80th Anniversary year of the Round the Island Race
The Royal Mersey Yacht Club selected a team to compete in the 2011 - 80th anniversary year of the Round the Island Race. The nine person team picked up their Sunsail F40 Beneteau yacht GBR4002N from Port Solent on Thursday, sailing to Cowes on Friday; it proved an interesting start to the weekend with 15Kt winds and rain in the Solent, testing the equipment out made the crew at home with the boat, with good use put to the depth sounder! The F40 headed for Cowes for an overnight berth at the Yacht Haven topped of with a drink and a Chilli.
The Saturday Race was started at 0620 hrs on Saturday 25th June; necessitating an alarm call at 04:15 which saw the crew ready to sail by 05:00. Heavy winds and poor visibility greeted the yachts as they left their berths jousting for position for the start was hectic, with hundreds of yachts there for the 3rd flights start, out of a total of 1900 plus entries.
We started with force 6 on the beat to Thorness Bay with good time being made using the tide. We were a little far out to use the tide to full advantage, but the sailing was good. As GBR 4002 approached Sconce Point the wind reached 26Kt which made port starboard for all, with several collisions being reported, a taste of things to come.
As the Needles approached gusting and the start of a large rolling sea made choosing a safe course around the light and rocks more important than position, 4002 was double main reefed at this time although the lead boats in the F40 class carried no reefs. As the Needles were rounded the reported 20ft seas came into their own with many boats carrying Spinnakers broaching as the surfed down the wave faces, our spinnaker safely below decks, where it stayed; finishing in a strange boat was more important than winning at this time.
There were 60 plus May Day and Pan Pan calls that day, ranging from capsized yachts, man over board and injured crew. Masts were lost and one of the F40 even lost its steering wheel and resorted to standby tiller use as it motored back to Cowes, in the results listing a very high proportion of boats retired in and around the Needles area that morning; 300 yachts retired in all.
The run down to St Catharine’s point saw the RMYC team clipped on the yacht as the various helms kept us clear of the very compacted fleets around us, with yachts passing us to be found later going about seeking shelter. Lunch was a very hurried snack with much tea and coffee spilt over the deck, but revitalised 4002 carried on to Bembridge Buoy and a turn back on to a beat and calmer seas, with a wind of 28Kts with gusts well over 34kts. 4002 carried us on with no problems as Osborne
House appeared out of the mist along with several other F40’s all with no reefs and very happy looking crews as the Finish was in sight.
The Yachts divided into their finishing sectors designated to them with us to the south of the line where an end of race duel happened between us and another F40 for position on the line, much tacking followed with us finishing behind them by 7sec close end of race fun.
There was no hanging around to see others finish or have a “jolly” in the sun which now had decided to appear to become a beautiful sunny afternoon for the hundreds still to finish, still with heavy gusty wind making a good beat to the line, into the Yacht Haven and time for a bear or two while Sunsail completed the results for our class, 22 out of 42 not bad for two hours practice the day before; next year in a force 3 and total sunshine will be even better.
Our time was 50KM in 8hrs 22min only 60mins behind the class winner! But all our crew was safe and no damage to the Yacht. That night it was Curry time in Cowes for us but an early night followed, Sunday dawned ready for the sail back to Port Solent and the return of 4002, had the storm passed by, yes to be replaced with Fog of 150 yards visibility, great sailing weather!
The sail back to Port Solent was a good team builder, with many skills brushed up; as we entered Portsmouth the Sun broke through the Clouds for the hour long motoring back to the berths, coffee a bun and fond farewells, till next year. When the sun will shine and the wind will not be above Force 4, any takers?
Philip Gilmour - Commodore
Etchells Fleet returns to Scotland
After an absence of many years, the Etchells class has once again started
racing regularly on the Clyde.
Joining fleets on the Solent and the Mersey, the British Association is delighted to see the class racing in Scotland again. Going back as far as 1981, the Etchells had a European Championships on the Clyde, and this rebirth bodes well for the whole European scene. The Etchells is a strict one design keelboat that delivers affordable, high quality racing yet can
be sailed by crews of three of four and, as they are on the Clyde, can be sailed off a mooring where appropriate.
In the last 6 months 4 additional boats have migrated to the Clyde, bringing fleet numbers up to 6 with 4 more owners currently looking to purchase boats, and the local fleet has adapted it's strategy by limiting allowable hull numbers to those below 1200. (The newest boats in the class are approaching 1400) This has bought a raft of good second hand boats into the area at very reasonable costs (and Etchells last a long time, the boat 3rd overall in the 2010 World Championship was hull number 924 from Australia.) There is interest from other sailors in the area who are now looking to join this new fleet, which will be primarily moored at Royal Gourock Yacht Club who run a launch service to the boats, as well as offering excellent Yacht Club facilities. The Etchells British Class Association is looking forward to welcoming the Clyde fleet at future National events and investigating the possibility of holding the British Championships in Scotland sooner rather than later.
- from the International Etchells website news - June 2011
The Annual RMYC Regatta on the River Mersey
On Saturday June 4th a most successful RMYC Annual Regatta was held on the River Mersey. In glorious sunshine with initially light winds, which increased to a useful fresh breeze, 9 Classes of yachts participated. Under the watchful eye of the Commodore, Phil Gilmour, together with a team of Assistants, the programme went without a hitch.
All the Classes enjoyed competitive sailing heading south towards Eastham on the flood tide, then across the river to the Liverpool shore, different classes following different courses. Then all coming together on the Wirral side of the river for some keen finishing.
A wonderful day's sailing was enjoyed by all, rounded off by a most enjoyable late Buffet lunch.
Members of RMYC were delighted to see the restored gaff-rigged
Royal Mersey yacht 'Phyllis' out on the river during the Regatta nearly a hundred years after she first started life in the area in 1913.