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RNSA(P) Wednesday Spring Series race 4

Portsmouth - 18 Apr 19 Offshore

Whilst half a mile inland all was sunny and warm arrival on the Solent coast brought on shivers in the cold very murky fog. As the yachts gathered their teams ready for the sail to Gilkicker and the start line the big question was could they race!

At Gilkicker, although vis was well down the start line transits were clear and with 12 knots of South Easterly breeze the decision was made to crack on albeit with a safe course staying well clear of the shipping channels. An area check on AIS by Option the SOOD revealed no ships in the vicinity apart from one small grey funnel steamer but none the less a prudent course in Stokes Bay was set. A run against the east going tide to Stokes Bay West- renamed this season Fairhall West, a very close kite reach to Browndown, a fetch to Stokes Bay Central, short run back to Stokes Bay West and a beat home.
The first start at 1830 saw Danegeld lead the way inshore in less tide and clearly taking the best tactical line. However she was chased down slowly by Spirit of Kudu which started further out but appeared to have a little more breeze. Similarly in the second start the choice was inshore, down the middle or rhumb line offshore but in greater tide.Although the faster yachts Sunshine and Jolly Jack Tar made good speed in a fading breeze along the shore, Option and the Turn to Starboard Sunsail first 40 trundled happily along offshore and were very well placed at the first mark. Decisions had to be made on the reach to Browndown - kite or not. Initially those holding their spinnakers struggled but as the full east going tide hit them the opportunity to ease sheets and broaden the reach made the spinnakers pay. The close fetch to Stokes Bay Central as expected saw little place changing but the decision at the mark to bear away or gybe set was crucial allowing Sunshine to pull through Jolly Jack Tar who previously held the advantage. This allowed Sunshine to control the beat home taking line honours and first overall on handicap with Spirit of Kudu not far behind. Alas for the slower yachts the wind already down eased still more and retirements from the back markers ensued as they were determined not to miss the curry at HSSC.


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