Trip on Shropshire Lady II starting 2014-06-13 in BSAJuly14
RTIR Prep Weekend 13th-15th June 2014 – report by skipper Jeff Birkin
The purpose of this weekend was to give us the chance to sharpen skills at sail handling and get used to Shropshire Lady and her sailing abilities.
We all arrived at Port Hamble on the Friday afternoon and after a safety briefing and preparing Shropshire Lady we headed out at 6:40 pm in light winds and bright sunshine. The Hamble was buzzing with seemingly endless dinghies sailing out to Southampton Water making the departure a difficult encounter. Once clear we hoisted sails and began a series of tacking and gybing exercises as the light winds began to die off further. By 8:30 they vanished and we headed back to the berth only to find another yacht mooring there. This was soon sorted and we headed for the Victory for a nice meal in the convivial atmosphere that is Port Hamble.
Slipping at 09:55 on Saturday we were soon into NE 2-3 winds for more tack and gybe practice. Unfortunately the skies clouded over and by noon we had anchored in Osborne Bay just in time for the threatened rain and brunch. By 1:45 the rain cleared, the sun shone and the winds went to NNW 3-4. This had us hoisting the spinnaker and practicing gybing on our way to the Needles.
Close to the Needles, in progressively failing wind with increasingly unpredictable direction, we finally gave up doing 360 degree turns to try and keep wind in the sails and motored towards Yarmouth. Typically, 20 minutes later a SE 18 knots sprang up and, once again, we were sailing and, effectively, racing another yacht heading in the same direction. Becalmed again near Fort Albert we exchanged pleasantries with the other crew and finally motored the last 45 mins to Yarmouth. After an aperitif or two we headed for The Bugle Coaching Inn where we had a reasonable meal and drinks before the start of the England v Italy match.
On Sunday we slipped at 10:30 to catch the tide and tacked our way to Cowes for a lunch stop and to visit the start line for a GPS fix. We then sailed and finally motor sailed back to Port Hamble.
In all it was a good weekend and all boded well for the Round the Island Race (RTIR).