Back of the Wight...or not!

Our plan to sail south of the Isle of Wight from Portsmouth to Yarmouth over the late May bank holiday was frustrated again by weather- as have most of the LSC's late May events over the last five years. But this time the weather was really awful. I left my berth on the Beaulieu River at noon on Saturday on Silver Tide with Richard Taylor and Patrick MacCulloch as crew. We enjoyed a fast albeit blustery sail with a SW force 6 on the quarter and covered the 12 miles to Portsmouth in under two hours.

Altogether ten boats made it to Portsmouth on Saturday and we enjoyed a rather blustery pontoon party at Gunwharf Quays. On Sunday nine left for Yarmouth (Willow decided not to go). With forecast winds of 5-6, occasionally 7, it was decided to make for Yarmouth through the Solent. Hardly surprising, but nobody fancied St Catherine’s Point in a force 7 with wind over tide! In the event, the wind was more 6-7, occasionally 8, and after experiencing several gusts of 38-40 knots while off Ryde I decided to abandon the fast cruise part of the event and suggested skippers make their way to Yarmouth or elsewhere as best they could.

Three boats, Silver Tide, Ariel and Odin, decided to duck into Cowes while others struggled gamefully on. Six boats made it to Yarmouth with Azanti (Peter Scott) actually sailing the fast cruise course. He was the only one and deservedly was awarded the first prize of two bottles of fizz. Andy Ormsby in Shearwater also sailed the course until his foresail furling gear broke and he was tested with a full-out genoa in 30+ gusts. Laurels must also go to Michael de Villiers and family who sailed and motored their Hunter 27 (27 feet LOA) all the way to Yarmouth from Gunwharf. Quite a feat!

Those crews who sheltered in Cowes, and others in Lymington, nevertheless made it to Yarmouth (by taxis and ferry) for dinner and 40 of us sat down to a splendid meal at the Royal Solent Yacht Club whose staff looked after us very well. Yachts participating were: Silver Tide (Keith Irons), Ariel (David Roache), Whisper (David Finch), Lazy Life (Hunter Peace), Grey Goose (Jonathan Buttery), Shearwater (Andy Ormsby), Delphinus (Michael de Villiers), Odin (Martin Sedgwick), Willow (Martyn Graham), Senninha (David Echlin), Arvika (Mike Gorvett), Azanti (Peter Scott). I think a good time was had by all!

Keith Irons, 04.06.2011 | More from Keith Irons’s blog