Ronhilda's repairs having been completed, the December Fast Cruise awaited her. With high winds forecast for the Saturday I thought it prudent to take her around to Port Solent in the weather window to test the gearbox and rig tension on Friday. Sunshine and next to no wind on the nose meant no sailing but a good shake down for the gearbox, shaft seal and rudder glands. In the evening we also welcomed Jill and Charlie as Silver tide had an alternator problem and had to scratch, so this made us up to a crew of 8.
45 knots having blown through overnight we duly made out way down to the Forts in sunshine but plenty of wind with a small Solent Jib and two reefs. The course was a 16 mile mainly beat back up to Cowes and the Folly. Even with a small sail area Ronhilda dipped her gunwale into the water and in one gust the mast head was closer to the water than vertically up, indeed the Solent started coming into the cockpit. The crew perched on the windward side thus had a near vertical view down into the water. Thank goodness for twin rudders and no broaching. However the skippers race fuel of bacon and sausages was still served up courtsey of Andy and Diane Chatterton.
A top speed of over 10knots was recorded but actual direct progress towards Cowes was quite slow and as we could not see the backmarkers the course was duly shortened and Ronhilda took line honours in about 3 hours 20mins.
Arriving at the Folly pontoon the crew duly refreshed with wine, cheese and biscuits before going onto the meal as the "Silver Tides and a Mexican Brothel owner". As always mine hosts Andy and Cheryl had reserved tables for us with a good economical meal and everyone had a good evening.
Sunday saw a relaxed gib only rolly return to Chichester with the keel still up because the Skipper was too lazy to lower it. Again the Chief Cook and Stewards served up pleanty of good provisions during the passage.
So onwards to FC4 in January.
Merry Xmas and New Year to all