Solo Round the Island Race abandoned
35 yachts were on the line Saturday 09.30 for the sixth Solo Round the Island setting off with the ebb tide into a few knots of southwesterly breeze. The tide, wind and boat speed all worked to produce enough apparent wind to have an excellent race to the Needles.
Edith was too keen to go and was carried over the start line off Gurnard by the tide for an immediate ten minute OCS penalty - no going back with SORC. The three Minis – Crean, Prim Avel and Mad Dog - raced neck and neck all the way and conditions proved perfect for those who had invested in Code Zeros to see if they really are an advantage upwind.
Carl Wilcox certainly got it right taking his Projection 920 Wee Bear to near the front of the fleet among the faster boats. The fleet spread tacking down the full width of the main channel to be sluiced out through Hurst. Solan Goose of Hamble was first around the Needles, a few yachts going through the gap off the Needles and one gently 'dinged' the Varvassi wreck.
The fleet then struggled to make much headway east to St Catherine’s where a time check had been added to create a possible early finish. For a while the boats inshore under the cliffs had less adverse tide and pulled level with front runners. Very light airs further out gradually enabled some to set spinnakers and pull ahead of the inshore boats that started reversing to the SW.
Regrettably short of a very late finish after the tide turned the race was abandoned at 14:45.
Thanks to David Giddings and Kirsteen Donaldson as race officers making the tough decisions, and Nigel Pipe and Rob Packham taking pictures in the Rib. Thanks also to the Island Sailing Club for hosting SORC for Friday and Saturday nights producing and excellent supper both nights. It is planned to try the RIOW again as one of the September or October races if conditions allow to find the sixth winner for the Anticipation Cup.