Posts by Zoe Whittaker
Hold tight, it is a double race report from the Saturday multi-series…
On what turned out to be an absolutely splendid day, five Victorys emerged from the harbour entrance to a flukey 3-5kt breeze from the SE. The plan was to complete two races in the 1st Saturday series for the final points in the Helmsman Cup. Due to too much wind at the start of the season only one other race had been sailed in this series, meaning there was everything to play for today!
Z77, Z71, Z70, Z68 and Z53 gathered in the sunshine to workout what the course was going to be and who was going to be gate boat. Class Captain, Liz, on Z70 set the course from Suffolk Sails to - Gleeds (p), Vail Williams (p) finishing at Suffolk Sails.
After a speedy start(!) the fleet split with Z70 and Z77 heading off to the channel, Z71, Z53 and Z68 banged right but then Z68 decided to head off to the channel with the promise of more tide. The wind was shifty, the tide was confused and places were changing all the way up to Gleeds.
Z68 rounded first followed by Z71, Z77, Z70 and Z53. A reach to VW had everything to play for, 71 and 77 caught up with 68 as we all gybe around the mark. A slow leg from VW to SS meant that 68, 77 and 71 spread out looking for the breeze. Closing into SS, 71 felt the need to change it up- you don’t win a race by following the boat in front- deciding to test 77 and 68 with a couple of gybes which snuck them ahead and into the lead.
The results from the first race-
After the first race the wind seemed to ease and shift to the south, a new course was set starting at Suffolk Sails, RNC&RAYC (p), KB (p), Portsmouth Sailing Club (p), RNC&RAYC (p), finishing at Suffolk Sails.
Once we got away the wind decided to return to what it originally was and the first leg to RA was nearly a reach. Z70, being gate boat again, got a tactical advantage as the wind shifted, they were heading perfectly for RA. Z71 and Z77 tacked once clear of the start and chased Z70 down, Z77 went low along the wall with Z53, Z68 and Z71 stayed high on Z70’s stern. Rounding RA, Z71 and Z77 had just snuck ahead but it was still very close between the fleet as Z70 and Z68 tacked around the windward mark together.
It was now a reach to KB and a gybe to head for PSC, the wind shifted once again and Z71 attempted to hold the kite once they had rounded PSC (heading back for RA). The kite was swiftly dropped, during the drop the fleet to closed in on them. Now fighting to round RA for the last time, Z77 tried everything they could to overtake Z71.
Coming into RA, Z71 rounded first and got their kite set for the reach to the finish (the wind had shifted once again!) close behind them Z77 followed and then Z68, Z70 and Z53. It was now a drag race to the finish, albeit fairly slowly considering the wind speed…
1st Z71 Tim, Joppers and Zoe
2nd Z77 Hugh and Kim
3rd Z68 John and Bill
4th Z70 Liz, MC and Chris
5th Z53 Ron, Chris and Rosie
Once again the sun shone on the Victory Class for a great afternoon of racing!
Thank you again to Class Captain Liz for driving Rosina and being gate boat, i think you can hang your buoy up for the season now.
I must say Z71 had a secret weapon, owner Gareth Penn was busy with childcare duties so our friend Tim Carter stepped in to helm with Z70s usual crew James Jopling (Joppers). Thanks boys for getting Z71 racing and winning the Helmsman Cup.
Next race is Tuesday 21st May for the fifth race in the Tuesday Shield (1st Tuesday)
See you on the water !
The first up harbour race of the season was greeted by glorious sunshine and a(nother) NE breeze that seemed to be easing as the helms and crews arrived in Gosport to rig their Victorys.
Race officer duty tonight was provided by Z57- Janet, Stretch and baby Stretch (Ben). The course was set starting at V1-
Gate (V1 - committee boat)
Finish (between B1 and pile 13)
Now i mentioned an easing breeze… well, bang on the 1 minute gun the breeze decided to appear but this time with more northerly in it. All boats got away quickly on the start and fought up to Z1, Z76 (Kim) rounded the windward first, followed swiftly by Z71 and then Z80 and the rest of the fleet all closely together.
