A four-strong Weymouth crew left under the 8am bridge and eastwards towards Cowes for the 18.40 race start last Friday. Mike Street, Andy Heyting and Steve Fraser had joined me on Arcsine; we had hoped for a fast trip to Cowes but the Firing Range decided to send us offshore and the wind became dead astern 20+ knots, meaning some gybing and extra miles. We picked up a buoy off Cowes Front at about 15.00 and had a short rest before having our pre-race dinner - many thanks to Mike for the lovely meat balls! Just in time our final crew, Simon Hunt was dropped off having managed to get a lift from Gosport on Dogmatix.

We were first across the start line, and began our long and exciting tacking down (it felt more like UP) to the Needles. We gradually gained on the J109 and Sunfast 3200 behind us until we lost them in the dark. Tacking through the slower boats, looking for wind shifts and making best use of the tide in the dark was a new experience for the crew.

Crossing close to the Needles (but outside the wreck!) I chose the course to steer with the help of the Nav. System which was playing up, but which was tamed(repeatedly) by Andy. The wind at 20 knots was too close and too strong for us to fly the Code Zero. However when the wind freed and dropped, Andy started to prepare the Code (not easy when it is dark and bouncy and you're new to the job!) Then we woke Simon to give an extra pair of hands, and we were just about to hoist when the wind began to creep up again. We left it on the deck!

We adjusted the course as we monitored the tidal effects and wind shifts, so that apart from one boat we were soon the westernmost yacht, as I anticipated (supported by Steve’s local knowledge) that the wind would drop and head as we approached Cherbourg western entrance.

It was a very exciting finish, with 5 boats crossing the line within two minutes after a 10 hour race. We were later to find out that 3 of those boats were from the faster class. Our result was first in Class by 7 minutes - but also first overall on corrected time, by just 6 seconds! All the hard work and concentration was rewarded - well done to everyone on Arcsine.

If anyone wants to join Arcsine for an Offshore series in 2018 do have a chat.

Kathy Claydon

Submitted on Wednesday, 4th October