Greg, Guillaume and Pierre joined us for this year’s Round the Island. Greg’s routing model showed that it didn’t really matter where you started. Arriving at West Bramble, it looked like the Hampshire shore would be favoured but watching the IRC 1 start twenty minutes before we were due to head off, it became clear to us but not the rest of the fleet that the wind had started to switch to the south, so we opened up the throttle to get over towards the Island – and the sequence below, from the race video, shows how it paid off:
We remained in good shape at Hurst, in company with boats rating above us, and carving a swathe through the large competitors in the cruiser class that started 10 minutes before us:
At the Needles, we came close in and gained the tidal advantage, and made a good job of crossing Freshwater Bay and rounding St Catherines, avoiding some horrible holes in the wind, and almost certainly leading our division on handicap by a big margin. There was another big hole the Bembridge – where we kept our cool – and got away before almost all the boats who had come in behind us. And then there was another very testing hole at the Forts where the wind stopped again.
We were probably still leading the division as the wind finally filled in off Ryde Sands – we were certainly still ahead of the eventual division winner at the stage, but it all ended up very close at the finish, but somewhere on the final beat we lost a few critical minutes, dropping back to seventh.