Racing Reports

Round the Island Race September 26th

Covid allowing we will be doing this. Meet Thursday, practise Friday race Saturday and back to Lymington Sunday. More detail later.

Racing Reports

Caribbean 600 2020 the race of the desperate corner

The forecast was ominous, normally when I use these words it means a gale or worse but for the Caribbean 600 it meant significant periods with very little wind. When you have a Farr 65 built to sail the Southern Ocean light winds are bad news. The team was well prepared and we had more strength in depth than most years, all but 4 had sailed with me before and we had 4 days of reasonable practice though with significant engine issues. Surely you don’t use the engine in a race? You do to charge the batteries plus it can be useful if you have a Man Overboard. With a reasonable start we headed up Antigua on the first leg and then put the wind behind the beam as we headed for the mark off Antigua, considering the light winds we were going quite well and were close to overtaking a Volvo 70, sounds good but they don’t like light winds either. At times we had no wind but we made it round the Mark off Barbuda and set off on a spinnaker plod down to the island of Saba. Lighter yachts were struggling and so were we, there is one thing more difficult than trying to sail 25 Tons into 5 knots of wind and that is trying to sail downwind. We persisted and after being becalmed a few times crept round Saba and headed north towards St Barts and St Maartens in a bit more of a breeze. Rounding St Maartens into the channel south of Anguilla we hit some serious wind on the nose and had to reef for the first time. I was down below when I heard the summons and Juno turned neatly round to return to a flashing light in the water, we came slowly alongside it but it wasn’t a MOB, just a light doing a good impression. But the engine wouldn’t start and had it been a MOB it could have been useful. We set off on the long leg south to Guadeloupe and Shelf, Fabian plus Yiannis battled with the engine, filters were changed, batteries were linked but for hours we couldn’t get it to start. FM went into consultancy mode but it still wouldn’t start and our efforts were draining all 3 batteries. Our calculations suggested we might not have enough left to maintain basic instruments and the Tricolour so I changed course towards Antigua plus spoke to ABSAR (Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue) about a tow in. After several hours and being quite a way from the Rhumb line I said if it doesn’t start this time we have to retire. The Glow plugs were used for 15 long seconds and then the key went to start, a distraught cry from a straining starter motor as it fought to turn the engine and then the roar of a Yanmar returning from the dead. The team cheered we turned to starboard, stood down ABSAR and headed towards the notorious wind shadow off the East coast of Guadeloupe. Our tactics were to stick close in and hope for katabatic winds, this worked well for several hours, but down near the southern cape we struggled as did others around us. Eventually we made it round the Ilses de Saintes and headed Northeast up the Atlantic side of Guadeloupe towards the island of Desperade fighting over a knot of current in very light winds. After several hours we were close to the eastern corner of Desperade which has a rock off it with just 1.2 m of depth. A few more hours . . . → Read More: Caribbean 600 2020 the race of the desperate corner

Cruising Reports

What a way to spend Easter

Pic of Wild Spirits having lunch outside one Easter after a race.

At Easter we have a race to Cherbourg, a good meal out and then a race back to Cowes. Both races are morning starts so we meet Thursday evening and will be back in by early afternoon on the Monday. These are Junior Offshore Group JOG races so a good social do in the Yacht Club in Cherbourg. Suitable for most people with sailing experience and for those with sense of adventure.

This will be our last JOG race before summer as we will be Milebuilder sailing up in Scotland this summer. We will also try and win the 3 Peaks Yacht Race for a second time plus compete in the Scottish Islands Peaks Race. After these we have more mile building sailing with Qualifying Passages for YachtMaster. Destinations include, St Kilda, Fair Isle and the Shetlands.

Cruising Reports

Try Yacht Racing

Before we go up to Scotland for the summer of mile building sailing we have some races starting at Cowes (join Wild Spirit in Lymington). The first one is weekend of 27th March and is out round Nab Tower at the East end of the Solent. Last year in windy conditions we finished 11th out of 22 in this race and hope to improve this year.

The Nab Tower race is suitable for people who have sailed a bit but not raced much.

