With the mid-Series break behind us, the forecast for the weekend looked wet for our training day on Saturday and cold from a North Westerly wind on Sunday for the 5th race day of the Hamble Winter Series.
We meet on the boat on Saturday morning and after a short safety brief and after rigging the boat we headed off into the Solent. With dark clouds looming to the North we set off up-wind with a cold South Easterly. After a few tacks we soon got a good rhythm going. The plan was to sail a short windward leeward course allowing us to practice spinnaker hoist and drops, and if we found time a couple of race starts.
The dark clouds looming to the North caused the wind to back 140-150 degrees and increase from 8 – 10 knots to 26 knots with freezing rain and hail stones. Thankfully the shower didn’t last long and the sun soon returned.
Unfortunately the wind dropped to 2-3 knots, so we started to head back towards Hamble hoping it would fill in. We took the opportunity to get something to eat and a cup of tea to warm us up.
We didn’t find any more wind so headed back to the pontoon; we rigged a practice spinnaker on the pontoon and ran through hoisting, dropping and gybing the spinnaker.
Sunday morning greeted us with clear skies with a bit of a chill in the air.
We left a little early so we had time for some spinnaker practice on the way to the start. A good hoist, 3 good gybes and and a successful drop brought an air of confidence to the boat. If we managed a good start and sailed well we should do ok.
The second half of the Hamble Winter Series only has one race per day. This suits us better as the legs are longer and we have time to settle into the legs. With a forecast of 15-20 North West backing and falling to 10-15 we decided to go with our number 2 Jib.
As we got into the start sequence we noticed we were the only boat using a no 2, but experience has shown in marginal conditions with new crew it pays to be cautious. We got a great start just avoiding being pushed out by With Alacrity. We knew we would be under powered some of the time so we sailed high in the gusts to allow us to foot off in the lulls to maintain boat speed. This allowed us to get ourselves up in to the middle of the pack. We sailed a clean race with no real mistakes, so well done to the whole crew. We couldn’t catch the lead boats but we steadily built a lead over the boats behind.
We lost out a little on the final windward leg when the wind fell to 12-14 knots, we should have changed to the No1 on the final downwind leg so we dropped a little to the boats in front and allowed the boats behind to catch up-but we did enough to hold on to 6th place with 10 starters.
A great start to the second half and with the majority of the crew doing the whole series there is room for us to improve.
Well done everyone and let’s hope we have a good race next week.