The forecast for southerly light winds had turned into a forecast of S veering SW/W 15kts with gusts to around 30kts, far more to Ronhilda's liking. So it was with expectation we slammed over Chichester bar on an ebb tide into a due South 15 - 18 kts wind, even if it was raining with around 1/2miles vis.
Sadly the further west we sailed the lighter the wind became until it was less than 10 kts, a pathetic strength and hopeless for Ronhilda. Even worse as we crossed the line the wind started to shift and made the shorter line to the first mark North Sturbridge impossible to make and we had to tack. Ah well, a good view of the short course yachts was possible as we gently sailed right across to Browndown before having to go back across to the Island shore. The wind was now so light constant shifts could be detected and by the time we drifted around Norris we had given up any chance of competing in this month's Cruise.
Fortunately over more sausages and egg butties, Juno, Windhover and new member Solid Air appeared to to be doing well, so our nearest rivals in the overall series might not get ahead of us when discarded months were taken into account. Cheered by this we headed to East Bramble, the Ebb tide giving us 45 degrees leeway in the light airs. Once around this mark we could head up into Southampton water and the apparent wind slowly crept up and we had a nice 10kt sprint up past Hook and Hamble Jetties with the gunwhale just dipping. Why could the wind not have been like this all day? Sadly the front runners were already finishing but we carried on, finished and went up to Port Hamble. How to finish was a source of legal debate on board, the final sentence in the instructions saying finish with Hook to P and Baldhead to S. So as words mean what they say we crossed the line, spun around and finished as per the instructions.
Graham asked if we could host the pontoon party but as it was raining we squeezed as many as we could on board Ronhilda, jam packed was the description.
Finally at the RAF Club we had a good meal and then learnt that Ronhilda had won overall, her first series win since 2007/8, so all's well that ends well. Many thanks to Juno and others for keeping the chasing pack at bay for us this time.
Graham also had a well earned vote of thanks for his unstinting efforts in running the cruises.
So it was a satisfied crew that sailed back to Chichester in the sun on Sunday - we even put the spinny up for a couple of hours.
Many thanks to Barrie Martin for the marmalade we won in Feburary, I just managed to save some for the crew, my wife having taken a liking to his excellent fare.