This is a JOG (Junior Offshore Group) race so we always have a good social do afterwards. After this race we have the Easter races and then our first milebuilder sail up to Troon in Scotland

Cruising Reports

Caribbean bound

Paul is out in Antigua skippering Spirit of Juno in the Caribbean 600 until 1st March.

We will get e-mails most days so do enquire for March and Easter UK races plus our Milebuilder courses and mile building cruises up in Scotland this summer.

To follow Juno’s progress from the start afternoon Monday 24th February (1500 GMT) click on http://caribbean600.rorc.org/Race-Information/Tracking/ and follow us.

Racing Reports

Caribbean 600–Repeat Offenders

Previous Caribbean 600

As well as our Milebuilders in UK we also work with others to provide sailing opportunities in the Caribbean and Australia. We have one place left in the team on Juno, a Farr 65, for this year’s Caribbean 600 and so far all but 3 of the team have raced with Paul before. We are a bit different from most companies as we offer a berth on board for the week before the race until the Saturday after the race and this can save a lot of Dollars. As ever our objectives are 1) Complete the race safely 2) Enjoy ourselves 3) Do as well as we can

Afetr the Caribbean it is back to the UK for a couple of races, a course and then the Mile building sailing up to Scotland.

Cruising Reports

3 Peaks Yacht Race and Sailing Scotland

Pic of us on our way to winning 3 PYR in 2018 when we took the Daily Telegraph Cup by just 3 minutes. As well as our Milebuilder sailing around Scotland 2020 will see us competing in the 3 Peaks Yacht Race. The finish is at Corpach at the end of the Caledonian Canal so we will re-start our Mile building sailing from there with a trip through the Caledonian Canal then up to Kirkwall in the Orkneys. After the Orkneys we sail North to Fair Ilse and Shetland with sveral Qualifying passages for YachtMaster.

Racing Reports

Windy final race

The last JOG race wekend of the year saw a team on Wild Spirit that included several newcomers and racing novices. There were 10 entrants in our class on the first day and we finished 5th on a shortened course plus over 40 knots across the deck on occaisions All racing was cancelled on day 2 due to Gale warnings.

Racing Reports

Fastnet retirement

A 4mm hole was the main issue.

The tape on the Furler broke in 30kts off the Lizard so we went from 2 reefs in the Genoa to none in 2 seconds and had to pull down the Genoa then put up the HW Jib. The furler had been damaged at the start and we had repaired it, but it was slightly distorted and the tape had found a sharp edge. bringing up the HW Jib we found the forward sail locker had a lot of water in, as had the second sail locker plus small locker and cupboard.

The wind was forecast to get slightly stronger than the 30 Kts we had before decreasing, plus we had some wind against tide to come. After not initially finding where it was coming in (which meant we couldn’t assess whether it might get worse) it was obvious that further investigation to find the leak in the front end in those conditions was going to be hazardous.

The HW jib was slightly on the large size for the conditions plus the team hadn’t practiced MOB with having to pull down a sail. In big seas not enough sail is as dangerous as too much but we are also rated on only a single furling headsail so using the HW jib would mean retirement, though this could have been after finishing.

We turned into Falmouth and considered temporary shelter and returning to race but rejected the idea. One other factor I took into consideration was that we had trained for MOB with a furling headsail not with having to pull down a genoa.

Our initial attempts to find the leak involved plugging the Anchor locker scuppers then filling the locker with water and we found a small leak on a switch.

After sleeping on it we sailed to Fowey but water was still coming in and it wasn’t from the switch. The run from Fowey to Plymouth saw mainly our heroic Volunteer Tim, and to a lesser exent me, upside down in the forward locker plus hanging over the side. Eventually the cause became clear, a screw was missing from a scupper cover, the hole had been drilled all the way through the Hull so, when it went under the water in came the green stuff. We hadn’t been able to find it as it was in a gap of about 10mm between the Hull and the Anchor locker so very hard to see or get at from the inside.

Of our class of 54 starters 32 finished and partcicluar congratulations to Nimrod with 5 former Wild Spirits on board plus Kindred Spirit with 2.

Looks like I will have to keep Wild Spirit untill at least 2021 then I might retire properly.

My thanks to a great team on Wild Spirit truly a Unique blend of Age, Experience and Immaturity.