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Cowes Classics Day 2024: Go West!

Go West! Life is peaceful there, Go West In the open air!, Go West! Where the skies are blue

Go West! This is what we’re gonna do…

Well the sky wasn’t blue, at least not to start with…and peaceful…ha! There was however a lot of open air, most of it whistling past at 20 - 25 knots from the Southwest. Anyway we had all decided thats what we were gonna do, and so at an hour that your average Victory almost never sees, 6 boats departed the harbour, some even before 9am, and headed up the wall for Gilkicker and beyond on Wednesday morning.

Their destination, confirmed en route, was Solent Mark 4V , Hamble Yacht Services, well west of East Bramble, where Victorys rarely venture outside of Cowes Week. There ‘Cowes United’ and a team from the Royal London Yacht Club’s Cowes Classics Week were waiting, for a days racing as part of the CCW Regatta. It was clear as we rounded Gilkicker in 18-20 knots of SW breeze that it was going to be a damp day. A classic short Solent chop was already building, on 54 Heather at the front was soaked by the time we passed Stokes Bay SC on the close reach to the West. She retreated aft..

All 6 boats made it on time for the start of the sequence at HYS, where we joined rather a lot of Swallows and some Classic Day Boats, all with their own start. By 11:25 Z79, with class legend Kim Taylor at the helm as special guest, was making an enthusiastic start to lead the fleet off the line for the first race, closely followed by the other players for the day, Z54, Z48, Z70, Z73, and Z77. With the breeze still around 18 knots there was a classic ‘Bramble chop’ to sail through, with the race area open to the west all the way to Hurst, and a strong east going tide to fight. Hard to keep the boat moving upwind.

The immediate decision was whether to tack onto port and push north towards Southampton water, or South to get behind the Bramble bank on its SE corner. Z79 went North, with much of the fleet following while 54 held longest to the SE corner before tacking under the bank, At the end of the 1 mile beat Z79 rounded the laid windward and spreader mark first, closely followed by 54 and 48, and in the company of rather a lot of Swallows, to add a bit of Cowes Week style excitement to the day. The hoist and dead run were challenging in the sea state, the fleet spread a little but 79 held the lead. Up the beat again and 54 tried to eat into 79’s lead, but they held the advantage and Kim tacked firmly on top to make sure! Down the run and to the finish, Z79 by a dozen boat lengths. 54 second and 77 holding the third fighting it out with Z48. 79, 54, 77, 48, 70,73.

A short break between races saw Z73 head for home with a sick crew member. Well done to Helen, Gareth and Jim for sailing so far and fighting around the first race in really quite difficult conditions. We hope everyone has recovered today!

Race 2, on the same course. The sun was out, serving to highlight that the wind has increased 2 or 3 knots, and the view to windward was bright green water and white breaking waves! Z48 leading the charge off the line, 54, 77, 79 in the mix. Again the decision was how far to get behind the bank and again 54 went the furthest. Then disaster! Black marks are hard to spot against the Island shore, Z79 and Z77, far to the north on the right of the beat, overstanding the windward mark by some way. Z54 also lured too far, and only Z48 picking the line, while Z70 crosses early. Z54 just in time to roll over 48 as the mark approaches to round first, Z70 gaining rapidly on those over stood. Z54 leads down a frankly rather rock and roll run. Action behind, but I had too much to concentrate on to keep things afloat to get the details! A thrash up the beat in very short waves, covering the fleet, and another mind concentrating run and 54 had the win, with 79 second having passed 48, and 77 and 70 astern.

No time to rest, and anyway everyone was ready to head for home, but you had to passage race there! Race 3 had a simple course.. Mark 47 (Contessa 32 Class), some 1/2 mile upwind, to port, followed by Suffolk Sails, some 7 miles of downwind sailing to the east. Z70 had the start of the day, no week, no.. month! on the line, on the committee boat, shutting out Z79 and bang on the gun! The rest of the class also on the ball, just to show the RLYC what we do. A short sharp beat saw Z54 take the lead round the windward mark a few boat lengths ahead of Z79, with the rest of the fleet close behind. And then comes the long downhill. Broad reach, 20 - 25 knots, quartering sea. An exhilarating leg for everyone, unless you were the one hanging on to the kite sheet (well done Heather and Martyn on 54). Z54 extending from 79 and surfing waves, and the fleet generally extending as we reached down to the mainland shore to dodge the west going tide. Around Gilkicker and on to the run, much to the crews relief! At the line Z54 after 1 hour 16 mins, followed by 79, 77, 70 and 48.

