Blimey, what a day!
Only three of the six sonatas entered in IRC finished. I’m assuming this was mainly due to the extremely high seas at St Catherines Point. There were two sonatas ahead of us at this point, a red hull and a white hull (possibly BFG?). We all wiped out and then we saw nothing more of the two boats ahead. I hope everyone was ok?
Despite the carnage at the south of the island we had a much better race than we expected. Apologies in advance for not knowing the names of the boats we were racing with (I can edit later if you can identify yourselves) but here is how the race went for High Note:
We had a slow start at the ODM end of the line where there were less boats, with the intention of staying out of trouble. We did stay out of trouble but we could see that we were not the leading sonata, crossing a few boat lengths behind a white and black hulled sonata (BFG again I think)before our first tack on to port.
The beat wasn’t as over powering as I expected but the white and black hulled Sonata was still pulling away from us all the way up to the needles.
As usual a lot of boats over stood the Needles and I think we managed to make a lot back here and we rounded the needles almost neck and neck with the aforementioned boats. Here we delayed putting the kite up. However when we saw the black and white hulled boat shoot off in to the distance we had to join in.
We had a very exciting close hauled kite down to St catherines. We had boat speed but we lacked control, I’m not sure what we were doing wrong but we lost a lot after broaching two or three times and not being able to hold the kite in the gusts. By this point the white and black hull was a good ten minutes ahead and we had been overtaken by the red hull.
Then there was carnage. Despite trying to depower the kite as much as possible, we completely lacked control sailing dead down wind in the high seas at St catherines. It wasn’t pleasant. We killed the kite in quite a spectacular way. When we recovered we realised we were not alone. In the distance we saw the white and black hulled boat wipe out shortly followed by the red hull. In fact there were no other kites to be seen!
Fortunately we did not break anything, and I’m assuming this is why we won the race, as we when we got back into the bay we were able to hoist the kite again, and we saw nothing more of the other sonata’s kites.
Compared to the previous three quarters of the race, the beat back from Bembridge was quite pedestrian. We were suffering from having shaken out our top three battens in the main during the race, but managed to sail high and keep clear air up to the finish at 1553.
Quite an epic day! I’m not sure I’d do it again in those conditions, but very pleased to have survived.
I really hope some of the other boats are reading the forum as I’d firstly love to know that everyone was ok, and secondly love to hear the stories.
Olly (high Note)
Epic race indeed….firstly congratulations, great win.
The “Red Boat” from your report was us in Impro, and the rather slippery boat that scampered away from us both was BFG, I had a good look as they overtook us rounding the needles, where did their downwind boatspeed come from???!!
We had a nice start at the inner end of the line and a great beat to the needles, passing Hurst we saw BFG bearing down on us but we took a conservative line around the wreck (given the sea state…).
Like you we paused before hoisting the kite, but then it had to be done (good thing not to have windspeed info…), it ended up about a foot short of fully up but we could do nothing so we set a very low pole and this setup seemed quite stable (compared to your full main and spini which was faster than us but you kept broaching…).
Then I noticed a hole in the top panel of our spini (hindsight: that would have been a good time to take it down…..), we were surfing down the waves with a max on the log of 12.4 kt (planning??).
Then we broached twice in quick sucession, 2nd time the spini refilled the hole spread and the whole thing went bang!
We ran off under the main whilst I sorted the carnage (all wrapped round the forestay and genny halyard), got the #2 back up and evenually gybed for bembridge (was offshore by now so quite a close reach).
Just before all this we saw BFG with only the spini streaming from her mast and my crew thought no boom???
We then started to feel a little comfortable so out came my “best” spini and we had a stonking reach into Bembridge……where things got interesting very quickly on the drop (must run deep before dropping, must run deep before dropping, must run deep before dropping), we tried to drop from a reach, couldnt get the spini in having dumped the halyard and the guy and it filled and layed up flat (proper keel out the water with water comimg into the cockpit flat), but she picked herself up and we got the kite under control and away.
Them like you an uneventful beat to the finish.
Happy to have finished mostly intact, spini went to the sailmakeres this am, they said it was the 3rd one that morning from the rti (this was only 0800!!).
Hope all the others who DNF were ok?