Twenty-eight intrepid solo skippers set off from Cowes yesterday in sparkling sunshine and a 15 knot SWly breeze for the start of the 2018 edition of the soloFASTNET race.
The Class 2 start was particularly memorable for a cruising boat who was merrily heading towards the shore at Gurnard under a cruising chute, needing to gybe onto port to avoid the beach, when they suddenly realised they were right on the start line with 16 highly competitive class two boats heading towards them with right of way.
Meanwhile Nigel Colley avoided the chaos to get a near perfect start in strong tide at the buoy.
After champagne sailing the fleet were in for a tough night – as forecast, the wind died as the tide turned and by 2300 most of the fleet could be seen going in circles on the yellowbrick tracker. A large North-South split developed, and initially the boats in the North were favoured as the wind died sooner in the South, but the tables were turned when the boats in the South picked up the new breeze first and started moving.
Ian Hoddle had an anxious moment on Game On when his pilot failed with the boat barrelling along under spinnaker in 20 knots of wind. Ian grabbed the helm before working out a fix – lashing the helm prior to doing an emergency spinnaker drop involving a broach and a gybe, before rebooting the pilot and rehoisting his smaller red spinnaker.
Regular updates on the race will be posted at facebook.com/sorcsolo/ while the boats can be tracked on the Yellowbrick tracker app.
by Deb Fish