The race on the 21st July was race 4 in the 2nd Thursday Series, and what a change from Tuesday evening, lovely weather still, little wind forecasted to die… The committee boat setup on station at KB and laid a leeward mark, and then set a course up to Baker Trayte (P) KB (P) 3 times around…. A short postponement was needed to allow all the boats to get back to the correct side of the start line. The start got away at 19:06 with two hoots of the horn and an X-Ray raised.

Z67 & Z68 worrying looked at each other as “one boat over” was announced on the radio, Z68 returned and thankfully for Z67 the X-Ray was removed as Z68 started again. The fleet headed left into the strongest tide. Z79 took a commanding lead, Z57 hot on there heals and Z74 appeared out of nowhere also looking strong. Z67 was not going well, too light for us to find any kind of grove. A hitch into the right along with a few other boats and it looked better as we passed in front of Z69.

Boats started to round Baker Trayte and promptly stop moving as the fierce east going tide made itself known. Z79 did treat the fleet to an inspection of its new kite, a nice violet and white number adorned with Glass Slipper, nice! The mood on Z67 improved as we reach Baker Trayte as all boats where now again together and we had a chance going around on the inside. Staying out in the strong tide for a little too long evaporated this renewed vigor.

Boats where now pointing in every direction scattered across the Easter Solent, searching for wind, less tide and back eddies. This was going to be hard work and a bit of a waiting game.

Z67 was not in the mood for waiting and dreaming of cold beer, retired heading towards the nearest pint of HipHop. Z77 did not have to wait that long and managed to cross the finish line and take the win. Z68 was the next boat to retire, and then Z57 finished (having had a much drying race with the boat in a vertical position) albeit 18 minutes after Z77. Z69 squeezed across the finish line followed by Z79.

Z54 & Z74 gybed, gybed, gybed, gybed and then gybed trying to stay on the right side of the finish line. Z70 got close, like within a meter, and then drifted back and then got close and then drifted back, and well you get the picture. In the end all three boats had to retire.

Back in the sailing club, (the bar manager was very impressed with the amount of beer consumed this evening) crews dripped in throughout the evening, depending on how their races went, or how bored they had got, or how long they had to wait for there lifts back to Portsmouth. Such was Z77 commanding lead, they had had there two pints, done there socializing travelled home, had coco and where in bed before most of the crews had returned. (Possible exaggerated for a good story)

Final positions where Z77, Z57, Z69, Z79. Retired Z67, Z68, Z54, Z74, Z70

Such was the quality of the racing this evening, Hampshire Fire Services published a picture of the scintillating racing, that then made the BBC too(… ( Ok, maybe we were just photobombing there wildfire pictures, but that did explain the burning smell around Gilkicker)

With two races left before Cowes week hopefully all crews have done their practice and are in top form for a week of the highest quality racing in the best fleet in the Solent.

Munch, Bowman and trimmer on Z67, still not a photographer.

P.S. For all budding race reporters, a word of wisdom, don’t type your reports directly into Facebook. It has a habit of crashing when you are about 90% finished. I hate writing a race report twice for the same race. DOH!

Or over here…
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