Kindred Spirit Race report 25/10/09 Perfect conditions greeted us for what was to be our first winter series race of the year, due to the cancellation the week before. Although the weather forecast for the Solent was promising force 4-5, at the top end of the Hamble at Deacons it was very calm, as always. We decided to rig for number one but with one eye on the weather. We were short crewed with seven (typical as the week before in no wind we had 9) so early on made the switch to the number two in Southampton water. We also set the rig for heavy weather, which gave our Navigator turned Bow for the day a chance to test the watertight integrity of his new Musto gear and Dubarry’s. Very good apparently! And half an hour from the start we decided we should reef the main as it was getting a bit lively. Good length start line and although committee boat end favoured we decided to go for clear air and stay out of trouble. We thought we were right on the line at full speed when the gun went so very pleasing. However, we had lost sight of the committee boat, blanketed by a number of other Sigma’s and 105’s. One or two were defiantly ahead of us. Gallant had made a good start just to windward and with a full crew carried a full main. We were very pleased to be puling ahead of her. Our plan was to tack onto port as soon as we had a clear lane. All above us had the same plan so we went just above Gallant. With Alacrity and Light were both ahead but we were clearly gaining on Light and holding With Alacrity. Our multi tasking Nav/Bow had suggested we continue west until we could cross Bramble bank just inside the pole. On approaching the windward mark we were a close fourth I think, as Rapscallion had come out of nowhere and Light just held us off. We had decided to play it safe down wind as our Nav was not the only one out of position. We set for Port pole and a late white sail gybe onto the lay line thus avoiding any wild down hill gybes in an increasing wind. Persephone had rounded the windward mark just behind us and I knew Nigel would have a good downwind leg, especially with a full main. They did indeed round the leeward mark just in front of us having pulled off a nice windward spinnaker drop. As we approached the mark from wide a gust hit and we did not get the main out quick enough to get round the mark so we ducked inside and after tacking came out behind Gallant and Marta. Expensive leg! Wind had now increased and I did see a couple of gusts of 30 knots. We held onto both Marta and Gallant on this leg and played it safe again by fast reaching across on starboard before gybing so we could make the mark on Port. Marta had gone very deep and we got to the leeward mark ahead of her and just behind Gallant. We set up our headsail far tighter for the run into the shortened course line, especially as the Solent chop was increasing as the race went on. The crew however were doing a very good job of sheltering their skipper from the worst of it. Good chaps. We were right in Gallants bad air but clearly gaining so decided to go for clear air and tacked onto Port. As we tacked onto our final leg we looked good on Gallant and they did cross clear behind. The crew were hiking for their lives and had no idea what I was shouting at them, nothing new there then...Just on the line we got caught by a 33 on Starboard so threw in a quick tack, too quick as most of the crew got wet feet. Anyway we quickly recovered and managed to keep our position ahead of Marta and Gallant. Great team effort! We had a great days sailing and would like to thank Hamble sailing club committee for setting a great course, all the other Sigma’s for a great turn out and some close racing, With Alacrity and Rapscallion who may have been OCS, but we know where we have to aim…high and to Susan of Light and Nigel, Persephone for their post race congrats. You can blame Nigel for the long winded report from a Kindred Spirit perspective as he suggested it.