Fabulous sailing conditions on the Saturday outward leg to Poole gave a nice warm up to the SORC 2023 season, followed by no wind and an abandoned homeward race on the Sunday. 16 skippers entered the event including 2 Rookies - Davis Stott racing his Dufour 40 "Azygos" and William Homewood with his stunning looking Mini 650 "Barney"
Kirsteen Donaldson reports from her Class 2 X-332 "Pyxis"
The first challenge for the event came on Friday morning with a last minute search for a Race Officer, when it was clear that the planned RO was unwell. A big thank you to Peter Chartres and Jasmine Light for standing in. No thanks at all to Gmail, which improved its security and protected the new Race Officers from receiving the class lists. Friday deteriorated with the weather, so I made a seamanlike decision not to beat in driving rain down Southampton Water to Cowes. Saturday dawned fair, providing a great run down Southampton Water to the start, confirming the wisdom of that call. The class lists were photographed and sent to the RO by MMS from mid-Solent.
For the first race of the season, my start impressed (me, at least), and had a great reach, only Fastrak XII from the second start catching Pyxis by SW Shingles. The beat to MB/EYE Marine/Christchurch SC (more simply known as ‘12’) allowed Pyxis to get away from Nympheas, but also sister ship Felix to slip past, staying ahead until the finish, well done.
Sunday morning, leaving near high water, local boat Bonkers, with 2.1 m draft, took the opportunity to act as Mother Hen and led us through the north channel out of Poole. The forecast for Sunday was always doubtful for racing, being down what little wind there was and up-tide. And so it proved, all hope of racing being abandoned after 2 h motoring in the right direction. The rest of the day was spent trying to find things to do whilst maintaining a look out. Housework. Bin the ‘emergency’ food that expired without a sufficient emergency. Read every sailing magazine on board. Admire the new island off Hurst. Chat to fellow SORCers Jeremy Waitt (off Lymington) and John Skipper (off Calshot) who were ‘just passing’. And finally, reaching home port.
Nigel Colley sailed his Sun Fast 3300 "Fastrak XII" to Overall and Class 1 victory
Not being sure I could manage my life to attend this event, it was great when things lined up correctly. WIth the adverse Friday forecast, I decided to go straight to the start on Saturday morning. It was good to see 15 yachts lining up at the start including two SORC rookies and the return of Ian Hoddle in his, new to him, Sun Fast 3300 "Game On".
The cousre was from the Start (Gurnard), down and out of the Solent to SW Shingles, followed by a beat to MB/EYE Marine/Christchurch SC (near Christchurch Ledge) and then to the finish at Stoneways Marine near the entrance to Poole Harbour. The wind was generally from the North gusting to 18 knots at the start and reducing to 8-10 knots by the finish.
On Fastrak, I took the opportunity of jumping what seemed to be a line shy fleet to lead off the line with clear air under full main and genoa. The genoa was quickly dropped in favour of the masthead zero and a full tank of ballast to tame the gusts and tight zero angle. The boat took it all in her stride, carrying the zero all the way to SW Shingles by which time I had managed to squeeze ahead of the top earlier staring Class 2 yachts Pyxis and Nympheas.
The three tack beat to the 2nd mark went without a hitch and I maintained my lead, except that Steve Thomas on Azora managed toclose the gap a bit to become a potential handicap threat. On the final leg to the finish it was up again with the trusty masthead zero to once again stretch my legs on the pursuing fleet to take line and handicap honours. A great start to the season in which the boat felt good and no mistakes made.
A pleasant evening followed with the customary pontoon prize-giving and dinner ashore. Congratulations to Christoph Friedrich fro taking the Class 2 win, Ian Hoddle for his top 3 podium finish on his return to SORC, and the two Rookies, Dave and William for getting round the couse and finishing - we hope to see more of you.
Event Media: SORC Flikr