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(Not) Round the Island race
 2nd September 2006

Report by Walter Brown

With Gale force 8 winds forecast for the whole weekend, the organisers sensibly elected to set a course for the 2006 event to keep the entrants within the confines of the Solent.

The hardy crews of the smaller and slower marques were first away from the start line off Yarmouth, sent on an exciting very broad reach north east towards South Bramble buoy, some 9 miles away. Zephyr Peter Scrivens' Parker 235 making the best of their start, closely followed by Breeze the Parker 21 of Nigel Walbank and Caller’ou the elderly Seal 28 skippered by Neil Palmer. Flying her spinnaker to good effect, it was not long before Breeze established an impressive lead on the water. 30 minutes later, the faster Parker 277/325/335’s, accompanied by the sole Super Seal 26 Ard Righ of last year’s winner Walter Brown, set off in hot pursuit.

The better of the second start having been made by Tilikum the 325 of Jonathan Houston, Martin Hopton’s 335 Shemar, and Ard Righ, each wrestled to keep their colourful kites in some measure of control as they sped up the western Solent. Conditions were however soon to take their toll, with both Tilikum and Ard Righ shredding spinnakers in one particularly vicious gust, the former also performing an impressive Chinese gybe and Caller’ou contriving to hit South Bramble sustaining significant damage to her bow in her efforts to avoid a number of yachts competing in another race. The close reach to Norris and fetch Gurnard to complete the first triangle, saw the two fleets draw ever closer, though Shemar was never to catch Breeze who took line honours at Gales HSB buoy, the finish mark, one round later, followed by Ard Righ, having finally overhauled Zephyr and Skylark the well sailed Seal 22 of Richard Tanner. Next to complete the course was 2005 runner-up, Geoff Harwood in his Parker 21 Cygnus, followed by Tilikum, and SSA Commodore Clifford Miller sailing his Parker 275 Abacus. In the final analysis, the positions on the water were reversed with Breeze not quite able to save her time and overall victory going to Martin Hopton, who last won the event in 1988 in a Seal 22. The Association’s thanks go to the committee boat, Mark Goble’s Delphis and to the warm hospitality of the Duke of York in Cowes on the Saturday evening after the finish.

Results

1 M Hopton Parker 335 Shemar 2:23:36
2 N Walbank Parker 21 Breeze 2:25:51
3 W Brown SuperSeal 26 Ard Righ 2:28:30
4 R Tanner Seal 22 Skylark 2:33:03
5 J Houston Parker 325 Tilikum 2:38:26
6 P Scrivens Parker 235 Zephyr 2:41:14