Round the Island Race 2017.

Published by xyoaadmin on

With ideal conditions, some 1300+ boats took on the challenge of the Round the Island Race on Saturday 1st July. Among them were a significant number of X-Yachts, many of whose owners are members of the X-Yachts Owners Association.  Some most excellent results were posted by our members. Notably, the best placed member was Peter and Sarah Hodgkinson in their X-362 "Xcitable" who were 1st in Class and top Association member in the IRC class. In ISC, member David Murray in his X-50 "Touche" was first in class and also won the Family class and took with it a nice trophy.

Here below, is a report of the day's events as seen by Xcitable and the X-Yachts IRC results

Round the Island Xpress.

The Round the Island Race is the most popular yacht race in the world attracting 1500 plus competitors ever year. The reasons for this are numerous: it is challenging but reasonably safe; it is well organised and managed; it is complex and a long distance in daylight and it is highly competitive allowing every competitor to benchmark their performance against the best.  There are also many prizes and trophies for all classes and types of sailing boat which gives every competitor a realistic opportunity to win.

The race always has a large contingent of X-Yachts not just from UK but travelling from all over Europe for the opportunity to win the coveted X-Yachts Trophy.

This is the diary of one of these, “Xcitable” an X-362 Sport which is raced regularly in the Solent and even after 17 year is still highly competitive, winning not just the X-Yachts Solent Cup but Cowes week races, many club regattas and the IRC Solent Championships. The yacht is constantly updated and maintained, recent editions include 3DI carbon sails designed by Norths and a new battery to drive the navigation and tactical system from Seatrack. Expectations were high for a good result.

The drawback to the RTIR is the start time of 06.20 means an alarm call at 03.30 to get from the Hamble to the start line in time to hoist the sails, catch a trim and practice a start in between the melee of yachts, milling around in the early half-light, trying to do the same thing. This really wakes us up and gets the adrenalin running. At ten minutes to go the line is ours to play with and we stooge up and down as close as possible making final assessments of tide and wind and starting and first leg tactics. 10 seconds to go and we accelerate towards the line on a fast reach, the foredeck crew calls the line and the skipper ignores him! There is always “line sag” to be taken into account and foredecks are usually a little cautious. The cannon fires from the Royal Yacht Squadron and we are off. “Line clear” comes over the radio followed by a huge sigh of relief. We are in front, the new sails are performing brilliantly and the crew are awake, enthusiastic, working hard and committed to a good race. In 15 knots of wind on a fast reach we are making 8 knots and with 2-3 knots of tide speeding us on our way we are flying towards the first turning point at the Needles. It takes 55 minutes to cover 10 miles, which must be some sort of record, and we prepare for the next leg. We worked out a plan the day before and stuck to it, passing the Needles and sailing 500m offshore to avoid the patch of light wind caused by the massive line of white cliffs that dominate this part of the island. Turning quickly we hoist the spinnaker and are on the way to St Catherine’s the most southerly point of the course. We chose to tuck under the western edge of the point to take advantage of a tidal eddy which will help us past. No mistakes so far and the planning and preparation is paying off.

Close to the beach we are surrounded by other boats all with the same plan, this slows us down until we break free and round the point. Half way and on the run home. The wind, still quite strong, is curling off the hills above Ventnor making the spinnaker hard work. We change down to the asymmetric spinnaker and then down to the big jib as we transition towards Sandown bay. This offers a long run of clear air and another fast transit. We stay away from other boats which are the main obstacles from here on in. The next turn is at Bembridge Ledge Cardinal Buoy. In past years this has been the location for over 200 yachts all trying to get round at the same time - a veritable “train smash”. Luck is with us this year and only three other yachts round with us. We start the long beat against the wind and tide to get back to the finish at Cowes. The wind is perfect and the crew strong and determined; we tack through hundreds of other boats avoiding the shallow and treacherous waters around Ryde pier to stay out of the tide. We overtake larger boats that started before us. We must not make any mistakes now which could see us aground or out in the fast tide going backwards. Staying in the shallow waters around Mother Bank Spit and Peel Bank we are still making rapid progress and can see a famous win in sight.

The wind then starts to soften as we enter Osborne Bay. As we get closer to the finish the wind drops to a whisper, the tide is pushing us backwards at 3knots and we can see all our efforts vanishing on the foul current.

The last 20 minutes is the most challenging part of the race. We tack backwards and forwards searching for the puff of wind to get us over the finish line. We tack 3 times with the bow across the line knowing that the whole boat has to cross to count; another 2 tacks and we crawled across the finish line.

It was all going so well, a bit deflated, we head back to the Hamble to drown our sorrows.

The brilliant organisation of the Island Sailing Club start to put the results on line almost as soon as we finish and all is not lost.

Celebrations are on again as we find out we have won our class, come 5th in our group and 59 overall. A great result but we know we could have done a little better, so we will have to do it all again next year!

Prizes presented by Sir Keith Mills, Chairman Landrover BAR.

Can’t wait.

Xcitable Peter and Sarah Hodgkinson

RTI 2017 X-Yachts Results

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