Long day, long report! Thanks to everyone who supported the day, to the RLYC team and to Heather and Martin especially in ‘Zelia’ ! (And a special thanks to the Pet Shop Boys….)

Geoff Dixon’s avatar 11-Jul-2024 By Geoff Dixon in Race Report

Victory Class 90th Anniversary Eastern Solent Weekend (28 - 30 June 2024)

As part of their 90th Anniversary celebrations, the Class held a regatta that saw the Class visit Seaview and Bembridge. Over the weekend, five races were conducted, accompanied by two social gatherings; a total of 8 boats took part. The Class has a long history with Bembridge, particularly since Victory Class boats evolved from Bembridge One Designs. The Class would like to thank Jeremy Spencer-Cooper and Mike Samuelson of the East Wight Combined Clubs for their invaluable assistance in organizing the event.

The article about the weekend was also published on Yachts and Yachting website: Victory Class 90th Anniversary Eastern Solent Weekend (

Six Victorys raced over to Seaview on Friday afternoon in quite bouncy conditions. First to finish on the SVYC line was Zilch (Z75) helmed by John Scammell; second was Zelia (Z54 - Geoff Dixon) and third was Zada (Z79 - Nick Benham). Z48 Isabel helmed by Jim Downing tacked early only to find himself rather close to the swimmers on Seaview beach! Subsequently they were joined by Zircon (67 - James Jopling) and on Saturday morning by Seagull (Z73 - Jim Page). After a very jovial informal supper at SVYC on Friday evening, crews met up on the staging mid morning on Saturday and as planned had a relatively short one round race around the SVYC buoys.

Victory Start 1 Saturday -

Looking completely in control, and making their spinnaker work well on the run to the leeward mark, Zilch (Z75) was the first to cross the finish line ahead of Zada (Z79) second and Zelia (Z54) third. With the fickle SSE’erly breeze coming and going, the third race was essentially a passage race to Under Tyne - a challenging beat as it turned out.

After a tight start close to the inner distance mark. it was soon evident that the front three were going to be the same boats (in the same order) as the previous race.

The final race of the day was another ‘round the cans’ race, making use of Tara as the windward mark, Fitzwilliam as the wing and Britten as the leeward mark; set three times round with the requirement to go through the line to complete each round. After a clean start (just) it was again Zilch (Z75), Zada (Z79) and Zelia (Z54) who lead the fleet as they located the correct buoys in unfamiliar waters.

Victory Start Race 4 Saturday -

Although the front group seemed to make light work of the fickle breeze, the bottom few boats struggled to stem the increasingly strengthening tide taking boats, against their wishes, back to Seaview. Indeed Dolphin (Z9) realised that they were on a looser so sensibly decided to retire and use their outboard to help them to the overnight moorings at Under Tyne. As the leaders had already taken an hour and a half as they came to complete the second round, the third round was abandoned and the S Flag (shorten course) was displayed.

After an excellent bbq at BSC on Saturday evening, it had been agreed that crews would meet at BSC the following morning at 10:15 to be ferried out to the Under Tyne moorings with the aim of the passage race back to Portsmouth starting at 11:00 so as to be off Seaview at 11:30 when the Red Arrows were doing a display over Ryde Sands. In the event it took a couple of boats a bit longer to rig but with the breeze holding and despite the very biased line, the seven Victory’s (Zada Z79 having returned the previous late afternoon) and although it was a beat all the way, good progress was made and they were treated to their own display overhead! Also a timely reminder for some of how far out Ryde Sands stretches! Self finishing off Suffolk Sails, the front three boats were Z48 - Isabel; Z54 - Zelia and Z70 – Unity who finished within three minutes of each other after a two hour race.