Due to the shifting wind with sneaky gusts the downwind leg to C1 was more of a broad reach and then a tight reach. So whilst attempting to fly the spinnaker between Z1 and C1 our next task was to actually find C1, which i now know is nearly at Fareham (see chartlet…)
I’m not sure about the rest of the fleet but Z71 - who is usually three up - did struggle to hold the kite and also struggled to get it down again! The Welsh Dragon eventually made it back into Z71 with a fresh rinse from the sea.
There are many challenges of the racing up the harbour, that’s probably why we don’t visit frequently, they include- moored boats, parked warships, a lot more buoys and posts to hit, mud- if the tide is out, navigation to the next mark- often up another creek, making sure you stay the correct side of the posts, and last night there were dinghies and yachts also racing around the same area. That is a lot to contend with !!
Once C1 had been spotted and the spinnaker was safely back inside Z71, we decided it was best to concentrate on overtaking Z76 which we tried very hard to do but didn’t quite manage before rounding the ‘leeward’ mark.
The tight reach between C1, through the gate, and Z2 was gusty. Z71 was hot on the heels of Z76 but with Z80 breathing down on both of them. Rounding Z2 a spinnaker hoist was debated but the wind gusts seemed to hold and the angle was too tight. The fleet were still really close together, there was no way through them for a nearby racing yacht!
Red post 19 was spotted to the left of a moored warship, the aim of the game was to get into the strong tide, overtake Z76 and shake of Z80 - easy right?
Rounding 19 and heading to the finish, positions had stayed fairly the same but it was all to play for in the last leg. Yet again another spinnaker hoist was debated, kite on the wrong side meant trimming the jib AND spinning the gear at the same time, the wind held and a hoist looked less likely.
Coming into the B buoys, Z76 just crept away from Z71 and Z80 decided to go low through the mooring to try and gain on Z71, it was neck and neck until the finish!
1st Z76 Kim and Ian
2nd Z71 Gareth and Zoe
3rd Z80 Russel and Munch
4th Z75 Nick and Clive
5th Z74 Tom and Duncan
6th Z70 Liz, Joppers and Salty
7th Z53 Ron and Chris
Congrats Z76 on your win!
Thank you to Z57 for your RO duties.
Despite our grumblings sailing up harbour is quite nice actually!!
See you on the water tomorrow (Thursday 16th) for the fifth race in the 1st Thursday series.
Race officer Geoff Dixon was fighting off man flu and called in his deputy David Price from Z54 with assistant race officers James Jopling and Zoe Whittaker.
With a plan to start off the wall abandoned when QHM recieved the call from Wightlink that start buoy Suffolk Sails was adrift with a course set for Ryde sands. Rosina headed off to KB to set the course whilst the wind shifted and died, all the changes led to a chaotic last minute start after a short postponement.
Eventually we got racing off with a downwind start, the course was as follows -
start at kb
finish at psc
The starters were Z38, Z57, Z70 and Z74
All boats were shy of the line whilst struggling to get spinnakers up, due to the short time frame from the course being announced to the start. Once all four boats had spinnakers up they shot off to VW spreading out from left to right.
At VW the fleet split with two boats heading to ryde and two to southsea.
"The race officer was relieved to see the fleet split at VW and exhaled with a large sigh"
Whilst the fleet battled upwind to RA, Rosina watched (and listened) to QHM and tug Independent recover Suffolk Sails from the impending shore of ryde sands, with the help of Gareth Penn remotely from home.
Coming into RA 38 was in the lead with 57 close behind, followed by 74 with 70 hot on their heels. Downwind to VW for the second time, 38 pulls away from 57 with a fair spread between the fleet.
VW to KB the gap between 38 and 57 closes and the wind eases to measly 5 kts.
Z38 finished first followed by Z57, Z74 and Z70. Congrats Minx on your first race and win of the season!
