RORC 2H Autumn Series - Race 1

Purple Mist
Skipper: Kate Cope
Tue 8 Sep 2020 19:18
50:36.406N 001:56.108W
Race Report: RORC 2H Race 1.
A bit overdue but here is the news from Friday nights race. So after 4 weeks off work "training" Purple Mist was looking forward to the first real offshore race of the season - a 100mile / Up to 24hr race starting Friday night with some red hot competition of Olympic sailors, hopeful Olympic sailors and a string of RORC race winning boats. yet again a real risk of being last.
The training wasn't quite as intense as it could have been with Thunderstorms, Storm Francis, Storm Ellen and meeting up with plenty of friends along the way somehow distracting the task at hand. Matt had already committed to J-Cup so
Christian Wood
stepped up to be my co-skipper - his first race on New Purple Mist.
On the cruise... oophs I mean training .... back from Weymouth Thursday George the Autopilot was being a bit playful so Rob and I decided Friday morning to tweak a few settings and redo the dockside commissioning. Learning moment here .... never ever ever mess with your autopilot without giving yourself time to try it out. We merrily left the dock with 2hrs to go before the start and found as soon as I engaged the Autopilot it started to go round in circles.... cue moment of slight panic... Turn it off and on....still circles... redo dockside commission ... still circles.....stress building... can we race without a pilot?... Full reset of the Autopilot now having to set up from scratch... default is a planing motorboat... reset all the defaults...., dockside commissioning (turn the rudder the other way ) ... on the water commissioning.... nearly run down a few boats exiting the Hamble... overwrite a few numbers with what Bellino uses... and FINALLY much to our utter relief the pilot steers in a straight line..... now to just find that bit buried in the advanced menu that removes it from the screen if not ropes bang against and engage/ disengage.
So given all that excitement we were just happy to make the start line. Downwind start with 18kts which should have been the S2 but as Christian has not flown symmetric we chose the A5. 2 mins to go the wind dropped to 12kts .... bugger wrong sail!
My £3.99 i-regatta app again outshone the thousands of pound of B&G and got me absolutely bang on the line. Most boats were all bunched up at the north end which was the most favoured end until the Red funnel ferry decided to drive through them all. Only Bellino and Jangada escaped, there was spinnakers everywhere as boats had to round up to avoid the Ferry. I thought we had escaped as we were half way down the start line and clear ahead until the stupid ferry speeded up decided to get ahead of me as well. Luckily the A5 was a bit more forgiving of the heading right up then slamming to 180' to go close behind the ferry.
However the ferry avoidance had put me closer than I liked to the light winds in Osbourne. we went to Gybe out to the middle of the Solent but now we have 2 tankers crossing in the main channel so we were a bit stuck until they had passed. All of this lead to a slow start and the "favourites" sped away with there big kites but we did some nice clean gybes and the weather was nice so we just settled down to enjoy the ride, after all there was still 2 boats behind us.
Forts to Nab Outers we were closer to the wind but still in the range of the A5 so we hotted up the angle and were flying along with 9kts boat speed . Now those pesky lead boats were not pulling away from us so quickly. Once the boat was sorted we let George steer for 5 mins whilst we had an important video call to say night night to Christians 10 month old daughter who was sat in her bath watching us. She seemed very engaged with the sailing... clearly crew for the future.
Nab to Owers was more downwind , but now in the dark, The A5 was not wanting to play nicely in the dark and after a couple of bungled half gybes we snuffed and gybed a bit late.
Owers to Peverill ledge was the big upwind section with 2.5kts of tide against at the start so we tacked North in to avoid the tide. Last bit of advice from Jerry was "Dont be a prat,,, follow the pack" so off we went to follow the leaders, then came the wind shift, the rain and our tack North was redundant . The two boats behind only had to round Owers and head for St Cats.... booo!
Upwind speed was good, we had the right sails (J3 / Full Main) and we soon started increasing the gap from Felix behind us. We started shifts and although I never slept the lie down was welcome as I was doing all the bow work as well as plenty of helming. 2am and the sky cleared, a big moon was out and we were bashing through the the big waves created off St Cats when there is wind against tide.
Peverill Ledge came up a bit quick and the halyards were not quite sorted but once we got the Zero flying we were off again at 9kts. Lovely sunny morning zooming though the cruise ships off Bournemouth down the North Head. A slow downwind leg to Hurst, ensuring we were far enough out not to hit the sand at Hurst castle (unfortunately another boat cut it too close and went aground) and then more code Zero to end off Lepe.... North of the buoy (another boat went south of the buoy and incurred a 20% time penalty).
Overall a super enjoyable race and best of all were were not last,.... in fact not even second or third last we were 8th from 16 boats.. probably my best ever RORC result.... hurrah....
Bring on the 2H National Championships this weekend where yet again we are up against the best of the best and yet again we might come last.