Trip on Parallel Universe starting 2021-07-03 in BSAJuly21

Solent Sailing Part 2 – Round the Island Race 3/7/21 – report by Becky Goddard

Boat: Hunter Impala 28 ‘Parallel Universe’

Skipper: Paddy Brett. Crew: Simon Gilmore, Kate Brett, Bob Buchanan and Becky Goddard

On Friday July 2nd we left home early to get the 11 am ferry from Lymington to YarmouthMap – we hadn’t met Simon so looked out for someone like us – a (slightly) scruffy man carrying a kitbag off the train – we got him in one!

Paddy met us off the ferry and drove us to the boatyard, parked up, and we boarded the boat. Kate wasn’t joining us till the evening so we slipped the berth about 13.30 and headed for CowesMap. Simon and Paddy were at school together and raced Impalas until the late nineties so they were well used to sailing this type of boat. We hoisted the main and spinnaker with a SW F3. During the run we dropped the spinny, hoisted the genny, practised reefing and generally got used to four, soon to be five, crew on the boat. The forecast was for very light winds so we didn’t think we’d need to reef!

Paddy had booked a mid-river berth in Cowes for two nights so on arrival we inflated the dinghy and tested the outboard, meeting up with Kate and her fiancé at the Corinthian Yacht Club for a beer and a takeaway meal. The club didn’t do food and encouraged members to drink more beer by offering cutlery, napkins and condiments to consume our food on their premises.

Bob and I returned to the boat with the promise to return next morning at 0600 and pick up the skipper and crew from the other side of the river. Our start time was 0750 and Paddy wanted to be on or near the start line well before that! Paddy had also cooked loads of bacon butties (wrapped in foil) and prepared equal loads of sandwiches – the galley on the boat is good but doing food in a race is not a good idea!

The start of the race went quite smoothly and we were close-hauled tacking down the Solent towards the NeedlesMap. The wind F4/5 SW picked up beyond the forecast despite an early fog; the visibility was poor. We rounded the Needles by 10.15 and Paddy decided to cross the SW side of the islandMap in a straight sail across the bay eventually hoisting the spinny which we flew to BembridgeMap.

We dropped the spinny, hoisted the genny and sailed close-hauled to Ryde only just avoiding the shallow Ryde SandMaps – some boats ran aground here – a feeling we knew from the last time we raced with Paddy ten years ago! As the wind decreased we had to start tacking as we closed with some of the fleet through the Forts. Despite Paddy’s skills we had to take a very quick tack in the last 50 yards before the finishMap line finishing at 1547. What a race! Our top speed had reached 9.3 knots!

All exhilarated and exhausted we tied up to our mooring in Cowes and dinghyed across the river to Paddy and Lucy’s garden where Lucy had prepare a huge bbq and lots of beer and wine. As the oldest on the crew Bob and I returned to the boat about 2100 worn out!

On the Sunday we had a lie in before the rest of the crew and skipper arrived. We slipped our mooring after deflating the dinghy and headed for Yarmouth for the 1200 bridge lift – Kate and Digby and Simon were heading home Sunday Afternoon. We all joined in changing the mainsail, packing up the genny and sheets, and clearing the boat of all perishable foods. Bob and I lay on our bunks for a rest then got the water taxi to town for our dinner booking at the Bugle. Sadly the meal wasn’t up to standard – the vegetables were like dried out bullets! And after, we found the water taxi had stopped at 2000 and there were no road taxis, so we called up shanks’ pony and walked back to the boat, reaching it about 2100.

Next day we returned to the ferry quay for the 1045 sailing and arrived in time for a stunning bacon and egg roll at a little café on the quay. Made up for the dinner on the previous night.

1169 boats were entered in the race and 120 didn’t race, retired, or were disqualified. We came 14th of our class of 46(?) and 168th overall – a great result and a smashing weekend! Big thanks to Paddy for asking us and to his wife Lucy for all the provisions – we didn’t go hungry or thirsty at all!

This was the 90th anniversary of the race but I’m not sure Bob and I will be able to take the physical impact of the 100th!!

Yar river  50.7009,-1.5019
Cowes  50.7616,-1.2927
Needles  50.6612,-1.6032
island  50.5611,-1.2978
Bembridge  50.6836,-1.0575
Ryde Sand  50.7451,-1.1166
finish  50.7727,-1.2831