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RNSA(P) Wednesday Autumn Series race 4

Portsmouth - 12 Sep 19 Offshore

The strong westerlies gusting to over 30 knots during the early afternoon were forecast to ease somewhat by the earlier race start time of 1800. The Series Organiser opted however to make the call of whether to race or not at 1700 when conditions could be assessed. It was decided to race.

With the decision made Happy Apple and Sunshine opted to sit this one out and the inaugural race of Mark Brown's new Assassin, an Archambault 31 had to be postponed when a leaky sea cock focussed minds on a bilge full of water!
With 3 boats missing the reduced fleet of 5 stalwarts reefed to expect the worst, set off for Gilkicker. Although some large gusts were still apparent off the point the wind over tide kept the water flat and safe racing was manageable.
Jolly Jack Tar the SOOD set a long beat against the tide to South East Ryde Middle, a reach at an ideal asymmetric angle to N Sturbridge, a fetch to Stokes Bay Central and a kite reach home. A few eyebrows were raised at the course length but more on that later.

At the start Tinker T held the weather gauge on Jolly Jack Tar who opted for less tide further inshore and it was the faster JJT who slowly eased ahead up the long beat. However a small overstand by JJT brought the two boats closer together at the windward mark and the full impact of a strong tidal gate was not rammed home. JJT set her big asymetric which after a couple of initial broaches she brought under control. TT experiencing gusts of over 24 knots opted to white sail the leg and managed to hang on to the coat tails of JJT - just.

Gybing at N Sturbridge and with a coaster heading for North Channel the trick was to keep well clear but minimise the damage to the course to the next mark. Tinker T being slightly better positioned in relation to the ship came out the better. On the reach home with the tide TT again white sailed the leg and JJT did not manage to extend sufficiently to hold her time.

With such a long race much credit goes to the catering team at HSSC who patiently waited for the slower boats to finally appear. Alas the jolly fine steak pie had almost disappeared by the time Wizard got back but the curry was equally fine.

With only one start and therefore every boat getting a turn at SOOD it may be worth while pointing out at this stage that when selecting a course consideration MUST be given to how long the slowest boat will take to finish, bearing in mind also that the catering team have homes to go to!


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