The Cloudy Bay Round the Island Race 1st July in the UK

Thank you to William Newton for this report: This year in Class 2B (48 entries), 10 J/105s were competing including one French boat, Job d’ete. The total entry was 1,342 boats, of which 1,207 finished. Our start was at 0620hrs, marginally better than the first start at 0530hrs. The wind was NW 18 knots, but forecast to decrease. Starting with several other classes, we were one of the largest starts so the fetch from the line reduced the chance of any incidents. With a good breeze and the tide with us, the leg to the Needles lighthouse was fast. The big decision at the Needles is always do you go between the lighthouse and the remains of the Varvassi, or outside? The J/105 Jester didn’t quite get it right, taking the inside route, and clipped the side of the wreck, but fortunately was able to continue. From the Needles to St. Catherine’s lighthouse, it was a run, however with the wind coming off the Island, tricky if you sailed too close to the Island to avoid the foul tide. At this stage, Jin Tonic was the leading J/105 offshore, with Jelly Baby inshore and the chasing pack of J/105s close behind. At St. Catherine’s, the wind headed us so it was predominantly a beat to Bembridge ledge. At Bembridge, the tide was against us and the wind decreasing, not ideal for the 105s. Short tacking along Ryde sands, the shallows were clearly marked with the odd competitor firmly aground. Very helpful! As we approached Osborne bay, Jin Tonic had moved ahead of the chasing pack, and the race between the 105s Jelly Baby, Redeye, Jazz and Jos started, much to the delight of the cheering spectator boats in Osborne Bay. Positions changed frequently, with Jelly Baby bouncing off one rock. Rounding the point, the unfortunate Jazz went too close to the shore, ran aground and was unable to continue. The wind had now dropped to 5 knots, and combined with the foul tide, crossing the correct finish line was extremely difficult with boats coming from all directions. The finishing order for the J/105 fleet was Jin Tonic, Jelly Baby, Redeye, Jos and Job d’ete, with Jin Tonic finishing second overall in Group 2. It was great to have 10 boats competing, and the design still proving competitive under IRC.

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