See you on the water for the next race
A strange wind direction…. north easterly led officer of the day Ron Fidler (Z53) to set course 16… i think everyone needed to check their course cards as its a rarely (ever?) used course! So to remind you-
SS (suffolk sails) s
Finish at SS
Boats on the startline were 57, 70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, unfortunately Z68 broke their tiller and didn’t start the race. The first leg was a reach to PSC, the majority of the fleet started at the Suffolk Sails end of the line with their spinnakers up.
The fleet split at PSC with Z75 leading the pack towards the Isle of Wight, whilst Z57 took a gaggle of Victorys to the edge of the channel. The wind was gusty with a sea state reminiscent of Cowes week, if only it was a little warmer!
Z75 led around the first windward mark (VW) down the gybe mark (KB) followed swiftly by Z71 and Z76. Kites had to be dropped at PSC for the very tight reach/near beat to PSC.
Z75 continued their lead at Suffolk Sails and up to Vail Williams for a second time, whilst the rest of the pack fought for the other places.
Downwind from VW to PSC there were a few gybe battles to try and gain places, however coming into PSC Z76 pipped Z71 followed by Z57 sneaking in before the finish.
Take home from the race- when in doubt definitely put you jacket on, the waves are wetter than they look …
Z75, 76, 57, 71, 70, 80, 78, 74. Congrats to Z75 on their win!
Thank you to OOD Ron Fidler.
The next race is tonight, Thursday 9th May and then Saturday 11th May. See you on the water!
Thursday Race Report from Geoff Dixon of Z54, Zelia
Thursday Race Report.
An unpromising forecast for both wind and rain may have contributed to only 5 boats making seemingly reluctant progress out to a start line in the vicinity of KB on Thursday. Awaiting them on Rosina was the team from Z75, with a start mark laid and raring to go, all be it with the committee boat at the unfashionable left hand end of the line.
With the westerly breeze coming straight off the Hasler wall, a short beat to PSC was planned followed by runs and beats between VW and the laid mark. Marks to starboard, just to keep us awake.
There was only one place to start, at the right hand end, and Z69 duly did so on the buoy on the gun, followed closely by Z74 and slightly less closely by 54,68 and 70. Opinion immediately differed, with the lead pair pushing out to the SW to the layline while the trailing 3 went right. At PSC little had changed!
Down the run to VW the separation started to appear, with 74 extending a small lead over 69, 54 68 and 70 following with the gaps between all the boats increasing. Over Portsmouth an ominous black cloud was forming, but the sun broke through over Spithead and all was right with the world.
74 and 69 rounded close enough to be worrying each other, and largely went right up the beat to find the flood in the main channel, battling up the edge of the tide. On 54, no amount of shouting and pulling seemed to be effective in getting the jib to stop flapping, and a brief pause was called to reconnect the sail to the sheets. 68 gleefully sailed past and the lead boats got smaller, all be it delightfully lit against the still darkening sky.
No change at the front by the end of the beat, 74 followed by 69. The embarrassed 54 went right to get inside the lift into the laid mark and squeaked around ahead of 68 to regain 3rd. Net..nothing had changed.
Nothing changed on the run to VW either. On the final beat 74 was covering 69, 54 was keeping a careful eye on 68 and 70 had the best view of all of us at the back.
The black cloud was bigger and more ominous. Two thirds up the beat 69 tacked right, 74 immediately covered, and simultaneously the front arrived. The wind promptly shifted 45 degrees right (to be fair exactly as forecast to NW, all be it an hour late). 74 and 69 charged on into the header, seeming oblivious to the reach that the leg had become, until sanity returned and the tacks came. Frantic bearing away across the fleet followed, with much wailing and nashing of teeth as 68 drove through 54s lee before the line
Results are - 74, 69, 68, 54, 70. A cracking evenings racing - the rest of you should come try it!
Thanks to Geoff Dixon for a fantastic race report.
Photo: Ian Perryman.