Two Wins for Southerly in Round the Island Race

Two Wins for Southerly in Round the Island Race

21st June, 2008

The world's largest and most famous yachting race - the annual 'Round the Island Race' is one of the most popular fixtures on the Solent racing calendar. Competitors come from Europe and the USA, as well as from all over the UK, to follow the 50 mile course round the Isle of Wight. Over 1700 boats entered the race including eight Southerlys - the Southerly team were onboard the Southerly 42RST.

The Race ... by Skipper: Ben Davies ''Sailing around in one of the two designated waiting areas the Southerly 42RST and crew were powered up and ready to take on the conditions the day had presented us with - 26kts from the South West, perfect for the 42 to sail round the Island!

As we looked further up the course towards a number of the IRC boats that had started earlier we saw the conditions worsening as a line of squalls tracked across the Isle of Wight and filled the Solent with gusts up to 30kts. With this in mind we made a late call to put the first reef in. This paid off to no end, allowing us to keep the large mainsail working for us as we dug the bow in to a building swell and happily beat up towards the Needles channel.

07:30 and there was our gun, but a small boat not even in our start , was on the line forcing us over, a quick call to bear away back over the line from our bowman and we were back on the wind in an instant and powering away on starboard tack towards Gurnard. The decision to go for a pin end start had worked well, as the Southerly 42RST built speed and sailed to windward as close as 30 deg apparent in clear area and good tide. It was time for the deep draft keel to start working its magic.

As we tacked up the Solent we followed the island shore keeping in deep water to take full advantage of the ebbing tide, once we reached Yarmouth the decision was made to continue with a long beat across to the mainland shore to catch more tide as it developed off Lymington. Owen Parker's sound bit of advice paid off and before long the 42 was working her way out of the Solent and easing sails to bear away round the Needles.

As soon as the boat had settled down we had the big Gennekar on deck controlled by a single line furler making it simple and easy to deploy. Much to our bowman's displeasure who was left with relatively little to do. As the Gennekar filled and the crew concentrated hard on trimming and keeping the mainsail powered the boat surfed off the back of a now building swell reaching speeds up to 11.5 kts.

All was going perfectly, but not for long ! An ever building following sea and breeze meant that it was becoming harder to sail with the Gennekar and finally a short break of concentration and an untimely gust meant that the boat lost her way and turned up in to the wind. A broach was all we needed and too much for the Gennekar, before long the head came loose and the sail drifted away from the masthead. We had lost the halyard as the snap shackle had given way. With the wind still continuing to build past St Catherine's we carried on under white sails still sailing at a comfortable 8 kts.

The final beat demanded a last bit of effort from all to take the boat in and out of the shallows to stay out of a now flooding tide. The self tackling jib was fantastic as we tacked effortlessly and smoothly. The boat kept up speed through the tack as the jib almost sailed the boat through the wind. By this point the Southerly 42 was racing with boat in classes that had started much earlier than us and it became clear that we had a chance of doing well. Spurred on by our progress we continued to duck and dive between Starboard tackers as we took it as far out in to the tide as we felt we could and then as close to Ryde sand as we dare.

A great result for the day and one that proves the Southerly 42 truly is a beautiful sailing boat. With an elapsed time of 7:46:14. We placed a respectable first in class, second in group and twelfth overall out of a record 1750 boats.

Congratulations to Southerly 110 Summertime who also won in her class. The round the island race is a great event and hopefully next year we will see more Southerly's entered. See you there!"