Created: 16 Mar 2015 10:57
Updated: 12 Oct 2017 20:17

Saturday 14th March saw the last Fast Cruise of winter 2014-2015. I had been watching the weather forecast for at least a week before the event and it appeared to be consistently from the NE for Saturday lunch time. The early forecasts were showing wind strengths of 3 to 5 knots but later forecasts had predicted around 14 to 16 knots which was spot on the actual wind strengths on Saturday.

Charles Whittam, who normally sets the courses, was away skiing and so the course design for this weekend fell to me. With only one Fast Cruise scheduled for this weekend I set a course for both fleets that I estimated would take between 3 to 4 hours trying to give both the long course boats and short course boats similar wind angles to sail. This was not always possible (for some reason the navigation buoys have not been placed for this to work) but included a number of cycles around 3 buoys in the centre of the course. I expected, and duly received, some comments from Charlie Quayle about this but the wind was taken out of his sails when Kioni obtained a first place under the Progressive handicap system.

The Fast Cruise finished in Cowes where the Yacht Haven was being dredged, the dredgers working from LW -2 to LW +4. (LW Saturday night was at 2220!!! The end of season dinner and prize giving was at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (formally known as the Royal Corinthian YC) where Commodore Michael Forbes Smith, performing his first official duties after the AGM, presented the prizes to the winning skippers. Finesse, a new boat this winter, walked away with all trophies, being first using both the LSC and Progressive handicaps and also claiming the prize under both handicap systems for being the first "short course" boat as well despite a late "Stewards Inquiry". Solid Air and Oxygen took the only prizes that Finesse did not qualify for, being the first yacht overall that sailed the "long courses" on LSC handicap and Progressive handicap respectively. In the LSC handicap Solid Air took second place with Shearwater finishing 3rd. Shearwater and A Day at the Races both finished on 12 points but the tie was broken by taking the 5th best Fast Cruise which Shearwater finished 5th beating Day by one point who had a 6th place. Day's consolation was under the Progressive handicap where she finished 2nd with 10 points and Oxygen 3rd with one point more on 11 points. Results for the March Fast Cruise and overall are below.

Liam Hayes in Finesse was not the only new person to take part this season. I would like to offer a warm welcome to Steve Perkins in Blue Pearl, a new member who took part in the final Fast Cruise, Lindsey Gill in Ocean Dancer,who has given up east coast mud just to watch Solent silt being extracted right next to his boat, Kevin Mulligan in Wolverine, another new member, and Charlie Quayle and Jill Moffatt (old club members but new boat) in Kioni.

Finally, the first Fast Cruise of 2015-2016 season will be 24th October but the destination is yet to be arranged. The other date for your diary is the 5th December for the Christmas and Fancy Dress visit to the Folly.