Trip on Spring Fever starting 2016-09-17 in BSAOct16
The Holms Race 17th September 2016 – report by Bob Buchanan
Boat MG Spring 25
The Holmes race is from Portishead pier & Firefly (green buoy) down to Flat Holm, over to Steep Holm then back to Portishead. The finishing line being Battery Point, a total of about 40 NM.
High water at Bristol was at 08.14 Low water was at 14.55. The tactics are to leave on the ebb tide and make Flat Holm just before low water, then over to Steep Holm, about an hour’s sail, then catch the flood tide back to Portishead.
We all met up on the boat for breakfast, egg and bacon sarnies, from the van by the lock.
We locked out at 10.30hrs and had a warm-up sail in the bay. We crossed the starting line at 11.30hrs in a very light breeze with a full main and Genoa.
Down by Battery Point, we decided to put up the cruising chute, this gave us a bit more speed, we hit 10.9kts, but with the wind gradually dropping, and the tide slowing down, we were just drifting towards Flat Holm.
A couple of hundred yards off of Flat Holm we were stuck with a lot of other yachts, the yacht next to us (about six feet away) was crewed with Dave Girling. After about ten minutes, the depth alarms on our boat, and several others, started to go off. We had no option but to start our engines and retire from the race.
We motored around Flat Holm and headed back to Portishead, some yachts that had got around Flat Holm were now drifting past Steep Holm and on their way towards Watchet.
Having retired from the race, we were motoring back enjoying our lunch, sarnies, hot soup, pasties, etc., when suddenly the wind picked up, we pulled out the Genoa and started to have a good sail, but the wind got stronger so we had to reef in the Genoa, this lasted all the way up to Battery point when we had to radio in to say that we had retired from the race.
We were listening in on the radio and all the yachts that crossed the line radioed in with the same story, they had to retire due to lack of wind.
We locked in about 17.30 tied the boat up and had a beer, our first of the day.
That evening, we went to the community centre where the sailing club laid on a bar and meal. It was nice to meet everyone and discuss all the sailing tactics etc. of the day.
A total of forty seven yachts entered the race. Only sixteen yachts finished. We took a short cut, not going around Steep Holm and sailed 38 NM.