Not much to say regards the Cruise, after a foggy start in Chichester Harbour we arrived at the start in Sunshine and next to nothing fluky winds. This pattern continued more or less all of the day and Ronhilda's speed over the ground was thus nearer 1 knot than any higher speed for most of the day. The best racing we had was on board Ronhilda itself - in seeing who would get to the spiced chicken, sasuages or scotch eggs served up by Andy Chatterton first.
So again we held up the start of the second race as we were in our usual last place for this year. Indeed A Day at Races who had long finished their short course race came over and offered a Spinnaker to us when we still had an hour to go to finish our race, thanks Barrie.
My apologies for this I know others were were itching to start the second race. And again when we did start this race, just like Feburary the start was promising but the wind turned to rat execrement and our speed over the gound again went below 1 knot. As the weather forecast was for NE 5/7 and very cold for Sunday we therefore joined in Storm Petrel's idea in drifting back to the forts in warm sunshine with the flood tide on the Saturday rather than beating back in a cold easterly wind on the Sunday.
We drove around to Hamble in the evening and had an excellent meal at the Royal Southern and presentation afterwards during which Graham Broadway got the well deserved loudest applause for his organisational effforts in keeping our disparate fleet well fed and in order over the season.
So why (apart from the Skippers incompetance) has Ronhilda won two Fast Cruises and come last this year holding everyone else up. One reason is the first owner who I bought Ronhilda from had major modifications done to the keel. He got rid of the original design which kept sticking halfway up and fitted one that better suited the boat for long leg racing as well as extensive cruising and drying out on the keel and rudders. The original spear like shape of the bottom of the keel was changed for a big triangle of solid lead and a RT of over 13 tons. This is more than double the weight of the brochure design figure the Handicap committee used to set Ronhilda's number for this year. It means my sugar scoop stern joint is permanantly immersed rather than the water line being some way forward underneath the bottom as designed. So a signifcant increase in wetted surface area and resistance. In light winds and flat seas Ronhilda just sticks to the water. In rougher seas and strong winds as we had last year I can get over 12knots without a spinnaker, my personal best speed is 16 knots downwind with keel up, two reefs and solent jib and the first owner claimed over 20 knots but he must have had far greater more bottle than I have and used to race with 13crew.
No surprises then that I want a lot more wind for the fast cruises next year as we had in 2010/11. Bring on the 35kt days.
Finally as this year the format of the FC changed quite a bit, would it not be a good idea for the club to ask Skippers/Crews how they felt these changes went in a questionaire. For example, I did not feel the two race a days worked as well as a longer single race with longer legs but others might have enjoyed this more round the cans format. Also I appreciate numbers from East of the forts have dropped off over the past couple of years and so starts are now in the wild west regions of the Solent but accepting this suits more particpants better please can we have fixed starts so those of us with moorings in Siberia can arrange to move our yachts in advance if the weather forecasts indicates having to beat to windward for hours in strong winds on Spring tides to get to the starts.