Trip on Crack-on starting 2009-06-20 in BSA2July12

Round the Island race 2012 – report by Bob Buchanan

The weekend before the R.T.I Becky Goddard and I took “Crack on” a 25ft Sadler, from Portland to Ocean Village, Southampton with an overnight stop in Yarmouth on the I.O.W

We left at 11.00hrs in a S/W F4. We had a new number one genoa and that was all we used. It was quite an uneventful sail but very enjoyable. We berthed in Yarmouth at 21.00 then went to the “Bugle”. It was hard to believe that they stopped serving food at 09.30. This was the same in all the other places in Yarmouth. So after a couple of beers it was back to the boat and put the stew on the cooker. It was better than dining in a 5 star hotel after a hard days sailing.

The next day was a very warm, steady sail on the genoa only, up to Ocean Quay.

Race Weekend

We travelled to Ocean Quay on Friday evening. Hugh Hayward (the boat’s owner) Paddy Beatt (Hugh’s brother in law) Becky Goddard and I. Unfortunately, Hugh was unable to do the race as he had a bit of a problem at home (his house had a fire in it and was badly damaged). We had a meal at Shamrock Quay, then back to the boat for an early ish night.

Race morning. We were up at 05.00 had breakfast, and were ready to go at 06.00 (our race start time was 08.40) the key was turned to start the engine, but all we heard was the click of the solenoid. After a few more tries we did the only sensible thing we could do, PANIC. I ran around the site to see if anyone was up at this time of the morning, but to no avail. I got back to the boat to find Becky and Paddy about to ring Sea Start. We had a Sea Start sticker in the window and thought we were still members; the bad news was that we were not; the even worse news was that they would come out for a small fee. £225.00 didn’t seem like a small fee to us so we turned them down.

We all sat in the cockpit and thought that’s it, get a jump start later and sail back to Portland, until Becky said jokingly, why not get the starting handle out? We asked Paddy, as he has been sailing Crack On ever since Hugh had bought her 30 years ago if there was one, but he didn’t know, as he had never used one. A quick look down below and we found one. A few turns on the handle was all it needed to get the engine going, So off we went, down to the start line. It was blowing a SW/5 so we put up the number 3 jib and a reef in the main. The start was the usual bit of chaos but we got away without any problems .Our start time was 08.40 and we were in the last group to go. Paddy was on the tiller, me and Becks on the jib sheets. We also had GPS tracking enabled. When we got to Hurst the tracking showed us going a few miles into the New Forest and back out again (software problem I think?) We didn’t take the shortcut at the Needles, but watched one boat that did. He cut it very fine and then came to a shuddering stop, did a pirouette, and came back out again. He was in so close that he must have hit the rocks. We rounded the Needles at 11.00 eased the sails out, headed for St Catherines, and got the sarnies out. We were doing 5.5knts in a SW4. At St Caths we poled out and goose winged up to Bembridge. The wind had backed to SF4 and our speed had increased to 7-8 knts. We had a text message from Hugh, to say our tracking had stopped, although it was still switched on we rebooted it and were texted back that it was working again (software problem again?)

We passed Bembridge, dropped the jib and put the number one genoa up. By the time we had got to Ryde sands, the wind had got up to F5 WSW, we were going so well that we decided to stop on Ryde sands for about 20/30minutes. We were cutting it a little bit too fine (must listen to Becky next time as she had her plotter in her hand) after we managed to bounce ourselves off the sands, we looked back to see a lot of other boats still trying to get off. From here it was now a close hauled sprint to the finish. The tracking seems to have stopped working again from here, but I checked that it was on and still working. We crossed the line at 18.40. Our race time was 10hours 11secs, not bad for a Sadler 25 but it could have been a bit better if we had not stopped on Ryde sands to watch the race go by.

We came 296 out of 1647 entries and 21 out of 52 in our class. 1200 yachts finished, 245 retired, and 29 were disqualified etc.

From race finish, we sailed on to Yarmouth. We put an extra reef in and changed the genoa for the number 3 jib .We were knackered and wanted an easy sail. We got to Yarmouth at 10.00 wet and tired, so we had a couple of bottles of wine, a glass of whisky, and yet again another meal of stew. After the day’s sailing, it was one of the best meals that we had ever had, (thanks Becks)

The next morning we had to leave at 08.00 to catch the west going tide back to Portland. All my sailing gear and clothes were wet, so I went up to the laundry at 06.45. I had to borrow becks shorts and top as all my clothes were wet. I did look silly in her shorts and a top with a frilly bow on the front of it, (pictures can be supplied on request) I don’t know why, but I always end up in Becky’s clothes on sailing trips.

Finally, we get away at 08.15. We motor down to the Needles then get the sails up, two reefs in the main and the number 3 jib. The wind was SW5/6 and it is not long before we put another reef in the main. It’s not a very nice sail and things start to get worse. At Anvil point the wind is gusting F7 and we are taking a battering. Suddenly we are hit by a huge wave on our beam and we all go flying in the cockpit. The boat takes on a vast amount of water, heels at a ridiculous angle but as always with Crack On she just comes back up and carries on. We got ourselves back in to sailing mode and found that apart from a broken staunchion, we had an extra passenger on board, it was a small mackerel. It was too small to make a meal for three so we picked him up and threw him overboard. Past Anvil point the wind died down a bit and we sailed the rest of the way to Portland without any problems.

In Portland we were met by Hugh Hayward (Crack On) owner. A very long, wet and enjoyable weekend.