Racing Archive

Racing Archive

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.

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

Plymouth Ho

Pic is of Starling Control at Lymington but we have moved.

Wild Spirit is now in Plymouth Yacht Haven and with the current ‘Lock Down’ will probably be there until early May. We were of course meant to be moving to Troon and, as I have paid for an annual berth there, this is still the ambition but it became clear a couple of weeks ago that this was not going to be a normal year for sailing. With this in mind a quick look at Fixed Costs and some negotiating with the Yachthavens group we decided to leave Lymington earlier than planned and berth at Plymouth instead as it saves £4000 p.a. — Yes the number of zeros is correct and Lymington is now well over £9000 plus electric on top. We run on a ‘Not for Profit’ basis, I don’t draw a wage and any surplus goes to Charity so £4000 is significant especially when we are likely to lose half the sailing calander due to Covid. Paul will give the options more thought over the next few days but still wants to run the Milebuilder sailing trips in Scotland. The Mile building course from Lymington to Troon is off and as both the 3 Peaks yacht Race and Scottish Islands Peaks Race are cancelled one option is to operate out of Plymouth when the situation improves. This would allow mile building sailing to several West Country Ports and the Isles of Scilly. For serious Milebuilders the ports of Brittany would be a possible option and I recall a particular little restaurant or 2 that could be revisited.

More soon

Decisons, decisions

One of the problems in developing crisis is not making decisions at the right time. A classic example of this was Macron’s decision to close all French Ski resorts taken at 2115 on a Saturday on a weekend when 100, 000 people were travelling to the Alps, me being one of them!

Clearly Corvid 19 is wreaking havoc with our programme.

Here is the rough outline.

Move Wild Spirit to Plymouth Yacht Haven. Plan for starting again late June/ early July and heading up to Scotland for Mile building sailing and then leave Wild Spirit at Troon in the Autumn. Start sailing again in 2021 with similar programme including Scottish Islands Peaks Races and 3 Peaks Yacht Race plus Mile builder cruises up round Shetlands, Orkneys and Hebrides.

September Sailing

September and October are great months for sailing as the weather is still mild the water is warm (sea is at highest temperature about 21st Sept) and the crowds have gone.

We are looking at a cruise in September which will either go out to Islay and Jura or explore the Firth of Clyde and Arran. These are different from our Milebuilder cruises as long legs will not be a feature. Still very useful for mile building and experience but more time ashore in some friendly small ports

Evening of 6th to 12th September, looking like the most likely dates and we may use Largs as a base which is more convenient if we decide to explore Loch Fyne or go through Crinan and round the Mull of Kintyre.

‘And it came to pass’

We are now back home after shortest Ski Holiday ever–we managed to cross the Channel just before the news of the new French Coronavirus restrictions broke. We found out about them over breakfast in the Hotel 150 miles into France so we headed back. What effect will the Virus have on our sailing programme. Truth is I don’t know, the predictions seem to be that we will be through the worst by mid June so we continue to work on the basis that the Milebuilder sailing in Scotland will be OK. This mile building sailing is great for those progressing towards YachtMaster or anyone who just wants to sail in beautiful, remote, very low population density and possibly Cornavirus free places.

Normal service will be….

There is a pub in Sale called ‘Jackson’s Boat’ so thanks to Wild Spirit Wrench for the picture.

We are off Skiing until 22nd March but will get e-mails most days.

We are following Government advice and all events are on though we will have extra cleaning in place. The Milebuilder sailing trips in Scotland are on (and should be well after the peak of Coronavirus). These mile building trips are great for gaining experience and qualifying passages for RYA YachtMaster or just simply sailing in marvellous scenery. The Milebuilder from Orkney up round Shetland and back is probably full but not all deposits in yet so do let me know if you are interested. The other 2 Scottish Milebuilding courses have more miles plus still have places.

Coronavirus policy

Corona Virus Policy Quite simply we will comply with all legislation and UK Government advice and we expect everyone planning to sail on Wild Spirit to do exactly the same.

How might this play out. 1) Government advise no travel to starting point of trip/race. We comply but this is ‘force majeure’ so no refund but a lot of travel insurances policies may pay out 2) We decide to cancel even though no government advice requiring such action. We pay refund of cost of trip 3) You decide to cancel even though no government advice requiring such action. We don’t give refund. 4) Lots of other scenarios but too complex to plan for.

On board Hygiene Under supervision of a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner and Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health—Paul.

Sailors Grab Bags

Pic fro an Australian Boat–we don’t drink and sail, but once we have tied up…

We are now back from the Caribbean 600 and preparing for the UK season. Before the Mile builders we have a couple of races suitable for sailors who want to try racing. After a RYA course we then have our first Mile building sailing trip from Lymington to troon by way of Dublin, where we will be tied up

The Mile builder from Fort William up to the Orkneys is almost full but there is space on the other 2 trips and both of these will include a Qualifying Passage or 2 for budding YachtMasters, St Kilda is on the cards for the first Scottish Mile builder and we will certainly visit the outer Hebrides on this trip.

The third Mile building sailing trip from Kirkwall down to Troon is also likely to visit several hebridean islands and possibly Rathlin Island as well.