SNAKES & LADDERS RACING - AT LAST!

A belated report on our first sailing race of the season with #JOGracing The Lonely Tower Race. Firstly congratulations to JOG for faultless execution of the race in difficult times.


The weekend was a rather long but fun race, the crew crawling down the M3 late in the evening. The JOG start line is an hour from Hamble, so as you can guess we needed that spare tank of diesel. Having gone through the control gate East to West, we chose the island side of the extended line to keep out of the way of the fleet. Always good to get a clear start we thought.


We got a cracking start in extremely light conditions going over the line ahead of the other #J111Class yachts of the Northern European Fleet racing but alongside Journeymaker. From there the game of Snakes and Ladders started. The tide pushing us more than the wind. Lots of banter about a #Code-Zero. We moved gently along alongside her, until she seemed to switch on her turbo and started flying off on a puff of air, whilst we were left parked. We stayed in touch for a while and then hit the dead zone off Osbourne Bay, the "Norris Car Park" I believe it is affectionately known as. And we remained in Long term car parking watching the fleets disappear. Just enough time then for me to do my Video Push-up challenge that day to raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder @PTSDUk



The North shore seemed to have breeze (Note to self, wind from the North head North), and when we eventually got some we hoisted the #Code-Zero and gave chase, almost from the back of Class 1 2 & 3.



Not to be disheartened, and after some debate / foot stamping about never getting to the Forts, the Code played well and we took the Forts and quite a few boats in 9-12 knots of breeze out toward Nab Tower.


With Nab now in sight we watched the boats in front start heeling, and realised the wind was about to hit as we left the shelter of the island. So yes another lesson in #doublehandedracing





sailing, do everything ridiculously early just in case. All witnessed by J111 RagingBull (Looking very smart in its new colours) who we had just caught and sliced bye, later congratulated us on saving the Code :-)


Jib out, furl the Code. All good until the sheets got wrapped. Unfurl, no problem, then hit by 19 knots, not so easy to furl with only two, and she took off like a scaled banshee, Unfortunately in the wrong direction. Hard won places being lost again. Eventually skin removed from fingers, blood on the foredeck we had the code down and away. Now lets get that reef in. Yep should have reefed earlier too!


A spot on turn around the Nab https://youtu.be/ExjQOhPUdfQ left us a great line to the next mark off Hayling Island, Winner. Slightly distracted by the huge dolphin that appeared next to us and enjoyed circling the boat with the odd gentle nudge, we inched past the entrance to the TSZ, and headed with good breeze and balance with the reef to Winner.



Great rounding of Winner with a direct lay-line to the Forts. Looks like we are getting the hang of this. Well as ever, the great line to the Forts was not to be and some challenging wind, and direction changes made for hard work, particularly so when double handed.


Through the @solentforts eventually, throw out the reef as the wind swung astern and off we go. Yep you guessed. Wind built and direction changed as we beat our way down the Solent. Too tired to put the reef back in we sailed, over powered, tired but happy to have completed our first #doublehandedracing race.


Now with thoughts of home, another hour till Hamble and racing the tide to get into that damn tricky dock before the tide starts to run. We made it, well done to #JOGracing, lots of lessons learnt, nothing broken, and one hell of a workout. Fare to say a good day was had.


Snakes and Ladders, Hot and Cold, Windy and Not, a result none the same and we will take that second place in #J111Class gratefully.





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