Racing: Round the Island Race 2006
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With Festina's bottom beautifully clean (for reasons best kept quiet), the light airs forecast did not seem unduly worrying. Indeed, at 0430 on saturday we could be seen motoring down the river in shorts - summer is definately here!

We started in the middle of the line on a tight reach, with all battens correctly stowed - an improvement on previous years! We then kept in the middle of the Solent until Yarmouth, when we hoisted the kite and gybed on the shifts, ending up on the inside of about fifty boats at the Needles. While this looked impressive, especially on the pictures on the RTI website, it proved to be a mistake as we sailed smack bang into a large hole (we almost did the same to a small anchored motorboat...), and here we stayed for the next 15 minutes, during which time we experimented with every gybe and sail configuration known to science. However, we eventually picked up a small gust, and using our momentum, glided under two lighter boats and picked up the breeze, leaving them dead! There are some advantages to a heavy boat!!

Once the wind had stopped boxing the compass we settled down on a shy kite reach, and sailed pretty much the rhumb line to St. Cats. Off the lighthouse we thought we could see the beginnings of the seabreeze, so gybed offshore to get it first. However, it soon became obvious that the seabreeze was in a sulk and didn't want to play, so we gybed back inshore, catching a nice shift in the process.

By the time we got to the forts, it was obvious that the fleet was turning into the proverbial parking lot, so we did what we should have done at the Needles and hoisted the kite and sailed round below the lot of them.

Only one boat was aground on Ryde sands today, and so we were denied the usual marker of the edges of the shallows, instead relying on Jamie's box of tricks and the depth sounder, which today decided that it would display the depth in Fathoms just to liven things up. This notwithstanding, we tacked up the island shore towards Cowes. The hoped-for knock was a long time coming, and we were getting more and more worried as we were lifted 30 degrees! Eventually we got some semblence of a knock and tacked on it, at which point our position looked much better than we originally though - phew!

In the end we finished 3rd in class, 5th in Division and 42nd overall - not bad for what weren't exactly ideal Sigma conditions! Still, a beautiful day, which let us eat constantly for 10 hours, 1 minute and 31 seconds, and added yet another page to the RTI bible!!




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