A fun weekend which it is hoped can be repeated again soon. Its been too long since the Victorys were regular visitors to the Eastern Solent.

The final results for the weekend were:

1. Z75 - Zilch

2. Z54 - Zelia

3. Z79 - Zada

4. Z48 - Isabel

5. Z70 - Unity

6. Z9 - Dolphin

7. Z67 - Zircon

8. Z73 - Seagull

Additional photos:

Words by Mike Samuelson

Race Report: Helmsmans Cup 4 18th May. The very best of very little!

You might think that Saturday racing in the Victory Class is a bit low key, a Saturday afternoon stroll with tea and cake. Oh boy would you be wrong. Case in point this Saturday 18th May, Helmsmans Cup 4. At least no rain in the forecast for once, but no wind either, 4 – 8 knots or less from all points of the compass, with the only common theme across the weather forecasts being ‘not much’. Nonetheless, it was the decider for the series, and with 3 boats in the frame to take the trophy it was going to be a hard fought afternoon regardless! Only a point between Z75, Z70 and Z54. The three of us were delighted to be joined by Z68, sailed by ‘The Hartleys’ this fine afternoon, and with a tiller now helpfully reattached to the rudder.

Photo: MC. (p.s yes it is 75 and not 69 really!)

Course selection was frankly tricky, with little wind in places on the race track and swings from south east to south west as gate boat Z54 scratched their collective heads just outside the harbour entrance. Dare we go far afield? Clearly not… even BT and Gleeds, out in a solid east going tide, were fraught with potential disaster and the chance to be very late back to the bar. So then, start at PSC, to KB, Suffolk Sails, PSC, Suffolk Sails, PSC, and finish at Suffolk Sails…plenty of scope to shorten.

The wind was light at the start but with a bit of concentration it was just possible to get a respectable ‘gate’ sailed. Z75 was keen and the first one out of the gate, while 70 and 68 held on to go a little later. Come on, come on…….the third boat cleared the gate at 1 minute 50 seconds and Z54 was pleased to be free to tack out towards KB… and out into the east going that was set to push them away from the buoy. It was the same for everyone of course, and 75 crossed ahead of 54, as the wind held just enough to allow progress against the tide. It seemed to take a while, but 75 slipped round the buoy with 54 following, several lengths behind already. Spinnakers up for a very slow run back towards Suffolk Sails….

A look behind as we approached the downwind mark revealed a sad sight, the wind having deserted 68 and 70 somewhat before rounding KB, and a large gap had opened up between the first pair of boats and the second pair.

At the front 75 had some half a dozen lengths on 54 as we started back up the beat. Where was the wind? 54 took an earlier tack for the wall, where what there was of the breeze seemed to be clinging to the granite. 75 followed, but as the lay line for PSC approached 54 had edged ahead while closing the gap to windward. What would 75 do, tack on the lee bow of course, could we roll him, could he lay the mark? No and yes respectively, and 75 rounded PSC with a couple of boat lengths clear from 54. It was getting closer, although behind us we could see that Z70 was having no luck with the fickle breeze and 68 was opening the gap..

Down the run to Suffolk Sails again. At the mark 54 was on 75’s transom, but a better rounding saw her pull away again. Once again 54 tacked first for the wall. The wind had other ideas, as we headed south west it started to swing south, then south east. 75 and 54 both lifted. Now we were both overlaying PSC. Sails were eased, could 54 to leeward power out and break the overlap before the buoy. No again! Now neck and neck at the buoy 75 had control to get the tack in first and round on the inside. Feet only between us….

Now the run to the finish at Suffolk sails.. but its no longer a run of course… the wind is almost from the East. 75 takes a decision not to hoist, 54 hoists and foots off under 75 with Heather hanging on grimly to a tightly sheeted spinnaker! Picking up pace… 75 looking worried…half way to the line he going to hoist?… he is going to hoist.. there it goes. With 75 briefly distracted 54 sheets harder and climbs across 75’s transom. Clear to windward, line bias in 54’s favour now, but can she gain the couple of boat lengths needed. 75 footing off for speed.. its close, its very close, its half a boat length…

To be honest, with no one on the line, both boats likely felt they had the win, but 75 certainly had the benefit of the doubt, to take the race and the Helmsmans Cup. Congratulations on a great race and series to Z75, and a great race and series for the Victory Class, half a boat length and 49 years of boat age separating the first two boats shows the best of the one design racing that the class offers.

