Wednesday, 18 May 2011

De Guingand Bowl - Greenwich LV and Back

Crew: Trevor Drew, Nick Bowles, Alan Voysey, Andy Lapsley, Dan Groves, David Balding, Emily Shrosbree, Jonathan Law.

Friday evening saw us gathering excitedly at Ocean Village for our second race with Blue Juice. We headed across to East Cowes to berth for the night, around which we chased some wild geese for a good half hour before finally locating some chop suey and chips. Perhaps not the most nourishing of pre-race suppers, but very welcome nonetheless.

Saturday morning brought sunshine and a modest force 4 for our 08:40 start. We headed west out of the Solent and rounded Bridge, witnessing some very slick spinnaker hoists from our competition [Bob and Tonnere de Breskens!].

We experimented with our own novel spinnaker-hoisting technique (sideways), but soon resorted to more conventional methods and successfully managed our first gybe as a crew. Things then got a bit fruity and having witnessed several boats getting into difficulties we decided it was best to get the jib up and the kite down before we got into any trouble. Not quite soon enough though, as we broached and had to rescue the kite from the water.

Once things had settled down, we dug into some exotic elk meat salami and some rather less exotic regulation ham and cheese rolls to soak up the adrenalin. We continued to keep good pace under white sails, surfing along in beautiful seas to the tune of a planing hull. We rounded the Greenwich Light Ship in lovely evening light, briefly dipping our toes into the eastern hemisphere before starting the long overnight upwind leg.

Two AM saw us bathing in dramatic yellow moonlight as we zig-zagged west towards the entrance to the Solent coming in between No Man's Land and Horse Sand forts. We crossed the line just in time for breakfast, with a further 170 qualifying miles under our lifebelts and a 43rd placing overall in IRC – a great race!


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