Parker & Seal Annual Round The Isle Of Wight Race

10th July 2004

The thirtieth running of the Association’s event was a case of the hare and the hounds. Geoff Harwood’s little Parker 21 “Cygnus” being the only starter in the first class to brave the blustery F 4-5 (occas. F6) south-westerly, wind over tide, conditions that greeted the competitors starting this year’s race off Yarmouth.

The question was; could the faster Parker 27’s 31/325/335’s, starting 45 minutes later catch the solitary hare? Not by Bridge Buoy a mile west of the Needles, before which both 27’s had retired and one of the 335’s had omitted to round the mark in its haste to be off to St Catherine’s Point’s. Not by St Cat’s, or even by Bembridge Ledge Buoy, though the distance was narrowing fast, with spinnakers being seen on the latter leg for the first time in the race.

The early pace maker from the second start, the Parker 31 “Ocean Wings” of Nigel Walbank had by then worked out a considerable lead over both Jonathan & Sarah Houston’s 325 “Tilikum” and “Lady J” Rob Juchau’s new 335 and now had “Cygnus” in her sights. However, it was not until after the Forts and on the last beat up the Solent to the finish line off Cowes that the hare was finally caught, with “Ocean Wings” passing ”Cygnus” as they both attempted to cheat the foul tide along Ryde Sands.

“Ocean Wings” stayed ahead to take both line honours at Gales HSB Buoy and record a first on corrected time. Next to cross the line was little “Cygnus” who had managed to hang on to save her time over the remainder of the fleet and finish a very well earned 2nd overall on the day.

Thanks go to the committee boat, Jim & Kay Laing’s “Caragh III” which performed a sterling service, given the lumpy conditions in which she was expected to anchor and to the warm hospitality of the Royal Solent YC, before the start and the Island SC, after the finish, enjoyed by the competitors.

1st N Walbank Parker 31 Ocean Wings 6hrs 55mins 31secs
2nd G Harwood Parker 21 Cygnus 7hrs 08mins 50secs
3rd J & S Houston  Parker 325 Tilikum 8hrs 03mins 03secs
4th R Juchau Parker 335 Lady J 9hrs 12mins 35secs

Walter Brown Commodore SSA