2006 Hamble Winter Series – Race 1 – Report from With Alacrity
With more than half the crew having not sailed on With Alacrity before this was always going to be a tricky race to open the Winter Series but everyone pulled together and we sailed the boat pretty well with only one embarassing moment as the spinnaker wrapped around the forestay on a gybe which was sorted out reasonable quickly.
Unfortunately, spending more time concentrating on what was going on inside the boat meant less time looking out of the boat and lead to a series of average to poor tactical decisions, and in this fleet you need better than average to get in amongst the top 3. The start was typical of our day as we were 4 boat lengths behind the line when the gun went, in itself not a disaster but we continued the habit of dropping boat lengths all around the race course.
The Southerly wind was quite unstable dropping to 8 knots for a while and peaking at 15 knots later in the race. Up the first beat we stayed out on starboard tack to keep the last of the east going tide but missed the wind bend (along with more pressure?) nearer the island shore which Light picked up to jump up to second place. On the second beat we learnt from our mistake and headed towards the island on port, but this time we went too far and as the wind shifted in our favour we finished the beat reaching into the mark. On the penultimate beat the tide had set into to west but much weaker than we thought so again we needlessly overstood the layline by 4 or 5 boat lengths. On the last beat we determinedly tacked up towards the white fleet finish line before we realised our finish was a half mile further on (don’t say we were the only people to do this?) and by that time we had joined Persephone and Light in overstanding the finish.
Festina Lente were pushed a few times by Persephone and Light but I don’t think ever lost the lead, Persephone sailed a very determined race to see off Light for second place. We had a good scrap with Premier Cru all the way round and in the end were happy to hang on for a 4th place finish in another very enjoyable days racing.