IRC East Coasts, May 2013

West Mersea, England
With 23 boats in three classes, ranging from a Stella to a 42 foot One design (Oystercatcher XXX) there were a few challenges for the Race team to overcome. The requirement was for 5 (3 windward/leeward & 2 round the cans) races over two days.  With a wind of 340 to 010 degrees on the first day and needing to set a windward/leeward course with a minimum depth of 4m this was a challenge in the Blackwater river.  The competitors were asked to arrive early and make a 45 minute sail towards the Bench head mark in time for a 10.00am start for the Class 3 boats.  With a midday tide there was a challenge for the mark laying team to get in a fair course for the competitors.

SolentXtra was represented by Paul Jackson who discarded his RIB and mark laying equipment to be the race officer.

IMG 0775

All three races were completed in a good time for all the boats with the Class 2 boats taking on average 1hr and 5 minutes.  Oystercatcher did the course in 45 minutes and the Stella in 1hr and 20 minutes.  All races were completed by 3.30pm and with a foul tide reach back to West Mersea the club bars were populated by 4.30pm thanks to the quick recovery of competitors by the Trot Boat crews.  Results were all calculated on board the CB before coming ashore.

Sunday bought a different challenge, Low Water Springs meant we had to be creative with the location of the start line due to the draft of Oystercatcher.  The SI’s had anticipated this issue, so the competitors were off 10.00am on a 12 mile course on a beautiful sailing day with 10 knots of Breeze.  The second race started at noon and it was decided to do something different - finish with a “Gut Buster”.  Ten mark roundings in 8 miles.  It was considered by the competitors the absolute highlight race.  Spinnaker packers were exhausted, and everyone was smiling.  Prizegiving was on time at 3.30pm with everyone in the bar at least one hour beforehand.  Good for the bar takings…..

Paul commented that one of the five start lines could have been better because he misjudged the tide as it turned.  But feed back on the ragatta was very positive with sailors commenting that they especially enjoyed: 

  • being kept informed on the radio
  • being given tide information on the line
  • Paul managing to keep the day moving along with no hanging about
  • the accuracy of the courses
  • the “Gut Buster”
  • the weather (but Paul claims no credit for that!)

Feedback to RORC on the regatta included the following:

An excellent weekend and Paul Jackson and his team did a great job especially with their on the water communication.

Race management is an issue on the east coast, these guys did a great job and should be model for others to follow.

© SolentXtra 2012