Round the Island Race - Walking the Course part 2


Today navigator Mike Broughton takes us from the Needles to St Catherine's
Second quadrant - the Needles to St Cat's; 120 degrees, approx 12.5nms Tidal Strategy - Having made the most of fair tide to the Needles, you now have the ebb stream against you, running until around 1345. Getting out of the strongest counter stream is important if you cannot make it to St Catherine's Point in one tack, and vital if the wind is light. Cheating the foul tide is essential in smaller/slower boats, where the adverse tide is relatively a greater negative percentage of your forward speed vector. Generally speaking, going inshore, you will experience considerably less foul current, but there can be slightly less breeze and you need to be conversant with the various ledges and rocks close to the shore. The Great Chale Bay eddy - Invariably this is the place to aim for. Here the stream runs south east for eight hours out of 12 and can give you one knot of positive current, while those half a mile out to sea can be in two knots of foul tide, as well as being caught on the outside of a large wind bend. Chale Bay covers the last three miles of the leg to St Catherine's Point, between the Atherfield Ledge and the Point itself. One word of caution: watch out for wind shadows caused by the high cliffs around Blackgang Chine. The eddy starts around 1030, and gets larger and stronger over the next three hours. Don't go inshore too early - Again, the high cliffs each side of Freshwater Bay can have the effect of stealing your wind. Irex Rock is an important hazard to watch out for, a third of a mile south-east of the Needles in Scratchell's Bay. Sticking up like a pinnacle above the rest of the seabed (depth 8m) this rock

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