Annual "Round the Isle of Wight" Race

The 2011 Non Round the Island Race

Last year our annual race round the Isle of Wight had to be changed to a course within the Solent because of lack of wind. This year, in spite of the best efforts of our Sailing Secretary, David Bamber, to "order up some favourable wind to (hopefully) take us all the way", we were once again thwarted by the weather. It was not for lack of wind this time but because of too much wind. The days leading up to the race had not been encouraging with ever-increasing wind accompanied by rain and showers.

It was in these deteriorating conditions that David set out on Friday from his home port of Littlehampton in a valiant effort to reach Cowes where his boat Sea Lady was due to act as the committee boat for the planned race on Saturday. Unfortunately the conditions and engine problems prevented him from getting to Cowes and the decision was taken to cancel the official race. A few boats did manage to make it to the rallying point at Shepherds Wharf, Cowes, and the crews retired to the Duke of York pub for the evening.

By the following morning, the weather had improved and the wind moderated. Clifford Miller consulted with the skippers present and it appeared that five crews would like to have a race. A course inside the Solent was chosen to finish outside Bembridge Harbour where David had originally booked us in for the night. Shemar acted as committee boat and started fifteen minutes after the others.

With winds of force 4/5 gusting 6, we had a hard beat against the tide to the windward mark off Gurnard, followed by a fast exhilarating downwind leg to the Mother Bank buoy and a fetch to Ryde Middle, then through the forts to Bembridge. We were joined at Bembridge Marina by other Seals who had not taken part in the impromptu race. Clifford had reserved space for all of us at the Bay Watch restaurant that evening where we relaxed and enjoyed a lovely meal whilst swopping tales of how we had braved the elements. We were pleased to see David arrive in Sea Lady with his engine now working.

David - perhaps you could order up a little less wind for next year!

The five boats that raced were: Shemar P335/46, Skylark S26/100, Abacus P275/58, Maybe P27/131, Kinkajou P235/17

Martin Hopton P335/46 Shemar