De Guingand bowl… Rain and drift off part 1

Conrad Manning Racing_DeGuingand141
Just before the rain hits before the start

Yet again it seems, the weather we wake to is more suited to ducks than sailing… A big black cloud was looming over Hamble point marina and eventually dumping its contents on the boat as Ian was walking back from his PRD taking shelter under Camper (the Volvo 70 that is for sale). Thankfully it was only a quick shower and meant that we could get underway to the identity gate and the start line.

Well, it sounds as if we got off scot free, but as anyone who was out that morning will know… More ominous black clouds rolled in and completely drenched everything on deck including Ian as I was preparing the course and GRIB files down below. Frustratingly the optimum course program was not working 100% and thought that sailing boats could sail on land… Hmmm (thankfully it all got sorted later in the race!)

The start was absolutely beautiful, one of the most windward boats, in clear air and crossing the line on the gun. What made it even more beautiful was that we decided to stick without the jib to reduce faffing on the bow once the kite was up and it paid off massively with a spot on hoist that went without a hitch!

After the start the ‘sending it down the Solent’ wasn’t to last and we had to start gybing for the Forts. About 1-2 miles away from them we spotting a front that was coming in signified by the massive change in wind strength and direction… That was, until it passed over our heads and completely died (take note this is shut down 1). Thankfully, there wasn’t a large ship coming at the fleet this time! The lightish winds kept on for a while and we/I made the daft decision to go closer to the mainland shore to catch the header that wasn’t to be… It turned out to be a terrible idea as the wind went lighter and we watched our main rivals Artemis power off to Owens, mark 1 of the course!

By now the routing software was actually working and we had a rough idea about where we should be heading to minimise the affect of the tide so we went in pursuit of our rival Figaro cracking the sails and heading to keep speed high and get to the Isle as quick as possible. The plan paid off as we headed into Sandown Bay but not before the Red Arrows came flying overhead waking Ian from his nap (second time this month so far I’ve been treated to the Red Arrows!) As recommended we ‘short’ tacked up the bay trying to get as close to the shore as possible before finding a back eddie to sweep us around Dunnose. Here I made a rookie foreigner’s mistake and forgot to add on the hour so thought the tide had turned where as we still had a knot of tide against… Oooops!

Thankfully we got through that slight mistake ahead of two other double handed boats Artemis and Raging Bee. But not for long as once we had short tacked down the south coast of the IoW we found ourselves in this strange wind but not moving the boat in a current that was pushing us in the right direction (are you keeping track? Shutdown 2). It almost felt as if we had been anchored and were going nowhere! Complete frustration as we watched everyone sail off in more breeze to the south of us… Thankfully spirits were dragged kicking and screaming back up after a chilli con carne dinner as we headed to the imaginary mark 1.

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