On Sunday 27th June 46 boats set out from Blackwater Sailing Club on a cool grey afternoon to take part in the annual Round the Islands races. 40 entered the main dinghy race around Osea and Northey Islands and 6 the short course around Northey. The entry fee was a donation to the RNLI and much to the delight of local Vice Chairman, Ken Harrison, we raised a fantastic £348.50 for our local lifeboat stations.
The 23 medium handicap boats started first in a brisk force 4-5 north easterly breeze with a short beat against the spring tide to Millbeach which helped spread the fleet out. A tight port fetch to Osea was too close for most to fly their spinnakers. The 17 fast handicap boats started 20 minutes after the medium and the chase for on. As the fleet approached Osea pier it became a beat with challenging shifty gusts which caught some out, particularly those who stayed close to the shore to keep out of the flood tide. Round the eastern tip of Osea the wind was gusting force 6 causing a lumpy swell as the leaders enjoyed an exhilarating reach along the northeast coast of Osea with the ultra-fast boats now overtaking the medium. The strengthening wind and the challenging cross swell caused a number of capsizes which continued as the fleet bore away onto a run towards Northey and kept the rescue boats busy. While passing south of Northey, some sailed too close to land mistaking tufts of grass as safe water only to impale themselves on Northey in 12 inches of water! As the fleet approached the southwest of Northey the fireballs and other fast boats were powering through onto the beat up the Northey shore to the finish.
It was great to see such a large fleet of boats out on the river in pretty challenging conditions and bodes well for our upcoming Cadet and Club week. Congratulations to Charlie Dixon who raced his foiling windsurfer round the course in a new record time of 38 minutes, but he couldn’t beat the Viper and the Spitfire on corrected time. Well done to cadet Theo Aers who skilfully sailed his full rig laser to 8th place and was the first medium handicap boat. Well done to the 6 brave young cadets and the short course fleet captain who battled their way round Northey on the short course.
Thanks to the race team, all the safety boat crews and the ramp helpers who helped make this such a successful race while raising money for the RNLI.
Round the Islands - dinghies:
1st Neil McCulloch and Jane Arnold - Viper – Jubilee Goblet
2nd Marcus Wallace and Abbie Wallace - Spitfire - Vincett Wings trophy
3rd Mark Maskell and Nigel Sheppard - Fireball
1st Jessica Welch - Optimist
2nd Luca Batley - Tera
3rd Optimist – Callum Marshall
For the full results visit the race results page
Photos © Zoe Nelson