Unfortunately Vinyl Solutions is still grounded awaiting her new cap shrouds, and my right knee is only slowly mending, so I am not expecting to be out tomorrow either.
Sunday, 26 July 2015
Friday, 24 July 2015
It is now Friday 24th July, and , unfortunately, an injury to Vinyl Solutions followed by an injury to me (too much Laser sailing in strong winds last weekend) has curtailed our involvement in the J24 Summer Series for a couple of weeks.
Vinyl Solutions is awaiting new cap shrouds but, hopefully, will be back on the water next Monday.
In the meantime best of luck to those taking part in the Taittinger Regatta in Yarmouth this coming weekend. Sorry we couldn't join you but family commitments put paid to that idea.
On Monday 13th July I was pleased to join William Pollock's team on board Flying Colours competing with four other J24s in some quite strong winds. A windward/leeward course made place changes frequent. Crackerjack started the first upwind leg like a train, but gear failure prevented their use of a spinnaker. Andrew Hill and team on board Wijit got away from the fleet on the second downwind leg and never looked back, registering their first win of the season.
1st 4235 Wijit
2nd 4270 Jolly Roger
3rd 4266 Flying Colours
4th 4263 Jobs for the Buoys
5th 4074 Crackerjack
Tuesday, 7 July 2015
First at the start is not as important as first at the finish ! Vinyl Solutions' false dawn was soon quashed as the five other J24s, all carrying genoas in the decreasing breeze, overhauled the initial leader, carrying a smaller jib, before even exiting the harbour! The fierce outgoing tide provided thrills and spills, and plenty of foredeck squeals, on our way to rounding Swash Channel buoy no.2. The spinnaker run return was placid in comparison as the fleet hugged the Training Bank. Flying Colours did well to lead most of the race whilst Jolly Roger swapped places once in a while but could not hold on, so Flying Colours took the final honours.
1st 4266 Flying Colours
2nd 4270 Jolly Roger
3rd 4265 Madeleine
4th 4263 Jobs for the Buoys
5th 4239 Zaphod
6th 4067 Vinyl Solutions
Monday, 6 July 2015
It was billed as a Lad's weekend so we weren't going to take the Round the Island Race too seriously; well that depends on what you mean by seriously!
Two of the four owners of J24 Jobs for the Buoys were away, one in Gothenburg welcoming his daughter, and yacht SCA, at the conclusion of the Volvo Round the World Race. The remaining two, Bob and Wade, needed three Likely Lads to join them on a much shorter circumnavigation. So along came Pat, Craig and me, and I was the lucky one to be given the helm, at least for the start.
After a beautiful 4 hour spinnaker run from Poole to Cowes on Friday, it was early to bed and up at 05.30 on Saturday morning.
A gentle breeze was steadily increasing and by start time, 08.20hrs, the gusts were increasing handsomely. A genoa was chosen, and, despite misreading our watches, our start proved to be perfectly acceptable. Ducking and diving, finding lanes and clear air, minimising tacks (it's a marathon, not a sprint!) and just generally trying to avoid the bigger boats, was the order of the day, as we carried the ebb tide down towards the Needles.
We missed the family waving from Hurst Castle whilst endeavouring to get to the faster tide adjacent to the Shingle bank. The Needles were viewed a little too closely for some but that enabled us to put in the shortest port tack before setting off towards St. Catherine's. Leg One complete.
A two sailed reach or a tight spinnaker reach? OK let's go for it. It is a race after all. A few broaches but many smiles and a few good sleigh rides down the waves ensued, and then a fabulous view of the lighthouse at St. Catherine's, as we bore away from the increasing SW wind. Wind over tide conditions can cause some steep waves, but these can be avoided by staying close in along to Ventnor, so not a difficult decision.
A pleasant run down to the Bembridge Ledge, drop the spinnaker and turn back into the wind. Initially it would have seemed that a jib would have been a good call, but once Ryde Sands was negotiated, once again ducking and diving to avoid the bigger boys, the breeze eased and only a couple of tacks were necessary before we found ourselves trapped under the hills surrounding Osbourne Bay. In there one can avoid an adverse tide. Steady wind and adverse tide out in the Solent versus flukey breeze and a slack tide in the Bay.
The latter often proves to be the best option and at last, at 16.30hrs, we crossed the finishing line and were looking forward to that first beer, 8hrs 10minutes after our start.
The J24 proves to be a very capable boat in strong wind conditions and Jobs for the Buoys certainly looked after five slightly older gentlemen on a great "Lad's weekend". A couple of beers and an Indian dinner, a perfect recipe for the beginning of a great night out? You might think so, but for us it was bedtime by 9.30!!
We might even pick up a trophy as the other J24s finished a little later than us.