A very honourable mention for Z70, MC and Matt cruelly abandoned by the wind gods on this occasion having had some great results in the first 3 races of the series….. next time….!

Not your average Poona!!

With the cancellation of the Poona Challenge event the Victory Class decided to try and stage its’ first team racing event since 2013 for the Clutterbuck Trophy. Hopefully this would give the Class a fighting chance in the team racing event we are hoping to host against the Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club and Royal Naval Sailing Association in our 90th Anniversary Year.

So how many would turn up? – hopefully 4 boats, but maybe 6 or 8!! The crews gathered at 11:30 on Saturday, and with some gentle(?) persuasion 6 boats were mustered.

Z78 – Jim D & Mike E

Z73 – Jim P & Munch

Z71 – Peter & Zoe

Z70 – Matt S & MC

Z67 – James & Harry

Z9 – Matt D & Claire

After a quick brief on team racing and changes to the standard fleet racing rules,the boats were drawn for the scheduled 5 flights programmed then a winner takes all final flight.

To distinguish the teams high vis jackets were distributed to the helms to help with the changes of teams between flights.

The regatta team (Scam, Max, Heather and Liz) and the crews headed out of the harbour for a predicted 1300 start. There was a small delay due to the repositioning of Z75 after a ghost passage out of the harbour the previous evening (ask Ian P for more details).

Scam and Max quickly positioned the inflatable marks (borrowed from PSC – thank you), while Liz set the start line from PSC buoy. So the course was windward to the Black inflatable (starboard) – then a reach around KB (starboard) to the downwind Yellow inflatable (starboard) back to the gate,
with the finish being signified by the shorten course “S” Flag (this course was defined as Course A).

So first flight Blue (78, 73, 71) v Yellow/High Vis. (70, 67, 9). With no spinnakers being used and the course being shortened on the first lap, the
Blue team took victory (8pts) with finish order 71,78,67, 70, 73 and 9. Peter delighted on securing his first race victory!!

With the wind veering, the course was altered to a windward leeward (KB (starboard) to the downwind Yellow inflatable (starboard) back to the gate). Ready for the second flight Blue (78, 9, 67) v Yellow (71, 73, 70). The course was shortened on the first lap, the Blue team took an easy victory (9pts, remembering that in 3 boat racing a 1-2 – any is a win) with finishing order 67,78,73, 70, 71 and 9.

The course was redefined back to Course A, with the inflatable marks being moved to suit the wind direction. This time KB (starboard) - Black inflatable (starboard) - Yellow inflatable (starboard) – Gate.

Third flight Blue (78, 71, 9) v Yellow (73, 70, 67) the Yellow team took victory (9pts) with finishing order 78,70,67, 73, 71 and 9

The tide going across the course – definitely provided an interesting strategy to the teams at mark roundings. Not only did it affect the teams but also Saprisiti as it was noticed to be dragging at the start of the fourth flight. Start abandoned and after repositioning of the start line the racing was again underway.

Fourth flight Blue (78, 70, 73) v Yellow (9, 71, 67). At the start 73 was OCS, only to return to clear the infringement. With a little coaching the Yellow team seemed in control of the flight at the first mark (2,3,4). The Blues, determined not to be beaten, reversed the scoring by Z78 gaining on two of the blue team from 5th. Z70 lost, then regained 1st place on the downwind. Now in 1st, 3rd and 4th Blue would secure victory, this left Z9 to try and slow an opponent to promote their own team member. Unfortunately, the move was not executed as planned and Matt just ended up with Yellow at the tail of the fleet. The Blue team took victory (6pts) with finish order 70,78,73, 67, 9 and 71.

