The final Fast Cruise of 2015-2016 winter was held on the 19th March finishing at Cowes Yacht Haven with dinner at the Island Sailing Club.
The weather was fine with a brisk NE wind blowing between 10 and 16 knots with occasional gusts in the region of 20 knots giving good (but cold) sailing for a record number of 15 boats. Both the long course and the short course started at Mother Bank with a beat up to Browndown. This provided the fleet with some tactical decisions to make as the last of the ebb was still flowing mid channel but the tide had begun to turn close to the north shore. The short course then had a spinnaker reach (for those boats that had one) to N Ryde Middle whilst the bigger boats on the long course continued to Prince Consort buoy. (Luckily Charlie Quayle was sailing the short course so there were no complaints about sailing all the way to Cowes and then back to Portsmouth! See photograph.) Both fleets continued on separate courses, altenating between beating, close reaching and running until they joined again at the penultimate buoy West Ryde Middle for a final run to finish at Prince Consort. Charles Whittam must be praised for his course design.I was sailing on A Day at the Races which was leading the short course fleet and as we approached W Ryde Middle from the direction of E Bramble Solid Air and Wolverine, leading on the long course approached it from Hill Head, just squeezing in front of us by less than 30 seconds. The course however favoured the long course fleet as, after times had been corrected, the first 5 places went to the long course fleet.
After 6 years and 36 Fast Cruises this was my last one as organiser. In the 6 years I have been involved this was the first time that any Fast Cruise had to be cancelled because of strong winds and both November's and December's Fast Cruises were lost to the weather. There was only one other occasion when a Fast Cruise was cancelled and that was due to snow on the Friday making roads to the south coast dangerous. My thanks to everyone for the card (see photo) and the many bottles of booze that you gave me at the dinner. Oh, by the way the results are attached below.