With Alacrity – 2006 Hamble Winter Series Race 2
Nine expectant and enthusiastic people climbed on board With Alacrity at 8.45 Sunday morning determined to get out early for some practice and turn around our winter series fortunes only to discover all the batteries were as flat as the proverbial pancake. A distinctly unpleasant eggy smell emanating from the bilges that for once could not be blamed on the skippers bacon sandwich breakfast lead us to conclude after an hour of tinkering that one of the cells had failed leaving a distinct sulphur smell and flattening all connected batteries. Somewhat concerning that the engine start battery died as well as we foolishly thought that leaving the battery isolating switch set to ‘off’ would….well, isolate the batteries but evidently not.
After a short crew conference and a quick call to Persephone asking if they could keep an eye on us we decided to go sailing anyway without the assistance of an engine and we made it to the start line with a few minutes to spare.
Perhaps the morning entertainment was not ideal preparation for the race but that is no excuse for another poor start as we were well behind the line as the gun went and immediately forced to tack off for clear air. By the time we had tacked back onto Starboard and worked our way inshore where we wanted to be we were already a long way behind Festina Lente and far enough behind Persephone and Light to be no more than interested observers of the battle for second place.
We set about trying to reel in the leaders but with Premier Cru close and Dragonfly always threatening we had to work hard get ahead and stay in front of them. This race was all about the windward legs and each time we went inshore convinced there was a slight tidal advantage and wind bend inshore, each time we slipped a little further behind the leading three. We fared better downwind but not enough to compensate for the windward legs.
On one of the last windward legs we saw Persephone stuck hard aground on the Bramble bank and eventually having to use their engine to get off, a real shame as they had been sailing a great race in second place at the time.
So we ended with a lucky third place on another fantastic days sailing in 15 knots of breeze and sunshine. The sail back to the pontoon was uneventful despite a visiting yacht who thoughtfully parked right in the middle of a 40 metre space on the pontoon leaving a gap to sail into that was slightly trickier than we had hoped for !