Five members from WKSC ventured south last weekend to battle the weather (or lack of it) to compete in the 79th anniversary Round the Island Race, Cowes IOW.
John Greenwood and Simon Hall were crewing in a local J70, Endeavour. Robert Giardelli & Hebe Hemming formed part of a team of nine onboard the Iceni 39 prototype for Andrasta Race Team and Mark Giardelli went back to sail with his old employer as first mate on a Hallberg-Rassy 36, one of the three Metropolitan Police Sailing Club boats entered this year.
It was difficult from the start as the wind direction caught everyone out and it was spinnakers up from the start line running down to the Needles Light House. Finding space and clean air was tricky with over a hundred boats on each start only 10 minutes apart. A spectacle for everyone and the first spinnaker start in 10 years of the Round the Island Race.
At The Needles the fleet split into two distinct strategies with the bigger boats flying offshore with others playing much shorter tacks, staying only a mile from the coast. The inshore boats fared better and the beat up to St Catherine’s Point was arduous.
Andrasta with Robert & Hebe made the most of its early start and after 6 hours of sailing were over 11 miles ahead of Sapphire of Broadway with Mark Giardelli at the helm.
At 17.00hrs and over nine hours form the start cannon we were all becalmed and with Andrasta at Ryde Pier, Endeavour just off Bembridge Ledge & Sapphire still a mile offshore from Ventnor thoughts turned to retirement.
Rob & Hebe stayed on, waited for the wind to fill after an hour in the doldrums the breeze came back enough to get them 39th over the line after nearly 13 hours of racing. John, Simon & Mark retired, as did 851 of the 1210 starters. It was nice to see a Limbo 6.6 Marmite in the mix finishing 6th overall.
It was a great experience with some faster legs and an education in light wind racing.