January Fast Cruise and Results
January's Fast Cruise was cold, wet & windy. The forecast for the past week was showing NW winds of 22 to 25 knots with gusts of 35 to 40 knots. The day didn't disappoint!
Actually, on the Friday I joined A Day at the Races at Gin's Farm and we sailed over to Cowes in a gentle Force 3, much lower than had been forecast. We spent the night in Cowes and there was nothing during the night that suggested that there was any wind at all. On checking BrambleMet early Saturday morning it showed that the wind had backed to the west and was around 13 to 14 knots which explained why the night in Cowes had been so quiet. However, as we left Cowes by the new east channel heading for the start area the wind increased as we left the shelter of Egypt Point and continued to increase for the rest of the day. As the wind built my phone was overheating with text messages announcing boats retiring before they had started.
This month the short and the long courses started at different places. The short course fleet started at SE Ryde Middle, north of the main channel whilst the long course fleet started at Mother Bank, south of the channel, both with a beat to N Ryde Middle. Just as the start time approached a large tanker made it's way eastwards towards the forts and so I was forced to postpone the long course fleet start for 10 minutes to allow the ship to pass.
The short course was just under 9 miles whilst the bigger boats on the long course had nearly 14 miles to cover. The wind steadily increased during the morning and veered to the NW and as the ebb built the sea became very short and steep. A day at the Races was taking every wave green with water pouring over the coach roof and side decks, only stopping when it hit something solid, usually me! Towards the end of the day gusts at 35 knots were being seen.
Thankfully the finish was at Reach green buoy at the bottom of Southampton Water which allowed those that completed the course to drop sails and motor the rest of the way to Southampton Town Quay, the meeting point for the evening. Only 7 boats of the 10 entered managed to complete the Fast Cruise and only 3 entered Town Quay, the rest returning to their home ports in anticipation of the 45 knots that was forecast for Sunday morning. Those that didn't make it to Town Quay arrived by car to sample the excellent tapas food at La Regata at Town Quay.
The results for the day and overall, based on the club handicap and based on the progressive handicap are below.
Note: There was initially an error on Solid Air's reported times. The results have been ammended to correct for the error at 1400 2/2/15.