Racing: Round the Island Race 2008
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This years RTI was quite an emotional roller coaster. First off there was an indefinable odour of dead boot coming from somwhere which defied all attempts at bleach, and even banning Sebastiens shoes had no effec t( sorry Sebastien , we take it all back - it was a 3 week old goats cheese tart hiding in a recess of the fridge!).

Next , my plan to spend an hour or so watching the wind before the start was scuppered by the sudden failure of all the wind instruments , so that we spent the time rewiring in the bilge. Worse still we got luffed by a kamikazee J109 with a red mist obliterating what little brain he had ,and to the moronic accompaniment of screams of" UP UP UP " both boats were , in the immortal words of Jamie W ,several pixels over!

So that was it - OCS and our race was over before we started. Then a funny thing happened . We came into the shore at Gurnard , and just when we should have been looking anxiously for a lane to tack out on port, the opposition melted away and we had a clear path out. After that we could do nothing wrong . The boat was going like a rocket , all the usual numptees from the classes ahead stayed well clear and we arrived at the Needles with seemingly no one in our class even in sight. The wind was top end of full rig - 17-20 knots and I ( wrongly) decided to go outside the wreck - overstood our lay line , yet still there was no one in sight. We roared up to St Cats under spi , where it began to get seriously windy so we delayed our gybe as all around us boats were broaching into the shore . Finally we went for the gybe and the crew nailed it magnificently - so much so that I started sailing the angles rather than sailing deep. 2 gybes between Ventnor and Dunnose were held magnificently but here we made a serious mistake and took a lane slightly too far offshore - allowing With Alacrity to take 5 cables out of our lead in as many minutes.

It was great sailing . A steady 10.5 knots with the kite strapped conservatively, but in perfect control. Blue skies, white horses and long surfs -it was the stuff of dreams. Once round Bembridge our luck returned and we had a marvellously clear run to the forts and round the sands , with seagulls standing close on our port side and our rivals falling back behind us . We were the first to break away from the sands - a decision that was vindicated as we made Old Castle point without tacking again.

With the wind in the low 20's we did an inside hoist to the No 2 ( having planned for this eventuality) , scooted inside the usual mayhem at the Shrape and were over in a shade over 7 hours.

It had been a brilliant sail !. Shame about the OCS.

Some time laterwe had two pieces of news . First the bad news . The loo is blocked ! Oh shit! Yes, thats right! And the other news - we were 2nd in class to an X-99 who presumably planed round the back of the Island . Double shit! ( hang on , shouldnt that be the other way round?)

But wait - if we were 2nd in class ( 7 mts in front of the next Sigma) - we must have been the right side of the start line. Cue for noisy jubilation and a serious dent in the wine stores . It was the perfect end to a nearly perfect day.



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