Latest News: Forums Cruising Ilse of Wight Circumnavigation 2010

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    Well this was my first ever UKWA cruising event and I must say that I enjoyed it very much. The fact that we did not achieve the ultimate aim was a shame, but not the end of everything.

    John, Jenny, and the many other volunteers prepared and organised the event exceptionally well and the just because the weather refused to be organised was no fault of theirs. The passage plan had included the abandonment of the event if the there was a forecast with any force 6 in it. That is what we got and so the event was abandoned and it was exactly the right decision. As others have said before: one of the bravest decisions that you can make is not to go if conditions are against one.

    Rob Golding and I had sailed from Hayling to Calshot during Friday to join the rest of the fleet. We had a cracking, but windy sail including a 20+knot gusty reach (one reef) across the solent to Calshot fully loaded with cruising gear and still managing to get the barge planing most of the way. The briefing and safety checks at Calshot that evening were thorough and delivered in a very friendly manner. There was always a fear that the event would have to be cancelled as it had been last year, due to the forecast and after the early forecast on Saturday the circumnavigation was called off at 0630 and the alternative sail up to the river Itchen at Southampton and back was put into action. we did not take part in this as we had already decided to sail back to Hayling and during that passge the decision not to circumnavigate was reinforced. We set off with the same sail plan of one reef and full genoa as the previous day, but quite soon the first of several squalls hit us and we decided that even putting in another reef might be insufficient and therefore we dropped the mainsail altogether, carrying on under genoa alone. We were still making 5-6 knots and I discovered later from Bramblemet that those squalls peaked at 35 knots. Just imagine what effect that would have had on a fleet of Wayfarers in open sea conditions, wind against tide SW of the Isle of Wight! In the Solent the Commodores Cup final race was taking place and we passed below their leeward mark, I saw two 40ft+ boats broach badly, one broken mast, three spinnakers lost and there was an air sea rescue for a head injury that we listened to on the VHF. We sailed on slightly slower that we might have done, but safely and blessing the sturdiness of the Wayfarer.

    Thank you John and Jenny and all the others for all the effort that you put into this event. It was bad luck and must be disheartening to have to abandon for a second year, but everyone was fully behind your decision. It was great to meet the rest of the fleet too. I shall be back to try again. See you next year?

    Best wishes, John

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