February Fast Cruise Results
The week after most of the Shingles Bank moved itself to a restaurant in Milford on Sea the weather on Saturday promised to be rather good but sandwiched after a gale on Thursday night into Friday and before a gale over Saturday night into Sunday.
The first Cruise of the day started at NE Ryde Middle and this gave the organiser some worries as a committee boat in the vicinity confirmed that the Sunsail fleet was starting a race at the same buoy. Luckily they started 30 minutes before we were scheduled to start and the area was clear in time for our start. In the long course fleet a tacking match occurred between Shearwater, Solid Air and Arc Angel making it an interesting and exciting Cruise. Both long course and short course fleets finished at Hill Head but it turned out that the short course fleet arrived long before those boats sailing the long course. This meant that they had a very leisurely lunch whereas the long course fleet was forced to start almost immediately in an attempt to finish before the next batch of weather arrived.
Maybe the lack of food caused the loss of concentration but the second course seemed to cause a number of boats to lose their way. The course was meant to be a simple short passage up Southampton Water, mostly following the green buoys but occasionally crossing over to the red buoys to add some interest. Windhover and Solid Air, who were leading the long course fleet crossed over to the wrong red buoy. We were just behind them and they realised the error of their ways when we rounded the right red buoy. This temporarily gave us the lead on the water but we could not hold off the much larger Solid Air who regained the lead just before the finish. They were not the only ones to go the wrong way. Shearwater sent a text to say that they had passed the wrong side of one buoy and retired and then it turned out that Willow had finished at the wrong buoy and also retired.With two boats not starting so that they could return to their home ports of Chichester and Lyminton before the next gale arrived meant that only five boats in the fleet of nine finished.
Four boats stayed in Town Quay marina, the rest opting to return home and drive to the restaurant in the evening where a total of 41 people sat down to the meal. Town Quay turned out to be rather exposed to the southerly wind and we had a restless night listening to the wind whistling through the rigging and the surge of warps. Leaving the following morning was also rather challenging with around 25 - 30 knots of crosswind with all boats moored with their sterns towards the exit which also included a 90 degree turn and a pilot boat moored immediately behind all of us. However, everybody managed to leave without incident.
The LSC HC results are here with overall positions to date here. The Progressive HC results are here with overall positions to date here. With just one more Fast Cruise to come and with 4 discards for 8 or 9 Cruises it all depends on next month. On the LSC handicap series Solid Air is currently 2 points ahead of Shearwater but as Solid Air is currently discarding a 2nd place this will be the next place to be counted. This means that evenif Shearwater wins the last cruise they will not be able to overtake Solid Air. Using the progressive handicap Musyk is currently 3 points ahead of Willow but their best discard is a 5th place. Willow's best discard is a 9th so Musyk needs to be not more than 2 places behind Willow to win the Progressive handicap prize. However, by finishing first in both of February's Fast Cruises their handicap has increased by around 4%. It's all to play for next month!