Cruiser race 2nd Aug

2nd Aug 2015

A busy day in the river on Sunday as it was the annual Littlehampton Waterfront Festival. We had jetskis, blokes on water-powered jet hoverboots, lifeboatmen floating past for rescue demonstrations, and a big ship was due to enter at high tide. In the midst of all that, four cruisers managed to put to sea about 1200 for the race. Stuart was with me and the forecast was F4-5 from the East so we set the main with a reef as we motored out past the holidaymakers lining the riverbanks. No time or space for our usual leisurely ramble up and down the river sorting ourselves out.

A bit like the race a few weekends ago, the race officer set a course designed to keep us all well away from the river entrance so we'd avoid the ship coming in. The first leg was a long beat into the SE wind out to the weather station and though the two faster boats drew quickly ahead, we were neck and neck with Free n Easy as we crossed tacks on our way out. It took ages to reach the thing though we did manage to get Elsa to point quite well and she was well balanced on the helm with that single reef, not too much heel.

We were pleased to note we were well ahead of Free n Easy when we eventually got there, then it was a broad reach back towards shore and round Steel Can, gybe around and harden up back out to Outfall, then another shorter beat back to the Weather Station again. Free n Easy called in to retire as they were worried about missing the tide and having trouble getting back to their berth.

South of the weather station looking back towards the Sussex coast just before we tacked to go round it the first time:

The final leg was a long straight run back to the finish line at the harbour entrance.We finished just under 3 hours and put the sails away outside the harbour so we'd have clear decks for the run in. I called the harbourmaster to check the river was clear. Being about 2 hours after high water the outgoing tide was quite strong and the outboard really struggled to push us in, the wind was slightly behind us so we unrolled the genoa for a bit of extra pull and eventually made it in!

My friend Anthony Fogg from his flat across the river was taking pictures of the activity and captured us as we came up the river a bit bedraggled, the water was getting low so Stuart wound the keel up as we swerved our way through a load of AYC Toppers, then we made it into the berth around 4pm.

That was a long race, 3 hours and over 16 miles logged on the GPS. Because Free n Easy retired, we got 3rd place in the race which is our best result of the year so far!


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