Fifth flight: Blue (78, 70, 67) v Yellow (9, 71, 73) the Blue team took victory (6pts) with finishing order 78,67,70, 73, 71 and a DNF for 9.

After some complicated weighting of the results the draw for the final was made: Blue (70, 67, 71) v Yellow (78, 73, 9). So, the wind had stabilised and the course stayed as Course A. The teams positioned along the start line – individual recalls for both 71 and 73. Z73 again returns to exonerate itself, but not Z71 – oh dear! Blue took control of the race with boats in 1, 3 and 4. The team finish in the same order without 71 receiving a finish signal. Consequently the finishing order 67,78,70,73, 9 with 71 OCS. However, in 3 boat team racing an OCS is 10pts – therefore giving victory to Yellow (10pts). So the winner grinners are Jim D/Mike E(Z78), Jim P/Munch (Z73) and Matt D/Claire(Z9)… with Matt and Z9 making its’ inaugural trophy win (with Dolphin’s last win being 1988)!!

The finish time was just after 16:30, 3hours of racing with 6 close races – giving crews lots of manoeuvring practice and a small insight into team racing.

With a minor debrief at the bar and refreshments – hopefully the ground work has been established for the Class to provide more discussions on basic rules and another push for team racing to be added to future programs.

Thank you ALL, both crews/helms and helpers (and PSC for the use of inflatable marks) for making such a great, enjoyable event!!!!


(Photos by Heather)

Scam’s avatar 08-Sep-2023 By Scam in Sailing & racing, Race Report

Race Report: Fleet Race Tuesday 25th July - The Dunlin Tub

The Fleet Race, for the Dunlin Tub, as sailed on Tuesday evening was the last race before the Class head to Cowes and Cowes Week on Friday. Possibly an inauspicious trophy to have on that particular evening, given that Z15, Dunlin, was lost on a fresh day in Cowes Week 2001. Cowes Week preparation also accounted for the lower than usual turnout, but 6 boats came to the line at PSC racing mark, Z53, 54, 68, 73, 74 and 80. Of those the 4 boats that were heading to Cowes later in the week were anxious to test their boats and their competitive edge!

Z15 Dunlin, with Dawson Penn at the helm and a certain young Victory and Contessa 32 sailor as crew. Circa 1992

With race officer Hugh Pringle set up at PSC racing mark, Course 2 was called, with 2 beats to BT followed by two shorter beats to PSC, all with Suffolk Sails as the downwind mark. The breeze was an encouraging SW gusting to 20 knots, enough to get your teeth into.

The fleet were keen on the line, stacked up at the committee boat end with 30 seconds to go. At the last moment a dive down the short line saw them all off the outer end with no one OCS, out towards the west going tide, undoubtedly the way to go. Z54 the leeward boat just squeezing past the buoy with 80, 74 and 68 to weather and behind. As 54 squeezed up from below one by one the others tacked off for clear air, leaving 54 to take advantage of the best of the tide further out. At BT 54 had the lead with 74 and 80 rounding not far behind.

Down the run to Suffolk Sails 54 extended with Heather working the kite hard. 74 and 80 neck and neck behind. Repeat up the beat to BT again, 54 tacking too early for the buoy and allowing 74 to close a little, but 54 first round again and 74 and 80 on top of each other behind.

54 leading round SS and beat to PSC, the lead still comfortable, but you can’t make a mistake in the Victory Class and here comes the first one. 54 gybes to come down the run on port, 80 follows, but 74 holds out on starboard gybe and gets more breeze, storming up on 54, while 80 also benefits from breeze filling from astern after a lull. 54 under pressure at Suffolk Sails, but just holding the overlap inside 74 with 80 behind.

It’s often important to keep hold of the big picture when you find yourself in close quarters. Mistake no.2, 54 allows 74 and 80 to tack first and they foot off under and out into the breeze. An early tack onto Port sees them both cross 54 as PSC approaches, but they were a little early with the tacks this time, 54 holds on and takes a little benefit from a lift into the wall, lifting over 80. Not quite over 74 however, who cross on starboard 1/2 boat length ahead, to round PSC to start downwind to the line first, with 54 second and 80 third. 74 in more breeze off the wall and 54 defending against 80 sees Peregrine take the Dunlin Trophy at the line, to add to a few others waiting for collection at the prizegiving… 54, 80, 68, 73 follow with 53 retiring.

