture when the two boats (and some others) were approaching Bembridge Ledge Buoy.

Little did we know what was coming up. As the Westerly winds could not flow over the hot Isle of Wight, and the heating at the same time generated another 180 degrees counter wind, there was absolutely no wind at this spot. Everybody was floating around with people trying to fly all kind of sails, sometimes with kites in opposite directions.

Peter helmed us, kept the boat moving and the fleet kind of restarted.

On the computerscreen all the AISs were in line, so it looked like a start, but we were actually on 75% of our track and already 75% of the way around the Isle of Wight..

FIREBRAND squeezed through on the inside and for the first time in the race I believed we actually lost her.

I did not know that two more of these situations were coming up. The last time there was absolutely no wind, was when we went inside No Man’s Land Fort. The tide was again with us. With most of the fleet, including FIREBRAND trying to make their way to the North, we decided that we had some tide with us on the inside, stayed on the inside and we wanted to make the shortest route towards the finish, and  hopefully the shortest route towards WIND!!!!!

We were persistent and it payed of! With a bit of luck, our persistency was rewarded. We were with the first 3 boats to catch the new wind and WINSOME took off like a horse smelling her stable. (That might not be an English expression).

We led our huge pack in the beat towards the finish. WINSOME is the blue boat with the lines.

We crossed the line at 18:06 after almost 11 hours of intense racing. We gained enough on the other boats in our class -including our self appointed main opponent FIREBRAND -to win IRC 2C with 28 boats. 7th out of 100 IRC 2 boats

We prepared WINSOME for St. Malo next week, had a wonderful dinner with Harry, his friends Bernard van Liemt (host), Manfred Schepers, Michiel Schepers and their NYALA entourage.

When everybody was well rested, Harry could collect the Silverware on the ISC prize-giving out of the hands of Brian Thompson on Sunday morning.

I am very proud of WINSOME and her persistent crew that despite difficult circumstances for a heavy boat, we kept on pushing. There was never any negative spirit and, YES! it was rewarded. As Sir Ben says; Never Ever Ever Give Up! and as the unexperienced sailor on the Sunsail boat said to assure us he could not gybe; ‘Easy guys One by One’. That is what we did; we took the different legs of the course One by One and we took our opponents One by One. The result? We One.

Thank your Harry, Leen, Laura, Peter, Nijhoff, Heikens, Lennard and Floris for a great day with great spirits and a fantastic result.


Post by Boj | July 8, 2018 |

1 Comment

  1. Super!

    by Jan Maarten | 15 Jul 2018 | 22:47