Monday, August 18, 2014

JP's first yacht race - Part 3: The Vote

In my experience it is not helpful when during a yacht race your navigator is so seasick he goes below for a rest and then gets himself locked in a cabin.

He got our attention by lots of banging and luckily your average Sunsail fleet yacht is not so robust that its cabin doors can't be broken down by well intentioned force.

We weren't doing that well: on the long leg from St. Catherine's lighthouse down to the Needles we'd dropped down to second from last, but we'd eventually turned the corner and were sailing back into the Solent.

It was dark already and we hadn't even completed a single circuit of the island by reaching the start near the forts. The second lap would be in the dark and cold.

The VHF was hopping between C16 and whatever the race channel was and it squawked into life: it appeared that one yacht hadn't gone round the mark near Lymington.

This was all news to me: as lowly ballast I had no ideas about marks - surely if you're racing around the Isle of Wight that is enough instructions?

The navigator, however, looked even more sick than normal: uh-oh.

It appeared we had a choice:

  1. Turn back to Lymington, go round the mark, then sail for hours and hours through the cold dark night to an almost guaranteed last place
  2. Retire and just make last orders at a pub near Gunwharf Quays

There was a vote of all on board and it was unanimous.

So we had a pint then returned to Port Solent for a good night's rest and a hot shower.

Best of all, the next day I could have a proper breakfast.

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