Race Report from Donald Macdonald on "Rainmaker" (Oyster Lightwave 395)
Offshore Race 2, Solent to Portland delayed from Friday evening due to Force 7 being forecast to Saturday morning. A crowded start line with Fastrak XII, Juliette, Rainmaker and 2 cruising yacht wanting the same piece of water made for a busy time looking out of the boat. All got away cleanly and cruisers bailed out. With the northerly 20 knots and tide it was a fast trip down the Solent. Rainmaker stayed on the heels of Fastrak until the turbo switched on, otherwise known as a fractional code zero and led all out of the Solent and never came close to anyone catching her even the wily gentleman on Juliette. 3 of the 8 boats arrived in Portland in under 5 hours. Class 1 and IRC winner Fastrak and Class 2 Pyxis.
Offshore Race 3 a windward leeward course outside breakwater amongst the parked-up cruise liners in a gentle 8-10 knots. Gate boat arrives 1 minute late but start is still good for all. 1st beat had a fleet split left and right. Local knowledge said left as tide less and those that looked around went right for slightly more breeze, including Felix and Pyxis. Most of the left takers saw the error of their ways and went right with Fastrak going furthest making the most gains from halfway up the leg, Juliette was 1st around and spinnaker up. The cruise liners got in the way of getting to West Shambles so meant most had to gybe at some point. Juliette still leading at the wing mark, Rainmaker got swept wrong side of mark still sorting ropes from the spinnaker drop and had to beat back. Pyxis saw the fopar and made adjustments and followed Rainmaker closely around, with Mustigo not far away either. In the end Juliette got Class 1 and IRC honours and Pyxis again Class 2. Class 3 had an entry here L’Adventure with Chris having his 1st race and win since the accident.
Offshore Race 4. Unexpectedly, from the forecasts at least the race started on time at Portland to North Head. With an easterly another upwind CSB start which the Gate boat arrived at start buoy on time. All were queuing to go astern the gate boat, (practice does make perfect). Options this time were head to the shore less foul tide (full 6 hours expected) where there maybe less wind or stay out where we could see a gentle breeze darkening the water. Pyxis chose the shore route and appeared to have a lift along the shore until a couple of miles before St Albans. This was the preferred side as at one stage looked to be comfortably ahead of all. Mustigo was having a great time and for some period appeared to be front boat of those out to sea. In case we had a shorten course due to wind dying we all had to go around Peveril Point buoy so did give everybody a chance to see how they were doing against the rest of the fleet. At this mark Fastrak, Mustigo and Juliette were in close proximity with Pyxis following on. In the end on corrected Juliette IRC and Class 1 with Pyxis Class 2 winner.
Offshore season over already and all done without going to a foreign land, lets hope normal business resumes in 2021.
Report from Nigel Colley on Fastrak XII (Sun Fast 3300)
Having loaned the boat out for most of this curtailed season for training some Paris 2024 Olympic aspirants, and getting some Class 40 sailing in, it was great to get Fastrak back again and re-join SORC for this event. With the start postponed from Friday evening to Saturday morning, we had a brisk but entertaining Northerly wind gusting into the mid-20's making for very fast first race to Portland. On Fastrak half way up the Solent I deployed my Fractional Zero, pumped in the water ballast, and took off managing to escape the following pack and hitting speeds of 16 knots in Christchurch Bay. Fun times come to an end and the Zero had to come down or I would have ended up in mid-Channel to keep control in the gusts, but enough was in the bag to take both line and handicap honours.
The second race was a much quieter affair with a more gentle breeze. The course was a VMG windward/leeward with two tricky marks. The windward Mark R in the top corner of Weymouth Bay entailed navigating through a fleet of parked cruise liners. WIth the breeze coming off the land it was variable and shifty. I took the left side of the beat from the start, which hopefully would have less foul tide but got the wind shifts wrong and lost ut big time. So I switched way over to the right hand side of the course and took the lifts amongst the parked ships, and almost regained all my losses to round the top mark close behind Juliette. There followed a VMG run to Weat Shambles in a lessening breeze and building tide, making accurate laylines to the mark essential, or miss it and be sucked out into the Portland Race! After round the Shambles a tricky light airs beat against the tide, with the right side favoured, and again getting the layline right for the finish. I was unable tocatch Juliette, who was enjoying super J105 conditions, but held on the 2nd place.
Not much wind was forecast for the final race from Portland back, leaving Peverill Ledge bouy to starboard, to North Head off Milford Beach. Fortunately there was enough wind to start the race, a wafty 5 to 8 knots from the East going South East against the tide. The inshore route along the coast, with a lifting breeze as the day progressed and a favourable tide eddy was in theory the way to go, but the wind looked steadier and slightly stronger offshore. The first option, as favoured by the X332 Pyxis, paid handosomely, with Kirsteen almost beating me, on my higher rated boat, to St Albans Head, but she tacked off into the fould tide, while I held on and narrowly got round the corner withouttacking to take 2nd place on the water behind Mustigo, a J111. At Anvil Point a bear awy to Peverill Ledge allowed me to launch the Fractional Zero again, and take the lead away from Mustigo. Although the FRO is good at high angles in light winds, the angle was too high so down it came before running into the cliffs, and the launching again for the fetch from Peverill to North Head. Unfortunately the the wind freed a little which means I should have had the Masthead Zero up, a much biiger sail. I did not make the change over which allowed Jerry on Juliette to slowly nibble into my lead. Whilst I took lne honours it was not good enough to beat juliette who easily took the handicap with Fastrak finishing 2nd again.
An enjoyable weekend with a 1st 2nd 2nd not too shabby for my return to solo racing on a machine designed for downhill sleigh rides, like the first leg, rather than pushing water around in the light airs of legs 2 and 3. I look forward to getting back out there.
OS Race 3 - Solent to Portland
OS Race 4 - Up & Down Weymouth Bay
OS Race 5 - Portland to North Head
Final 2020 Offshore Series Standings