04 Nov Nab Tower Race
Saturday 29th Feb, 7 I14s gathered for the their annual Nab tower race.
Weather conditions looked ideal; a bright sunny morning and 10 knots SW. So would this be the first race in 4 years that the class reached the fabled fort?
The sailing instructions described three course options to account for the the wind direction. With the SW blowing it was Plan B; Leg 1 from Hayling Island SC, to the Horse Sands fort; basically think Southsea, Leg Two from the Horse sands fort, to the Nab Tower, and the final leg from there back home.
With the fleet split between those launching at Itchenor and Hayling, a feeder race to Hayling gave the Itchenor boats a gentle warm up and chalked up some additional. The race for real started between the safety rib, and SW pilsey, Douglas Pattisson and Mark Tait took an early lead going for a start to leward of the pack but with clearer wind from the K6’s who shared the same line, followed out the channel by Charles Duschene & Louise, with Andy and Tom Partington chasing hard. By the Bar Beacon, the Doug and Mark lead a fast approaching Andy and Tom, then Charlie and Louise followed by Damon and Alan Roberts.
The race to the Hill Sand fort was like any other except it was; all up wind, rather longer than usual, and a rather better opportunity to test boat speed than normal. Deciding where to tack was driven by the usual; tide and wind (which was particularly fickle) and the unusual; total loss of circulation in a leg (from being on one tack for too long) to looking upwind and seeing a continual line of breaking waves.
At the fort Doug and mark had held their lead having had a good race with Andy and Tom, Rollo Pyper and Richard Dobson had put their bow down to power through to third, followed home by the Damon and Alan.
Following a relaxing break at the solent land mark, waiting for the support Ribs and the fleet of K6’s, we were somewhat colder having felt the effects of the sun disappearing, wetter from the increasing breeze and ensuing swims. An impromptu change of course back to go directly back to the Harbour was decided apon; it lay directly down hill, avoiding a potentially processional reach to the Nab.
The race home restarted at first go direectly downhill, great rides over the increasingly lumpy solent. The Drag race was on with Charlie and Louise leading the charge on the high line and Doug and Mark trying to sneak by on a low line. By the time the fleet gybed, consensus was that we’d all overcooked it with everyone swinging down to their knots hanging on by their toenails. Approaching the Haying seafront however the wind started lifting and further gybes were needed, Charlie and Louise showed excellent pace, to pull ahead of the pack, however Damon and Allan had other ideas, having gone for a later gybe in the solent to snatch the lead coming into the bar beacon. The race was still far from over. With both the two leading boats dropping their kites at the beacon, Douglas & Mark continued to carried theirs, by the time they had to drop they had taken the lead, only to be shown how it’s done properly by Andy & Tom who continued to carry theirs much further, sailing past the fleet who were desperately re-hoisting. On arrival at the HISC line, Andy and Tom lead to take the event, followed by Doug and Mark who snuck past Damon and Alan under the lea of the lifeboat station. To take second and third overall respectively.
So the 14’s still failed to get to the Nab tower, but had some great racing in the process. Some serious thanks are needed for the Race Officers/rescue crew who had to sit and watch from a small rib (caroline, Liz and Martin) – not the most comfortable place to be!