So the Round the Island (Isle of Wight) race was a fantastic experience. A really early start last Saturday - up at 04:00 for a gun on the start line of 05:10
My crew were:
Carl - my Brother who had never set foot on this boat before
Jon and Dave - who had both been on my boat once before and never raced although Jon has just brought his own dinghy
Antonia - who was the star of the day and has raced J109's fairly competitively before and was a massive help with Race tactics and the general approach for the day.
And me, a fair bit of cruising experience but have only raced twice before (both the RTI race in two different boats - both of which times we retired due to lack of wind)
And Talia, a loaded up cruising boat - I did take the generator and a spare anchor off but we had enough water to last until Sunday, bacon and sausage butties to keep us going and enough beer and wine for all.
We had an amusing incident pre-start - we were on Sailing on starboard waiting for the start when a old Gaffer started closing on a port (give way) tack. We peered at them and the politely shouted "starboard" in case they were confused and got the answer "we are a gaffer and can't manoeuvre easily".
So we tacked to avoid the crash.
I am not quite sure what they were planning to do in the next 10 hours of racing with the 1800 boats !
But this didn't put us off and was actually the worse "incident" of the day.
After that we got quite a good start, went over the line not long after the gun and with Main and Genoa - as soon as we were over the line we got the chute ready to deploy and for once it popped out first time.
We did take the Needles very wide but seemed to be overtaking lots of inshore vessels who seemed to fall into a wind hole. Round the back of the Island we were also quite far out and benefited from the some clean wind but probably had more adverse tide than most.
The wind got up and this point and we had a fun time getting our cruising chute down - we saw at least three blown spinnakers to prove the point.
The taking round the East side of the Island took it's toll with us loosing time to most mono's who pointed higher but the winds held and we picked up good speed again coming back to Cowes.
We passed over the line at 15:53:27 with an elapsed time of 10:43:27.
We soon got the beers out regardless of where we had came in the pecking order but were surprised later to find out we came 6th in our class - out of 9 finishers in our class.
The official result link is here
When I later inspected the results table I was even more pleased without result - of the 5 catamarans in our class who beat there were:
Cabrio - was skippered by it's builder who is the manufacture of of one of the biggest catamarans ranges in Europe - Broadblue Catamarans - the crew were two directors of one of the biggest agents selling multihulls in the UK - one of which was also and RYA instructor!
Coco De Mer - a 66 foot carbon fibre Gunboat worth 3 million dollars - whilst it's true they had a handicap system I reckon they had spent a little more than me on new sails and lines than me !
Mailys - whose skipper was a former Former "C-Class World Sailing Speed Record holder" and has done the race with the same crew since 1994
Catmando - who won this class last year !
Elixir I don't know much about but as a Prout Quest 34 we should have been competitive with - we were within a couple of hundred yards off St Catherine's but he just seemed to be able to point in a way we couldn't - I would be intrigued to see how he set his Genoa. But fair play he must have sailed very well indeed - he beat us by 25 minutes - a target for next year.
So in summary I felt pretty good in coming sixth
And probably more importantly nobody got seriously hurt, no-one hit us and we didn't hit anybody and we got home before dark.
And everyone is up for doing it next year.