Double Handed Round the Island race – just for fun!

A different island – a different boat – the last time we entered the double handed round the island race it was in Superted IV and the island was the Isle of Wight . Whilst we were in Carriacou, the talk was all about the forthcoming regatta. There was no way we were going to race ‘the boat is far too heavy, we have just filled up with fuel and water thereby adding another couple of tons and we can't tack quickly enough because of the cutter sail and we have never had the spinnaker out of the bag' says Matt. As the days wore on, the chances of us entering grew as Matt just couldn't resist a bit of racing. ‘Well as it's round the island we will only have to do one long beat so not that much tacking, there are no spinnakers allowed so we may as well do it for a bit of fun'. The skippers meeting was to be on Thursday at 17.30 sharp in the Rum Shop so off we went – not wanting to miss anything we got there a bit early along with a couple of others but of course this is island time – the meeting eventually started at around 18.30 – quite good going really! There were 3 classes – a Cruiser Class – they all had registered handicaps and generally consisted of local racing boats; the fun class which was made up of visiting boats and anyone who didn't have an official handicap and the 3 rd class – mulithulls. Instructions were given out and the chat turned to what a fun, family race the first race – the round the island one was – that's OK then.

 

Friday dawned a bit overcast but not too much wind. Our dinghy was hanging in the davits complete with outboard motor – no point in taking that off and leave the windsurfer on deck too. Up went our battle flag – Superted flies again! (if you look closely at the photo you can just see it!) There seemed to be a lot of activity amongst the boats in the anchorage and we realised that the boats which were racing were offloading their dinghies etc and some were even filling them with some of the heavier contents of their boats – so this is the fun part then I guess? Anyway off we trot to the start line – our class of around 20 boats was to start after the cruiser class of about 5 boats. As we waited around we noticed that one of the catamarans was going out ‘twenty-four handed' – there were about 12 people on board – however they were all wearing nice green matching t shirts! (Anyway someone must have protested because they did radio in and say they weren't racing but would just go round the course). The cruisers were off and we were ready to start – perfect start on the line – first over. So this was it - racing our home in a fun race! The first leg was a reach to the sisters rocks, then a long beat up the west side of the island – as we approached the sisters we overtook a couple of the cruiser class and then managed to catch up with the others as we settled into the beat – but we had a battle on with the leading boat (Swan 47 type thing) – he was to windward and pointing higher, however we were now all getting a big wind shift (header), so working in our favour. As expected the leading boat eventually tacked but due to the painfully slow tack we would make (have to furl the genoa to get it round the staysail), we decided to hang on a bit longer and take the hit. We kept going but the wind was getting up so we put a reef in the main before we also tacked – we just got the genoa out again when we were hit by a squall – couldn't see your hand in front of your face type of thing – we were completely overpressed, (this feels familiar!) and just managed to keep the windsurfer from being washed overboard! We kept going through it – me on my butt on the cockpit floor - as it passed through we saw that the other boat had tacked back out and had made quite a gain on us. Bu we had a trump card up our sleeve - maybe - the previous week we sailed up here and had got a huge lift towards the top of the island – so the plan was to go inshore, tack again and fingers crossed, pick up that lift. We kept going – this is only for fun anyway – then tacked along the shore and got a great lift up the north end of the island and ended up about half a mile ahead of the previous leader. One final tack back in to go along the north coast before bearing away down the east side leaving our next marker – the windward wreck – to starboard. The east side of the island (Atlantic Ocean) is full of reefs so if you don't know the area you have to be very careful to keep out – we managed to keep off but had great rolling seas which we were surfing down to within about 20 yards of the breaking surf on the reef – all good fun! When we looked back we saw (with difficulty!) that some of the local boats had gone on the inside of the reef but although they had a shorter distance to go they had more of a downwind sail – no big benefit! We gybed to go between Frigate and Saline Islands which just left a short beat up to Tyrrel bay and the finish line. As we approached the finish line, in full view of the committee boat, we were hit by another squall and did a spectacular broach and 360 degree spin – just for their amusement of course! So as we took the hooter we also took line honours of all 3 classes – we were quite proud of our sailing ‘home'! And guess what – much to our surprise –

we also won on corrected time! (this was supposed to be Superted flying)

 

 

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