With a north westerly F4-5 forecast and lovely blue skies and flat seas for the HFSC penultimate trophy race of the season, the decision was made to run the 3 Forts Race – a simple course with big marks that everyone can see!
Following a Le Mans type start, the first leg was out to Horse Sands Fort (the one nearest the club at the end of the submarine barrier) with all 6 boats chasing hard on a broad reach. Initially quite constant at the start, the breeze had some big holes in it but also some big gusts which made life interesting throughout the race.
As the boats approached the first fort the club’s SL16 with Richard Golden and Charles Howting was in the lead and got hit by a big gust with the spinnaker up, narrowly avoiding a capsize and allowing the Dart 18 of Ken Wallis (single handed) to catch up and lead the fleet around the first mark followed closely by the SL16 and the Dart 18 of Paul Lingwood and Paul McCloud. Next around were the Hobie FX1 of Clive Wright, the Dart 18 of Steve Audsley and Jennie Laws, and the RS Cat of Bob Evans.
With all boats now sailing upwind to Spit Sands Fort off Portsmouth Harbour entrance, the SL16 tacked early taking a route almost parallel with the submarine barrier whilst the rest of the fleet stood on towards the Isle of Wight. This seemed to pay with the SL16 rounding the second fort just ahead of the Hobie FX1 with which it has crossed tacks earlier in the leg.
Once around Spit Sands Fort it was downwind to Horse Sands Fort, then a screaming close reach back to the finish line at the club. The downwind leg between the second and third forts allowed the SL16 to use its spinnaker and draw well ahead of the rest of the pack finishing first despite having to give way to a large tanker just before passing Horse Sands Fort for the second time.
The race took 1 hour 17 minutes for the first boat.
Many thanks to Chris Gill and Jess Lira for crewing the club RIB.
Start time: 13:35:00
|Position||Boat||Sail no||Helm / crew||Finishing Time||Code|
|1||SL16||R Golden / C Howting||12:52:17||COM|
|2||Dart 18||7406||P Lingwood / P McCloud||13:02:30||COM|
|3||Dart 18||7488||K Wallis||13:01:54||COM|
|4||Dart 18||4696||S Audsley / J Laws||13:08:51||COM|
|5||RS Cat 16 S||B Evans||13:12:28||COM|
|6||Hobie FX One||C Wright||13:00:52||COM|