UK Solent Race

May 10, 2013 posted by admin

May 10, 2013

The UK Solent Race started in the north west corner of the isle of Wight with beautiful sunshine and 12 knots of wind to lead us out and around the island.

At the start line we had a short upwind leg and then made then hoisted our big kites for an amazing run to the east.  We were second to the weather mark and first to get our kite up.


Then the Pogo2s really kicked in gear.  Each production boat has their strengths and weaknesses.  Our Zero is fast in light upwind work.  Off the breeze and in the breeze unfortunately the Pogo2 is faster.  The prototypes of course are WAY faster off the breeze.  Check out this video of Mad Dog moving into the passing lane, flashing his lights and blasting off passing a Pogo 2 like it was standing still!


Next up we headed out to Poole.  Here the wind got light…..too light.  In the dark we just barely made it around the channel mark and the last of the breeze completely cut out.  Unfortunately, the current was moving north east and was starting to speed up.  Then we started to slide north,….back over the area  we just sailed through!  Quick…throw the anchor…..we’re going the wrong way!  With the anchor set we decided to get a bit of sleep before the wind and current shifted and we were off again.  Just at daylight the breeze built in and we were sailing around our anchor.  Time to go!  Andrew diligently started to lift the anchor.  We were only in 30 feet of water and this should have been an easy task.  Except when we tossed the anchor, it didn’t grab on the sandy bottom.  Instead, it grabbed on the cross line of two crab pots that anchors them down to the bottom.  As we pulled the anchor up we exposed the cross line of the pots and realized why it was sooooo heavy!  UGH!  With a quick capsize of the anchor while holding the cross line we were free and on our way.  The other boats were mostly in sight, except for YellowFin.  Yellow Fin was the other zero in the race.   They had managed to get around the mark just before the wind died and kept their little upwind pocket rocket going and really legged out on the fleet.  Our next leg took us to Eddystone….well, it took the rest of the fleet to Eddystone.  The morning of the race start the course was posted.  The course had been ammended slightly from the original information and Eddystone was added as a mark to take to Port.  We didn’t realize that until it was almost too late, but we made a quick douse of the kite and climbed our way north and got around the mark.  Unfortunately this put almost twenty miles between us and our competition!  Time to start working our way back up the fleet.  Throughout the rest of the race we were focused and kept pressing.  We had loads of kite flying time in 20 knots of wind.  With our small spinnaker up and a reef in the main we lost count of how many times we hit 14+ knots of boat speed!  Andrew and I got around the western mark Wolf Rock, did a few tacks while the new breeze and 25 knots of wind built in on the nose.  The waves built up and the sea got very very lumpy!  Then the wind started to shift to the right and we really put the pedal down.  Of the twenty miles we lost to Artemis, we gained back around 15, crossing the finish line just after Artemis and ahead of Blue One.  Next up is the UK Fastnet race and our final leg of this qualifying journey for the 2013 Mini Transat race across the Atlantic Ocean.  The Fastnet starts on Sunday May 12th.

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