Freezing ride to the Nab Tower

A report from the Solo Offshore Racing Club season opener

Friday March 29th 2013, Author: Nigel Colley, Location: United Kingdom

17 of the 20 entrants braved the start gun for the Nab Solo of Gurnard, the SORC season opener, on the JOG line at Cowes on Saturday morning.

Race officers Kirsteen and David had shortened the course on Friday evening due to the strong winds and freezing conditions forecast for the Nab Tower area and the new course promised a windward leg eastward to No Mans Fort, a reach north west to Browndown on the Stokes Bay shore and a run to finish at Snowden just east of Cowes entrance, about 14 miles total.

The breeze had moderated overnight to 13 knots just north of east and the air temperature had dropped to 3°C, so a significant wind chill was to be endured, approximately -3°C!

With a strong ebb tide running it was a question of 'who dares wins' as the fleet short tacked round Gurnard, in to Cowes, with a short hitch out to Snowdon and then back in again, with the same formula all the way to No Mans Land Fort. Rare was a casualty of the tactic, getting trapped on Ryde Sands just after Ryde Pier. At the Fort it was Jbellino leading on the water from Ding Dong, Voador, Fastrak and Comedy of Errors all clear ahead of the chasing pack.

The following leg was a reach to Browndown in marginal spinnaker conditions. Voador hoisted and managed to hold to the mark, making gains on the Class 1 boats ahead. Fastrak also hoisted but after a mile her brand new A2 spinnaker exploded necessitating a clear up and setting of another spinnaker! Rounding Browndown at about 12.30 the order was Jbellino, Voador, Ding Dong, Fastrak IX, it was important to bear away at the mark to get back into mid channel and the last of the west going tide toward Ryde Middle. Boat speeds had dropped to 7 knots sailing deep down wind with the symmetrical spinnakers having an easier time allowing Ding Dong to finally get past Voador.

The finishing order at Snowdon was Jbellino ahead of Ding Dong by 62 seconds but neither had saved their time on Voador which took the overall win after three hours of close and chilly racing.

Class 1 was won by Jbellino (Rob Craigie) with Ding Dong (Chris Rustom) 2nd and Change of Course (Keith Gibbs) in 3rd.

Class 2 was convincingly won by Voador (Simon Curwen), followed by Fastrak (Nigel Colley) and Comedy of Errors (Tony White). Nigel Colley led the four boat Sun Fast 3200 fleet around the course from start to finish.

Class 3 results were 1st Fantasea (Tony Rowe), 2nd Impro (Richard Breese) and 3rd Nereid (John Baily).

It was great to see some new faces in the fleet in what promises to be a very competitive and closely
fought season.

The next SORC singlehanded race is the very popular RIOW Solo, 52 miles west about round the
Island from Cowes on Saturday 20th April with the pre-race social on Friday evening and post race
prizes in Cowes.

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