2015 Inshore Race 6
Nail biting finish in Race 6 of the SORC 2015 Inshore Series



North Sails Coaching Day


Race 6 in SORC’s inshore series was preceded by a day of on the water coaching, courtesy of the nice guys at North Sails. With four coaches and just one RIB, the coaches soon split up amongst the boats, allowing everyone to get 1-2-1 tips from the experts during a free practice session and two short races. After a line-shy start to the first race, the fleet pushed much harder in the second race, with Fastrak luffing rival Sunfast 3600 Bellino aggressively off the start line, allowing the smaller boats to sail merrily past!


Their rivalry restarted at the leeward mark, and the boats collided, breaking Fastrak’s bowsprit. Luckily, Nigel was able to return to Hamble, commission a super quick repair and return to Cowes to join the fleet for dinner with a 10” shorter bowsprit but ready to race! Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet, both old hands and solo novices, all came away more confident with a few tips for how to get around the race course faster.


Videos from the training day can be found here.




Fastrak's before and after bowsprit repairs!!



Inshore Race 6


CLICK HERE for the SORC Flikr event album, mainly taken by Marc Giraudon from the starting box.


Race officer Kirsteen Donaldson set a challenging course, starting from the JOG line, beating NE to Artemis the Profit Hunter, then reaching SE to SE Ryde Middle before a long run downtide to Solent Bank, followed by a 5 mile beat back against a strong tide to Cowes.


A 10 kt NEly wind made the start tricky, and some boats approached along the line from the shore on starboard, whilst others approached on port, which was the only way to cross the line. Nigel Colley on the Sunfast 3500 and Pete Newlands on the 40.7 Anticipation soon took the lead, tacking North into the last bit of fair tide before heading East. In the four-boat strong Sunfast 3200 fleet, Simon Mitchell’s Roxanne took the early lead from Deb Fish on Exocet who had tacked East too early, suffering worse tide and less wind. However, Deb stood on until almost the layline, benefitting from the forecast wind veer to gain a slender lead over Simon. The smallest boat in the fleet, David Cowell’s Hanse 291 Seahorse, stayed on the island shore after the start in search of clean air, but at the cost of worse tide.


Once past Artemis, the fleet bore away into a white sail reach past a large anchored ship and through the Sunsail fleet to SE Ryde Middle where it was time to put the skills from the coaching day into practice and see who could execute the slickest spinnaker hoist. Fastrak was first to round the buoy, and soon had his large red running kite flying, followed by Anticipation and Bellino. The 9M leg to Solent Bank (via Snowden) was a run, allowing the symmetric rigged Sunfast 3200s to cling on to the leaders, who were sailing hotter angles with their asymmetric spinnakers. 


With 3 kts of tide under them, an early spinnaker drop was called for. Unfortunately, just as he was about to drop his 120m2 asymmetric kite, the instruments failed on Bellino, leaving Rob with the problem of how to drop the kite on the powerful 36ft boat without autopilot. Undeterred, Rob called on the experience gained from the thousands of miles of SORC and RORC racing he has done this season to bear away onto a dead run, blow the tack and get the spinnaker down in super-quick time before the boat could round up. However, he lost time in the process, rounding Solent Bank with Exocet and Roxanne. 


With such a strong foul tide, the only option was to short tack back to Cowes along the shore, but which shore? Before the race, the routing software suggested there was very little in it, with a suggestion of the Island shore being favoured for the faster boats, and the mainland shore being favoured for later boats, as the tide would have weakened by the time it came to cross the Solent from the mainland shore to Cowes. However, all opted for the mainland shore apart from Rob who, without electronic charts on deck or a working depth sounder, had to stay in safe deep water.


On the long beat back to Cowes, places were won and lost on how aggressively each boat played the shallows to cheat the tide and, more importantly, how they timed their final tack across to Cowes. Pete Newlands used his local knowledge to make the best of the depth contours on the mainland shore, in his attempt to hang on to Fastrak, while Exocet tried to follow suit to cling on to Anticipation and stay ahead of Roxanne. Further back, Richard Breese’s JOD35 Tweak and Tony White’s Sunfast 3200 Mzungu were having their own private duel. Anticipation was the first to tack across to Cowes, while Fastrak passed Lepe Spit and took another tack in before finally tacking across and realising that he’d overstood. Exocet benefited from watching the leaders to time her tack well to pass close to Lepe Spit, with Roxanne following suit. Mzungu won his battle with Tweak by tacking at Lepe, while Richard lost ground putting another tack in.


Fastrak took line honours after 4 hours of racing, followed by Anticipation and Exocet, and the one thing all could agree on was that it was going to be too close to call! Once the results were calculated, Exocet took victory, just 43 seconds ahead of Anticipation, who in turn was 44 seconds ahead of Fastrak! Seahorse did well to finish fourth, the beat against the tide making the race very difficult for smaller boats, just 21 seconds ahead of Roxanne!


A special well done to Keith Thompson on completing his first solo race on his new Sunfast 3200, Nirvana. Keith completed the course, but started just outside Gurnard Buoy, the ODM, wisely determined to stay out of trouble on his first outing. To hear from the great man himself about his first foray into single handed racing Click Here!


Thanks to Kirsteen and Dave for setting a great course, and for starting and finishing the boats, your efforts are particularly appreciated when the racing is as close as this! Full results can be found by Clicking Here.


Don’t miss the final race of the SORC series, the laying up race, followed by annual dinner and prize giving, on Saturday 24th October - all SORC skippers, partners, guests, and prospective solo sailors welcome. Seahorse has an unassailable lead in theI nshore Series, but the remaining podium places and the overall SORC championship are very much still up for grabs! Click Here for Layup Race and Dinner details.



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2015 Inshore Race 6