Round the Island Race - Walking the Course Part 3

Mike Broughton's tactical and navigation advice on the course between St Cat's and Bembridge
Previous articles: Walking the course with Mike Broughton part 1: Cowes to the Needles Walking the course with Mike Broughton part 2: the Needles to St Catherine's Point Third quadrant - St Catherine's Point to Bembridge Ledge - 14nms Cheating the Tide - There is a large tidal stream differential, in terms of strength, between 50m from the shore and a quarter of a mile out and is usually worth the effort of routing as close as possible without hitting the bricks. Keep a sharp eye out for lobster pots, each year there always seem to be a couple of pots with a long trailing rope, waiting to ensnare the unwary. Lobster pots always give free information of the tidal stream, which varies so much in this area, so take heed. Monitor the progress of the boats around you and check if you are losing out by going too far out to sea on each tack. Also consider if you're tacking too often? Some boats take a long time to get back up to optimum speed and tacking too often can be a killer. If there is a lot of traffic in this area keep a sharp eye out and consider leaving the trimmer to leeward, as collisions happen in this area each year. One final point, as you approach the shore, start looking for a clear lane out, to maintain clear air well before you have to tack.. Take an 'OS' map sailing! - Monitoring your progress along the coast, close inshore is not always easy if you don't know the area between St Cat's and Ventnor. One trick is to take an OS Map of the Island (sheet 196), as it shows much more detail of features on the shore, such as trees, valleys and buildings compared to the chart. Another tip for monitoring progress along