Well done to 74, but all the Cowes bound boats are no doubt happy with their performance! Thanks to Mr Pringle and team for a great race.

Now there apparently needs to be a song in here, so, with Cowes Week approaching, all together now…

“What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor, What Shall We Do……..

Race Report – Saturday 8th July - The Rhum Bar by The Boat Drunks

As some of the race reports are now referencing song titles and as it was world rum day perhaps the Rhum Bar by The Boat Drinks fits the bill.

World Rum Day!!!

The song about a bar that serves rum. The bar is described as being a place where people can go to forget their troubles and have a good time.

After the slow race today perhaps it was what all the competitors needed!!!

So three boat out for the last race of the Presidents’ Shield – Z69, Z54 and Z73. A small delay due to a timing issue onboard Z73 but with the rain consigned to the past, the course was set as KB(Start) – MR(P) – SS(S) – GL(P) – SS(S) – GL(P) – SS (finish).

Z69 took on the gate boat duties with Z73 and Z54 starting early on the gate opening on starboard tack. So, the long…long beat to Mary
Rose with the tide just starting to change to flow west. With a few early tacks the three boats continued east towards the port layline, Z54 south of the three, Z73 to the north and Z69 in the middle further east.

Then the wind started to drop, with a small sign of breeze filling from the south-east. Towards the Spitbank fort, Z54 had gained a healthy lead. In fact Z69 were looking to kedge as it had started to drift backwards. Z54 had made the new breeze first and tacked on the layline, with both of the others waiting for the breeze to reach them.

Z54 managed to round the first mark one and half hours after the start…break out the rum, but perhaps Geoff was thinking about overhauling the results to regain his beloved trophy for the vacant space on his stairway wall.

Z69 managed to pick the breeze up before Z73, managing to keep the chances of retaining the trophy alive.

The decision was taken to shorten the course (with the virtual ‘S’ flag) due to the wind conditions and predicting another long beat to Gleeds.

On the downwind leg to the finish, Z54 seemed to be slowing down with the breeze line reducing as they sailed to the west. Is there enough time for Z69 to catch? Z73 was still struggling around Mary Rose.

Not enough for a close finish. Well done Geoff, Chris and Hugh for completing and winning the race. Z69 second and Z73 finishing third.

So the Presidents’ Shield remains in place in Max’s kitchen for another year, Geoff’s wall still vacant with second, and a great third place by the whole Z73 team!!!

Time for a dirty banana!!! – Enjoy the rum!!!

Scam’s avatar 09-Jul-2023 By Scam in Sailing & racing, Race Report

Age Matters… Race Report Thursday 8th June

8 boats on the line on Thursday night for race 3 of the Puffin trophy. A fine mix of the Victory Class at its best, with 4 wooden hulls and 4 GRP ready to go, covering 66 years of Victory builds, from Z54 (1949) to Z80(2015). The wind was in the ENE (again!) 15 - 20 knots, but a steadier breeze then we might have seen of late, and with the promise of moving up the scale to the 20 knot end as the evening went on.

Z74 ‘ in the chair’ for the evening set a course from a start line at PSC…… SS - BT - Liningtons - BT - SS. At the start the fleet were keen, too keen in some cases, Z54 and 69 early and ducking back down the line, and 67, oh so close to not being OCS, but the ’X’ went up and back they went after an almost! perfect start.

Going left to the wall for too long on the first beat did not pay. Out to the right got you to the right side of the curve as the wind shifted. Z78, Z80, Z54 first around SS with barely a 1/4 of a length between them. A gaggle of boats behind. Z78 low off the mark, Z80 up the middle, Z54 high and up over Z80. Down the long run to BT the wind swung just a little to the east, allowing the windward boats to hold a good line to the buoy and make the most of the gusts. At the mark its Z54, Z80, Z78, with 77 and 69 right behind. Still nothing in it.

