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.