Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Round the Island Race

Velsheda appearing at dawn
The fleet

What a fantastic weekend.

Headed off to Port Solent on Thursday to pick up our boat, a Jenneau 37. By the time we'd shopped, sorted out and sat down to eat surrounded by the other seventy Sunsail charters it was around ten. I knew six of the eight crew, as it was a 'village' boat, a tradition which goes back a while and we were racing against another crew from the village who had hired the same type of boat. Of the eight crew I knew six, and of the other two, one was very good company, and the other a bit of a cock.

Suitably hungover, the next day we sailed to Cowes and had a bit of a practice. Not much wind and bloody hot, shorts and tee shirt stuff. My chum who had organized the trip had pulled a blinder, and our berth was bang outside the Cowes Yacht Haven, with easy access to the showers and shitters. ( Taking a dump on an eight berth boat after a chilli the night before is not thought to be socially acceptable).

In the evening, some went to watch the footie on the big screen in the marina, whilst not being English or particularly enjoying football, I was happy to chew the fat and cook my mean Thai yellow (chilli, Thai curry, not nice to shit onboard, see our mistake?)

We then had to get up at half past fucking three in the morning to make our start time of 0520. The starts are staggered at ten minute intervals according to class, and I was not that fussed as we would be able to see the Maxiyachts going off first from our holding area. We were bumbling around, supping a last coffee before thinking about our start when the most beautiful sight appeared through the soft orange of the dawn. The J class Velsheda at full tilt. What a vision. Apologies for geekiness, but this alone made my weekend, and my piss poor photography doesn't do her justice.

In all we took around nine and a half hours to complete the race and finished a shameful fifth from bottom in our class, losing to the other village boat by fourteen minutes in the process. But what a sail, gusting up to twenty three knots, full wets on all day, but with glorious sunshine. Everywhere you looked were sails.

We berthed up and seriously beered, and then met our victorious chums in a very good prebooked ( imagine the crowds, Phil's organization was superb) Italian restaurant, followed by a great little pub, and then a bad trip down a bottle of gin back at the boat.

The trip back to Port Solent after a dodgy full English was a quiet one.

A cracking long weekend, and I'm signed up for next year.


Brennig said...

A nice read, takes me back. I used to have a half-share in a Sigma 362.

Gumpher said...

Just looked that up Bren, nice boat

DJ Kirkby said...

Gorgeous photos and that's as close as I'll ever get to actually being on a sail boat *retch*

Gumpher said...

Cheers DJ, I couldn't get my camera out quick enough when that J appeared.
We had a spew free crew!