The east going was running. Off the buoy on Port was the way to go, racing down the tide, but 77 and 69 tacked left at the buoy for clear air back towards the wall. A bit of a header on port half way down the beat and 54 and 80 tacked left for a distance and then back on to port down the middle. The middle seemed a good place to be. Z77 and 67 hard out to the right, and 69 and 77 to the left were losing ground. 54 extending on 80, and 77, giving up early on the left hand side, closed on 80 to cause some distraction. By Liningtons 54 had half a dozen boat lengths clear, with 80 and 77 behind, and the rest of the fleet close. The gusty breeze had a surprise for 69 just after the mark, pushing her into an unexpected broach, quickly recovered.

Places basically unchanged at BT. One beat to SS to go. Most of the fleet off on Port, down the tide again, trying to judge where the corner was for a tack to SS. Z54 covering, Z80 holding second. Z54 tacks for the buoy, still some 3/4 mile away, looking good. Z69 has gone early however. Up the middle. Z54 watching closely. Are the lifts going to get him to the line first. Looking ok for 54, but 80 is a little further to windward and at risk. Z54 across the line first, the oldest boat of the night still has some legs, but Z69 is second, a great recovery, leaving Z80 with the third gun, a few seconds and 66 years behind!

Honourable mention for Z9, great to see them making progress on a breezy night (but despite the number the boat is a relative youngster), and many thanks to hardworking Mike and our third generation Victory sailor Vicky Metcalf on 54 for the effort ( I won’t mention your age!)

Photo: ©Chris Smith

Race report for Tuesday 25th April 2023, Tuesday Shield Race 3/6; John Hartley Z68

Seven Victories and their crews gathered on a rather chilly evening at the committee boat which was anchored adjacent to the Portsmouth Sailing Club mark. The breeze was fairly steady from the South South East at about 10 knots, a weak tide on the turn and beginning to set to the east. Geoff Dixon was the evening’s race officer, ably assisted by Liz Ballard. The course was set: starting at PSC, Gleeds to port, PSC to starboard, KB to starboard, finish at PSC line, nice and simple

Starting signals commenced and the fleet gathered at the committee boat end of the line. Z68 came in on port and tacked under Z74 and Z80 with 30 seconds to go, gathering some speed we were more than grateful when a second sound signal followed the start as both Z74 & Z80 were clearly over the line. They returned to restart and we then had clear air for the long beat to Gleeds. Concentrating on both boat speed and pointing Z68 gradually gained on those who were making a long starboard tack to the left-hand side of the track. Two boats Z75 & Z80 had gone the other way with a long port tack. On coming together at the windward mark, it was Z75 who had gained most and rounded first, followed by Z68 and then closely by Z80 (who had started last), then Z74, Z78, Z54 and Z70. Then a long run back to PSC with little if any place changes, short beat to KB and a run to the finish line. Another good win for Z75 followed by Z80, Z68 just holding off Z74, then Z78, Z70 and Z54, Z70 having sneaked past Z54 as they made a rather slow rounding of PSC. Most of us held our spinnakers along the wall and into the harbour against the ebbing tide, keen to get in out of the cold and looking forward to the warmth, beer and usual debrief in the sailing club. Many thanks to Geoff and Liz for an enjoyable race.


Fresh: Race report for Thursday 20th April

Sometimes its hard to trust the weather forecast. Why for example is the wind forecast to increase to gusting 26 knots, just for the hour when we are to go racing on a Thursday night…nah! not going to happen. So why when we turn the corner at Blockhouse are there only two other Victorys to join us, Z69 and Z74. Why is Sapristi pitching and rolling and struggling to lay a line at KB… and now you come to mention it, it does seem a bit fresh….

