Lymington Timed Passage – from the perspective of the organiser!

Michael Forbes Smith's picture
Submitted by Michael Forbes Smith on

Lymington Timed Passage – from the perspective of the organiser!

We were lucky - the forecast was almost right, though our apparent wind speed throughout the LSC's "timed passage" on Saturday 23 June, from No-Man's -Land Fort to Jack-in-the-Basket off Lymington never fell below 25 and reached over 35 on a couple of occasions.

But the worst of the weather held off until Saturday night, drenching me and Avril Ormsby as we walked back from the Mayflower Inn after the rally dinner - a real find; excellent venison burgers and really helpful staff.

This was a double first. It was the first 'timed passage', a 19nM Westerly run along the Solent, as ever in the teeth of a South-Westerly! The Club thought it might be an encouragement to participate in summer rallies if there was a definite objective to get people onto their boats and out of the marina, like the winter fast cruises - a pity that the conditions were pretty borderline but it certainly proves there's something in that argument!

The passage itself was hard work but straightforward. Shearwater, Andy Ormsby's Maxi1100 on which I sailed, was the first boat to start the course: the instructions did not give a start time, only a window of 24 hours to finish, between HW+4 on Friday and HW+4 (1838) on Saturday, leaving skippers to decide how best to utilise the tidal flows.

Theoretically a boat could have done the course at least twice and chosen their best time! Our start was delayed while two extremely large ships crossed coming in and out through the Forts, but began the course at 1324 - we did the final two legs, from Gurnard to Lymington in four long tacks reaching the finish line at 1608.

The second first was the first trial of our new handicapping system, which appeared to work well; with the corrected times producing only a 28 minute difference between the leader and the tail. Shearwater (Maxi 1100) came second, with the gap between the winner, Solid Air (Hanse 445), closing from 17 minutes real time to 12 when corrected. Third was Oxygen.

Many thanks also to Andy Ormsby for the use of Shearwater as base for the restorative pontoon party - fortunately it was dry so all seventeen of us could be convivial on the pontoon - at Berthon Lymington Marina. Berthon could not have been more helpful, and provided a whopping discount on the berthing fee.

All in all, a bracing but highly enjoyable day - and there was even the opportunity to get sunburnt on the return sail on Sunday morning!Michael