Yesterday we completed our longest sail to date. We took Phesheya-Racing on a 60 mile circuit around the Isle of Wight. This is part of our sea trials of the boat before we set off on our 300 mile qualifying passage for the Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Race. The race is one of the most important double handed races in Europe. It is held every four years but has not seen a significant South African entry for about 20 years. This year there will be 11 Class 40 yachts competing so we will certainly have our work cut out. All told there are a total of 60 entries in this year’s race. The race starts on 6 June, runs clockwise around Britain and Ireland and has 4 stops. Boats are timed individually as they arrive at the stopping points and must remain there for at least 48 hours before continuing.
Conditions for the sea trials yesterday were very light and in fact the most valuable lesson we learned was probably what our fuel consumption might be when charging batteries! We set off from Hamble at about 09H00 and motorsailed down the Solent towards Hurst Narrows, but it wasn’t until we reached The Needles, at the western most point of the Isle of Wight, that the wind picked up sufficiently for us to sail properly with the mainsail and solent jib. We beat into a light SE wind for a while but it soon died away to nothing and we motorsailed again for a while until we reached St. Catherine’s Point at the south end of the island. Off St. Catherine’s Point the wind increased to 14 knots from the east and we made some good progress to windward for a while. Once again it didn’t last long and it was almost sunset by the time we reached the eastern end of the island and were able to change from the solent to the gennaker. We sailed back into the Solent in darkness and rain as the wind finally died away for the night.
The following blog entry is a short video we made of our passage round the island.