Thursday’s race took place in a very brisk North Easterly, which initially caused the first starting sequence to be aborted as the breeze shifted east with a couple of minutes to go. With the course amended to Suffolk Sails – PSC (x 4) to allow for the delay and the early sunset at 20:07, the three intrepid (or foolhardy) competitors set off up the beat to SS. It was conditions to focus the mind, especially if you were at the front catching the waves. To their surprise, Z54 seemed to pick the right lines and squeeze up on a lift to perfectly lay SS ahead of Z74 and Z69, whose earlier track inshore had not paid. Around SS some rare caution was applied on 54, with the jib goosewinged and no kite in the strong gusts on the very shy dead downwind leg to PSC. Behind, Z74 fought to get a kite up and under control, and 69 also hoisted, all be it some lengths further back. Second surprise of the night, as caution paid, and 54 was able to exercise more control to pick the line dead downwind to best advantage and with control, with enough breeze to overcome the extra sail area advantage on the boats astern. At PSC 54 still had the lead, and there was a repeat of the beat to SS, with 54 holding her position, 74 following and 69 closing the gap. At SS the breeze briefly eased, Z54 first round again ahead of 74 and 69, and this time all boats hoisted kites. The breeze returned, 54 dropped early again to exercise some control into PSC, and rounded just ahead of the chasing boats, but the gap had closed! 74 fell off into 54’s dirty breeze, and freed to start powering through her lee, while 69 held up on the windward quarter trying to gain control. The VHF delivered the shortened course call, final leg, and 74 seized a chance, tacking first for the line. 54 and 69 fatally delayed, and as the wind headed on the starboard tack to PSC Z74 powered out from under the other boats, sailing round the inside of ‘the curve’ as the wind headed, and made it to the line 7 seconds ahead of 54, with 69 a further few seconds back.

Congratulations again to Tom and the Peregrine team, a short but hard race. Thanks to Munch and Jim and Liz, a tricky OOD duty, and thanks to Z54’s crew, Mike and Vicky, who found themselves having to work rather harder then expected! As a reward, the return to the harbour came with lots of cold rain, to wash away the salt and send everyone ashore feeling fresh and happy! ☹.

Singing in the Rain - Race report for Thursday 14th April

Having been deprived of the first race of the season on Tuesday, an enthusiastic group of Victory sailors gathered around Sapristi in the Camber on Thursday evening ready for the Taylor Trophy. The rain poured down. It poured down on the moorings. It poured down as we left the harbour. Then it changed to heavy hail in the gusts as we proceeded up the Hasler Wall while the temperature settled at a balmy 7 degrees. We had the wooden boat, we had the deluge, all we needed now was a bunch of animals turning up two by two…. instead, out of the murk we found Liz and Sid, with Sapristi, at KB racing mark with a course to BT, back to KB, twice.

The rain stopped, the gusts eased a little, and overcome with enthusiasm (or perhaps keen to get it over with) the 5 boats rushed for the line as the countdown neared zero. Rather too early in most cases, and in the melee as boats tried to slow and duck back, Z69 rather underestimated the length of Z74 and a collision occurred. With 69 shaping up for a penalty turn, and 74 OCS, the way was clear for Z54 and Z80 to make a slightly better timed crossing of the line on the gun at the committee boat end. Still quite breezy, and the extra crew weight in 54 (sorry boys) was useful in allowing her to squeeze 80 into an early tack onto port, while Z78 pushed out to leeward of the pair, and 74 followed some lengths back having restarted. Z69, probably wisely, headed back to the warm and dry.

Out into the west going tide and 54 was first around the windward mark, with 78 close behind and 80 and 74 fighting at the back. Down the run, and Z54 first around KB to port, which was a pity, as it had to be rounded to starboard. In the subsequent unwinding 54 shifted neatly from 1st to last, leaving 78, 74 and 80 in the first 3 positions. The second beat to BT saw Z78 and Z74 fight it out, with 74 having the lead after rounding BT and holding it down the run to the finish. Z80 tacked too early for the wall, allowing 54 to grab some tidal advantage and recover one place on the beat.

At the finish, 1st Z74, (sounds familiar) Z78, Z54, Z80. Well done to Tom, Duncan and Carole for getting the first trophy of the season, and thanks to Sid and Liz for braving the weather (although we did notice who stayed in the dry in the wheelhouse!)

No one was singing…..although there may have been a happy hum from Peregrine on the way home….