Training’ Rally 14-15 May 2016
West Mersea Rally 29th April-2nd May 2016
West Mersea, The Company Shed, West Mersea Yacht Club, John Davison and the finest sunset in Britain. It has them all.
Four boats juggled the tides, shifting sands and weather to converge on this timeless island, the most easterly in Britain which is inhabited, on the edge of the Blackwater.
Tracie Lanaghan, the Berthing Master at Chatham Maritime Marina, has taken over the position of Honorary Port Officer for the Club as from April 2016. Tracie will be the first person you meet on entering the lock, so please make yourselves known.
Chatham Maritime Marina is an MDL Marina and set in the marvellous location of the Historic Dockyard where there are many events and exhibitions held during the year. Contact the Marina: 01634 899200..
Sorry for my lack of response over the last few of years. Have just recently received the Little Ships winter addition.
Have just been super busy for several months selling a business and our large yacht. However, all done and dusted now and have a lot more time to do things for myself.
We have just been through the largest cyclone the South Pacific has ever had “Cyclone Winston” with wind speeds of over 350 km. with a lot of damage. Savusavu Marina (www.coprashed.com) ( most of your cruising folk will know the area), a large number of yachts were damaged or swept ashore. Most have been refloated.
Knowing I was in Ukraine till Thursday I had left the yacht in Gosport to allow for last minute delays and not to have a too stressful Friday. Good thing I did, the Polish airline LOT was dreadful and we did not get back to Chichester until 2am on Friday.
Anyway Friday evening saw the regular Ronhilda gang enjoy the standard evening meal of Fish and Chips, I must confess I caught up on sleep 8pm to 8 am so missed the usual banter in the saloon after the meal.
Saturday morning brought a forecast of F5/6 East going NW and gusts in the 30s. So we put a reef in the main and 2 in the large geny. Not many yachts with a high handicap started this month and we chose to beat across the Solent to Browndown letting the tide take us towards the mark with just a tack and short beat in flatter water down to the buoy. The next two legs brought us back to the start before repeating this triangle. In the cold of a Feb day not really inspiring, nor was the sight of the short course yachts then having easy legs straight up Southampton Water to the finish whilst we had to go right across to Cowes and then back across to Hill Head before going up the water.
Arthur Podesta had been our HPO for over 14 years and much delayed, we heard the sad news that he had died in October. The club has sent our condolences to his family.
Rear Commodore and long standing member of the Royal Malta Yacht Club he was associated with the inauguration of the Rolex Middle Sea Regatta and he was the only sailor to regularly compete in the past years.
He had met many LSC sailors and members over the years when they arrived in Malta and will be sadly missed.
I had a hunch the course setter would be on the water with us this month. As he seems to like a close start to his home waters I guessed this would be in the serpent infested waters of the far west and so it turned out to be. Not wanting to have to get up at 4am and sail for 4/5 hours before even starting a long cold fast cruise sail on the water, fortunately some of the crew helped me ferry Ronhilda this month to Gosport and so they and I set off on Friday after midday. We knew the wind was stong but from the North West so no swell just a short wave fetch. This was true but the wind was so strong in the gusts ( well over 30kts) the crew complained their teas etc was being blown out if the cups and replaced by water shipping over the bow and being blown straight into the cockpit. Earl Grey tea made with cold Hayling Bay water is not good.
The Clipper fleet were looked after well in Sydney. The stopover was hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, a fabulous club in Rushcutter Bay, which also hosts the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, starting on 26 December, race 5 in the Clipper RTW race schedule.
As the midpoint of the race this stopover was longer than previous stopovers because the boats were lifted for external cleaning and maintenance, as well as the usual internal deep clean and damage repairs, but this did allow for some extra time for crews to relax and recover from the race from Albany.
The Clipper winner's presentations for race 4 were hosted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, one of the LSC's reciprocal clubs. My boat, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, came in 2nd place so we have now achieved 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th places and in the overall standings are in 2nd place.
The Race to Sydney
Race 4 has been described as the toughest race yet on this race. I have nothing to compare it with personally but it was certainly a tough initiation into Clipper racing.
The winds across the Great Australian Bight are expected to change from easterlies to south westerlies at the beginning of the summer season but this year they did not change as expected. As a result of this and a high pressure system, the first week of the race across the Great Australian Bight to the south of Tasmania was a constant beat into shifting winds gusting up to 50 knots at times for several days, requiring multiple sail changes and constant trimming. This added an extra 400nm or so to the route, 2100nm route.