Parker & Seal Annual Round The Isle Of Wight Race

17th August 2002

By Walter Brown - Commodore

At the western end of the Solent, as the wind increased and veered to become a rather blustery southerly F4-5, this year’s SSA event started off Yarmouth. The 21/22’s and 28’s got away first, benefiting from the strong ebb tide on the fetch past the Needles, followed 45 minutes later by the faster 26/27’s 275 and lone 31.

Geoff Harwood’s Parker 21 "Cygnus" and the Seal 28 "Sea Lion" of Harry & Jim Pye were the early pace makers from the first start, whilst "Ocean Wings", Nigel Walbank’s Parker 31, led the second start off the line. First around Bridge Buoy, a mile west of the Needles, was "Cygnus", followed by Paul & Sheila Clements' Seal 28 "Leander of Dorset".

However, the faster boats initially revelled in the gusty conditions and, once out of the Solent not only faired better in the subsequent combination of lumpy seas and falling wind but also benefited as the latter continued to veer and turn the 13-mile beat to St Catherine’s Point into fine reach. "Ocean Wings" soon passed the whole of the slower fleet and, hotly pursed by "Abacus" the Parker 275 of Clifford Miller and "Harlequin" John Coyle’s Parker 27, set their kite for the run Bembridge Ledge Buoy.

As often the case, it was the final windward leg to the finish that determined the overall result. "Ocean Wings" stayed ahead to take line honours at Gales HSB Buoy outside Cowes but could only manage 3rd on corrected time. Deft work around No Man’s Land Fort and better use of the tidal gradient along Ryde Sands and into Osborne Bay, finally allowed "Harlequin" to get past "Abacus", take the second gun and the overall winner’s title on handicap.

Although both the Super Seal 26’s "Sabrina" and "Cleo" of Derek Beaves and Peter Lowry, respectively, crept ahead of "Cygnus", the smallest boat in the fleet still managed to hang on to save her time on both to finish a well earned 4th on a day that very much favoured the faster boats.

Thanks go to the committee boat, Hugh Caldwell’s "Mons Meg" which performed a sterling service, given the lumpy conditions in which she was expected to anchor and all present enjoyed the warm hospitality of the Royal Solent YC, before the start and the Island SC, after the finish.

1st J Coyle Parker 27 Harlequin 8hrs 11mins 54secs
2nd C Miller Parker 275  Abacus 8hrs 15mins 25secs
3rd N Walbank Parker 31 Ocean Wings 12secs
4th G Harwood Parker 21 Cygnus 8hrs 31mins 22secs
5th D Beaves Super Seal 26 Sabrina 8hrs 8hrs 34mins 11secs
6th R Naylor  Seal 22  Shiraz 8hrs 42mins 53secs
7th P Lowry Super Seal 26 Cleo 8hrs 43mins 17secs