Created: 23 Nov 2014 21:15
Updated: 13 Oct 2017 10:38
Sir Ben

On Saturday 22nd November at 1100 ten Little Ship Club yachts assembled in the area around North Ryde Middle in readiness for the Fast Cruise to Lymington.

As we awaited the magic hour of 1100, when the fast cruise would begin, a dark shape hurried across the water from Camber Dock to join in the fun of the Fast Cruise. It was Sir Ben Anslie in his AC45. He couldn't wait to join in and it was obvious that the excitement of the Fast Cruise was something he couldn't resist with about 7 or 8 knots of wind from the south.

From North Ryde Middle the fleet headed south, the larger boats heading towards Peel Bank whilst the smaller boats turned at South Ryde Middle. We rounded Peel Bank and headed towards South Bramble, a leg that was just broad enough to carry a spinnaker. The next leg for us was to Prince Consort and on this leg we crossed behind the smaller yachts who were now proceeding past Prince Consort to Solent Bank.

After this the longer course took us in a few more zigzags down the western Solent, the first of theses being towards West Lepe. Regrettably, I thought I knew the Solent and hadn't bothered to take the charts out of their locker. I knew that the first red buoy to the west of the Thorn Channel was called something Lepe. Unfortunately it is East Lepe, not West Lepe which is the next red west. We turned at East Lepe to cross over to the green buoy on the other side of the channel only to be hailed by Windhover to inform us of my error; but not until they had passed us!

By now the tide was ebbing fast and we were doing more than 9 knots over he ground at times. The penultimate leg for both the small and large fleets was a short leg but uptide from Solent Bank to Hamstead Ledge. By now the tide was running in excess of 3 knots and some of the smaller boats were struggling to make against the tide. Our SOG was only just in excess of 3 knots here but luckily the wind had increased to around 10 to 12 knots and everybody made it around the uptide leg. At Hamstead Ledge we again met up with Ben Anslie who waved to the fleet as we all sped past him! The final leg was a close reach to the entrance to Lymington where we finished between numbers 1 and 2 buoys. Line honours went to Musyk, closely followed by Finesse less than 20 seconds later, both finishing at 1300. There was almost a 25 minute gap before Windhover crossed the line with all the rest of the fleet finishing by 1355. Once again thanks must go to Charles Whittam for setting two courses of 17 and 13 miles and finishing all the fleet within an hour of each other.

Berthon Marina arranged for all 10 of our boats to moored either side of the same pontoon and a relaxing afternoon was had with some crews mingling on various yachts for drinks whilst others explored Lymington. The traditional pontoon party was held early evening in the Mayflower. (It was warmer and dryer than the pontoon in November) followed by the evening meal.

Everyone had to leave early on Sunday before the western Solent ebb started around 1030. Unfortunately the wind had gone round to the north overnight and it was pouring with rain. It was a cold and wet return for us all.

The days results using LSC handicap are here and using progressive handicap here. The overall results after 3 Fast Cruises, where all cruises have to count, are here using the LSC handicap, and here using the Progressive handicap.

PS. when I said "we sped past Ben Anslie" I forgot to mention he was sailing a reciprocal course