Wary of the weekend weather forecast all the crew ( bar one confined to bed with manflu) joined Ronhilda on the Friday afternoon. We then made a short trip to Gosport Marina in the late afternoon sun. I must have found the gravel hump on Chichester Bar as we only had 0.7m depth under the lowered keel on the shallowest part even at half tide. Breaking waves were noted on the sand banks either side of the harbour entrance, and the East Winner shallows off Langstone entrance had a good display of white water. As the wind was turning Westerly and backing the geny at this point we furled sail to avoid getting anywhere near these breakers and motored the rest of the way. Distance sailed was 11miles with max speed 8kts.
We had an excellent value Fish and Chips meal at Gosport followed by a pint in the Castle and retired to our berths to listen to the wind increasing overnight.
Saturday after English breakfast we motored out into the Solent via the Inner Swashway in driving drizzle and strong Southerly wind setting 2 reefs in the main and 3 reefs in the geny. This sail plan was to last through FC1 with the geny being adjusted to suit beating or running.
As normal we started last and kept this honourable position all through the FC. The drizzle disappeared and actually it was a good winter sail, with a flat sea and side rails under the water on the beats. Speed touched 10kts once or twice. We met Willow on two occasions close enough to have to alter, they appeared to being having a good sail as well. We kept more or less in touch but finished last yacht in both the long and short cruise fleets. In fact some of the quick short course yachts had finished when we were still less than 50% of the way around the long course.
During the race we lost a stanchion post base so our port guard wires were not very 'safe' and in view of this, one crew member restricted in movement and operations recovering from a groin operation, and coupled to the F6/7 maybe 8 forecast for Sunday morning when we were going to be crossing Chichester Bar on ebb tide in South/South Westerly we decided to retreat back to Gosport and car it to Gins Clubhouse.
This we managed and I must congratulate the RSYC staff for an excellent meal. Ronhilda has been left in Gosport as the next FC is only two weeks away and I can pop down to repair the staunchion meantime.
Saturday night in Gosport was spent listening to quite strong winds and gusts going through and Chimet was recording F6/7 wind and gusts all Sunday morning so I do not regret my decsion although it must have been an excellent sail back to home ports in sun in the Solent.
Distance sailed on Saturday was 28 miles, with max speed over the ground 9.5kts and 10.4 knots through the water. Ronhilda's wind TickTack wind instruments have a flat battery on the masthead sender unit so we could not see what the wind was doing but it felt like 30kts across the deck at times. Ticktack did not mention this battery would need changing every few years when I got them, buyers beware.