RTIR for a first timer

6X in East Cowes

Well, not quite the first time round the island. But despite being introduced to the race as first mate for the LSC Rude Girls crew and repeating the experience the following year, entering a Trapper 300 (just 21 foot waterline length, 26 foot overall) and as skipper, is a slightly different game altogether. I've been pondering this for a while. There were a few things that nailed the decision:

  • 6X is in good shape this season
  • I needed an end of June challenge
  • Barrie Martin and Mike Gorvett egged me on over a Club dinner
  • the idea of another great night at Ginn's Farm before the race
  • Chris Smith agreed to navigate.


Having found a navigator who has apparently guided bigger boats between Goose Rock and the Varvassi Wreck (this wasn't part of the original deal but I'm warming to the idea), I needed to shape up the rest of the crew and do the entry form. Another friend, Giles, who is a former dinghy sailor turned yachtsman, whose father won the RTIR the first time he entered, was an obvious choice. Hopefully the winning gene has been passed on!

The fourth crew member is Kim, bought into the mix more for her sense of humour and calm persona than her sailing skills but she's done a bit of crewing along the way, mostly in much bigger boats. I'm hoping she won't be disappointed by the basic layout of a 1977-era Trapper - or phased by boiling a kettle on a primus stove.

Next job was to do the entry. Barrie Martin had warned me I needed a lot of information for the ISCRC rating. He wasn't wrong, I thought length overall, waterline length, beam, displacement and sail area would do. But no, on his first introduction to 6X, Giles was set to the task of measuring just about everything: largest headsail (luff length, perpendicular luff); mainsail (luff, width, half-width, three-quarter width)... this involved a Heath-Robinson-esque bit of rope attached to the halyard measured off in metre lengths. Never mind, don't want to get it wrong and be given a bad handicap.

To the disappointment of those who want to get round the course before nightfall, 6X has no working spinnaker currently. Chris advised at least organising a lift out and scrub, so that is duly booked for the Thursday before the race and at least the hull will glide through the water with ease.

Next Friday is a crew shakedown day and we'll report back, on Twitter (@Sailing6X) or the blog, about how we get on.




Rachel Hedley, 31.05.2011 | More from Rachel Hedley’s blog