The third edition of the Solent Forts Race saw the race open to a wider range of boats with a slower Blue fleet (SCHRS 2014 rating 1.320 or less) sailing a shorter course than the faster Orange fleet (SCHRS 2014 rating of 1.100 or less).
After a steady start, most of the fleet bunched up as the wind died for the rounding of the first mark at the Nab Tower. If there was any close quarters racing to be had it was here as boats inched ahead and fell back for no apprarent reason. Localised wind patterns allowed the more fortunate to pull ahead on the way back to the turning mark and put considerable distance between the front and back of the fleets. Most crews enjoyed some good mid-afternoon wind completing the first leg and heading out to the second and last mark of the drastically shortened course at the South Winner Cardinal. Long after the leaders had romped home in style, a second lull saw a number of retirerees and boats towed home.
The Solent Forts Race is a long-distance event for sports catamarans set in the Eastern Solent, with Hayling Island and Portsmouth to the north and the Isle of Wight to the west.
The race comprises a number of legs radiating out from a gate (like a star), allowing the course configuration and length to be adjusted according to the conditions prevailing on the day (see example course diagram below). The race gets its name from the Napoleonic Channel Forts that comprise two of the marks of the course.