The fleet had a good breeze on the first leg out to the Nab Tower (the longest leg - a distance of about 8 miles). Flying Phantom GBR0 (Orpin/Crawford) soon left the rest of the fleet behind, steering a course far deeper than the non-foiling boats and was first around the Nab Tower followed by Tornado 403 (Arnison/Hoyle) and Nacra Infusion GBR1577 (Neal/Fry).
On the way back upwind the breeze started to die and by the time the majority of the fleet reached Langstone Harbour entrance the combination of northerly tide and northerly wind made it impossible to reach the turning mark and the fleet spent a fruitless 40 minutes beating against the tide. Before long they were joined by the Flying Phantom which had just completed the second leg out to West Pole (having rounded the turning mark and got through the gate in better wind and tide conditions). Eventually the wind increased sufficiently for 4 boats to round the mark and get through the gate, but the remainder retired and the race was shorted to just one leg.
Next year’s Solent Forts Race will be on 12th June.
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.