The race started at 10:30 from Langstone Harbour entrance under blue skies and a force 4 breeze. The 18 boat entry was split into two fleets - Orange and Blue, and the first mark of the course for both fleets was the Nab Tower (a lighthouse approximately 7.5 nautical miles from the race start line).
The first boat to round the Nab Tower was the Nacra Carbon 20 of Piggot/Piggot, closely followed by Dutch/Banner on another Nacra Carbon 20. By the time the first boat reached the turning mark at Langstone Harbour entrance 1 hour 12 minutes after the race start, the 2 Nacra Carbon 20s had pulled well ahead of the rest. The Nab Tower leg saw the first retirement with third Nacra Carbon 20 in the fleet dropping out with rudder problems, and two other boats also deciding to call it a day after completing one leg.
At the end of the first leg the positions on corrected time had the Nacra Carbon 20 at the front of the Orange fleet and the Unicorn of Dan Jarman leading the Blue fleet.
The second mark for both fleets was Spit Sand Fort (at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour), a downwind/upwind leg much shorter than the first leg to the Nab Tower. At the end of leg 2 the positions of the lead boats in both fleets remained the same.
The third leg saw the Orange fleet going to Bembridge Ledge East Cardinal (off the east coast of the Isle of Wight) with the Blue Fleet sailing to West Pole (at the entrance to Chichester Harbour). With the time now past 14:00 the Race Officer decided to shorten the Blue Fleet course after the West Pole leg and the first Blue Fleet boat to cross the finish line at Langstone Harbour entrance after 4 hrs 41 mins was the Unicorn of Dan Jarman, also the Blue Fleet winner on corrected time.
In the Orange Fleet the lead boat - the Nacra Carbon 20 of Piggott/Piggott - had extended its lead over the next boat in the fleet to a full 26 minutes when it arrived back at the turning mark to start the fourth and final leg to West Pole. However this lead also meant that it was sailing in different conditions to the boats behind it and was actually 5th fastest on corrected time for leg three. Would this trend continue or could Piggott/Piggott hold on for the win? Leg 3 also saw three more Orange Fleet retirements leaving 9 boats still in the race for the Orange Fleet trophy.
The first Orange Fleet boat to cross the finish line at Langstone Harbour entrance was (not surprisingly) the Nacra Carbon 20 of Grant Piggott and Adam Piggott with an elapsed time of
4hrs 46mins, also winning the Orange Fleet trophy on corrected time. The last boat to complete the full course finished at 16:38, with an elapsed time of 6hrs 8mins.
Full results including corrected times and individual leg timings are available to download below.
Photos of the event are available from Lotte Johnson Photography.
Orange Fleet Results
|1||GBR 99||Nacra carbon 20||Grant Piggott||Adam Piggott||Weston|
|2||GBR514||F18||Nicholas Barnes||James Stacey||GWSC|
|3||GBR 518||F18||Tim Neal||Simon Farren||Parkstone|
|4||521||F18||David White||Megan Smith||Thorpe Bay|
|5||GBR35||Nacra F20 Carbon||Kevin Dutch||David Banner||Seasalter|
|6||4||Nacra 17 foiling||Caleb Cooper||Simon Northrop||Worthing|
|7||2320||F18||Max Goldsmith||Sam van de Velde||Datchet|
|8||GBR 207||F16||Paul Warren||Oxford|
|9||402||Tornado Sport||Robert Govier||David Figgis||Whitstable|
|10||67||F18||William Smith||Thomas Hales||Grafham Water|
|11||422||Tornado Sport||Adrian Howe||Fen Williams||Hayling Ferry|
|12||GBR519||F18||Andy Chapman||Mark Taylor||Hayling Ferry|
|13||368||Tornado Sport||Zac Orehawa||Rebecca Marshall||Hayling Ferry|
|DNF||98||Nacra carbon 20||Chris King||Max Maccarrol||Weston|
Blue Fleet Results
|2||784||SL16||Grant Blake||David Foster||Oxford|
|3||1094||Unicorn||Gary Piper||Stokes Bay|
|4||788||SL16||Russell Howarth||Tom Dowd||Hayling Ferry|
The Solent Forts Race is a long-distance event set in the Eastern Solent, with Hayling Island and Portsmouth to the north and the Isle of Wight to the west. Originally open to fast catamarans, the race is now open to all as part of the Allen Endurance Series.