Racing: Winter Series 2006
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Hamble Winter Series 2006

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What a nice start to the winter series - sunshine and gradually increasing SSE winds that propelled us rapidly round the course without any drama or major mistakes. We started well and went left with the majority of the fleet, only to find that Light had picked up a shift on the right, and when we closed was sailing well enough to force us to tack away into the inside of a wind bend . This put us back in the lead and therafter although Persephone harried us rounf the course for a while , a problem with their last drop put them out of contention as well.

So , a first win despite not consistently hitting the numbers .Next weeks aim is to overtake all the class ahead as well!


Another warm and sunny day with moderate winds giving wonderful sailing .We got clear from the Sigmas early and stayed well clear.Therafter we picked our way through class 3 , but for the second week running were pipped on corrected time by one (albeit different) boat in this fleet. Must do better!


It is possible that we had all been a bit too smug about the wonderful weather enjoyed so far in this series – and if the forecast was to be believed we were going to pay for it to-day  with gales and a LOT of rain. Luckily our esteemed race officer did not believe it  and managed to squeeze  a great little race in 15 knots in  between the storms.  He didn’t manage to avoid the rain – so  I suppose we must grudgingly admit that  he is human after all.

I got the wind toatally wrong on the first leg and we rounded a poor third , and therafter had to scrap all the way to squeak into the lead at the penultimate mark, which made it the most fun race yet despite horrid conditions.


Very light winds and BIG shifts made it a day for studying the compass and holding yor nerve when the shifts went against you.We got the last shift of the first beat right and stayed clear. Mind you the boats at the top of the fleet ahead were streets faster , but that may have been beecause we sat in some impressive wind holes for a while. Our 4th consecutive win and the sun shone all day!


To-dty we had a bad attack of the slows! Despite a fine start we were soon struggling to get in phase with the shifts and keep the speed up , rounded the windward mark second ( we had been back in 4th for a while ) and never managed to get back in contact with the leader.We said goodbye to our 100% record , but enjoyed scrapping for our second place.


Another extreme attack of the slows at the start of this race prompted allsorts of panicky searching for plastic bags on the rudder and such like fantasies. in retrospect the problem was that the fleet was sailing into a gradually increasing weather going tide . Due to my hopelessly mismanaging the start we had to tack off to the right , and so were last to get the tidal effect - and nearly last to the windward mark. However with quite immaculate crew work , some fairly aggressive downwind tactics and a bit of luck we forced our way back into the race , got the lead on the penultimate leg and dogged out a win .


Was I alone in waking this morning and secretly hoping that the wind howling in the trees would mean that racing was cancelled? I had of course forgotten that Jamie Wilkinson has a direct line to the weather gods, and yet again delivered warm and sunny days sailing despite the fact that the previous week (and next if I read it right) was a washout.

It was quite challenging mind you. Off the start line we found we didn’t have the speed to cross Degree of Latitude, or Premier Cru, who drove us to the port layline and forced us to take their transoms. Both had a single reef, which is probably fast at the top of the wind range (17 – 25 knots) and would definitely have worked offshore, but they probably suffered a bit at the top of the beats where the wind was down. It took us all day to reach our target speed of 6.7 and it seems that we were faster with the top of the main twisted off.

The runs were such that you could just get away without gybing – and we made the mistake of allowing Light to climb on our wind such that I thought they would gain an overlap. But inexplicably they let us off the hook with an early drop.

Up the next beat Persephone seemed to be on a charge and the 3 of us rounded in close order but kept our wind clear on this occasion. Up the 3rd beat Light split tacks and Persephone let her go, losing a place in the process, and now it was Light on a charge bringing the gusts down with her, This time we sailed the angles with two gybes and reaped the benefit by getting a 5 length cushion from which to cover up the beat.  Some confusion about a possible change of course on the reaching leg meant we all delayed our hoists and went high, which was a shame as it would have been sportingly tight, but it meant that we were able to stay ahead without any drama.

Am I right that light and Persephone are tied on points now?  We look forward to some fireworks in the last race!


Cancelled!. We went for a play instead - great fun surfing back down past Calshot with 50 plus knots registering at the masthead!

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