Forethought 2007 log
This is now the story of year 11 of owning a
GK24. This years problems include finally tracing down the leak that
has always been there. It turns out that the P bracket on the propellor
shaft is corroded , de-zinced and has a crack around it through to the
interior of the lamination around the p-bracket inside the hull.
Water seeps out all the time.
For the first time ever we got stormbound in East Cowes Marina, on a
night when the Cowes Yacht Haven had loose boats and pontoons, and a
yacht broke free off
Yarmouth and went on to the breakwater. We took the ferry home,
went to see the Sound of Music at the Palladium, came back two days
later and took Forethought home.
Round The Island Race 2007 : A New Hope
This is the story of a better Round the Island than last year.
The decision was made to go with one fewer crew than last time, but
intending to stay over in Cowes afterwards . As it turned out only
three of us stayed in Cowes over the Saturday night.
Mike James : me on helm and mainsheet
Steve Sims : weight and enthusiasm, cockpit
Duncan Hobbs : prior knowledge, cockpit
Les Starkie : foredeck and cockpit.
Our preparation included sending Duncan off on the Industry
Sailing Challenge where they went the wrong way so did not do so
well. This information was used to define the right way as being
We used a gliding website to provide three hourly wind forecasts which turned out to be accurate 24 hours ahead.
I had also taken my copy of the tidal stream atlas and photocopied it
so the pages were in order which made it much easier to find than
folding out the real book. Then a chance conversation with some members
of Hamble River about a good way to go 'on the beat take the Island
side or the Mainland side but not in the middle with the chopped up
wind from other boats'. As for Malcolm Donald we just said we
would follow him ....
We know that being a slow boat, we needed to make extra sure our wind was clear while racing. This was to be important.
The pre start 0500-0630
I slept on the boat so as to be ready. At 0400 I was woken by
'Woah , woah , woah , BANG !'. Somebody else, somewhere else
At 0430 I officially woke up and began to prepare.
I took the boat in to the public pontoon at Hamble, where Malcolm
Donald was also picking up a crew member. We said good morning and then
with crew on board we set off for the line.
Start to Needles (planning)
On the way out we had traditional bacon rolls and cups of tea. We
discovered a pleasant breeze that was as usual a couple of forces lower
than reality because of the boats already upwind of us. Looking at the
West Brambles ODM we could see large bunches of boats fighting for what
looked like the best line at the windward end of the line. Based on
experience of avoiding the best end of the line if it is crowded, we simply set ourselves up to start half way down the line
also on starboard, because the wind was clear and the tide tends more
directly west rather than southwest at the W. Bramble buoy.
gun went and we were behind one or two boats but with clear air. We
kept watching the Speed Over Ground on the GPS and the feel of
the wind on the boat. Every time the SOG dropped on the southwest bound
tack we would go onto port and head northwest usually until the wind
started dropping as we came into the shadow of the rest of the fleet.
Then back onto starboard and so on. At this point we crossed tacks with
the GK24 Skallywag who were doing much the same. It was useful
benchmarking against them. All the way down, the tide was with us
and fairly strong.
At one stage we passed the Tide 28 sailing on its side with a reef in
their main making amazing leeway as they shot from windward to leeward
as we approached from astern on the same tack. I commented that someone
had crossed the Atlantic in it. There was nobody on the rail on the
Tide 28. Then we started crossing tacks with boats that had started ten
minutes earlier. We also started seeing boats that had started 10
At Hurst Narrows we stood out into the fastest tide in the deepest
water. We were doing 9.2 knots SOG in 126 feet of water through Hurst
Narrows. It turned out that we had judged the layline for the Needles
correctly . Without tacking once and only occasionally pinching up to
push bigger faster boats through our lee, we laid the Needles. A long
line of boats following the safety instructions were going wide outside.
As we got there, Malcolm Donald on Love in A Mist was just cutting
inside the wreck all by himself. We went the same way (I think I have
been through the gap about 12 times or so) keeping close to the
lighthouse (about a lighthouse height) on a track towards St
Catherines Point, 13 miles away. Looking back another 20 or so
boats decided we knew where we were going and followed suit. Some went
quite wide ... Looking back, Skallywag was amongst those coming through
in the next 5 minutes.
Needles to St Cats (consistency and planning)
Then round the edge of the bay missing the big rock in the middle and
not quite under the cliffs towards Freshwater Bay. We knew from
experience (Duncan reminding us to go in as go out did not pay),
Malcolm's track, and the tide chart that there was less
tide inshore and further round by the ledges there would be a fair tide
eddy . Malcolms big white spinnaker was clearly visible as he went away
from us. Our spinnaker just is not that big relative to the size of
Having the Folkboat fleet come through on the same track was
additional confirmation of our choice. The Skallies came the same way
gradually overhauled us. We fiddled with our spinnaker , flying it a
bit higher, and then they stopped pulling away from us and held level.
Out to sea there was a big black cloud but it did not
provide any wind to those offshore . We could see how we were moving up
the inside of the fleet.
Steve provided pot noodles and a cup of tea. I was spinnaker
trimming as I had the darkest shades on and the sun was actually
shining in my eyes at this point. We got hotter and hotter. By St Cats
we were on a very close reach. Skallywag had their spinnaker flapping a
bit more often than we seemed to.
St Cats to Dunnose Head (who are these idiots ? )
We sailed off Ventnor where we were able to be seen by Les's girlfriend Anna who had come over to watch the racing.
We caught up with and sailed alongside Skallywag for a while ,
discussing if they could come over and use our toilet as this appeared
to be a problem over there. All the time we could see how we were
pushing closer to the shore where we couldnt overtake them. So we
"broke cover", crash gybed and wrapped the spinnaker round the forestay
genoa hanks making a fairly large split. The sail was slightly
clammy and I could not manage to stick repair tape to it while it was
Dunnose Head to Bembridge (the idiots fix the sail)
We took the holed spinnaker down as the hole began to grow and put up
the 28 year old Arun Sails/Westerly original stripy stocking material
which is totally stretchy and misshapen. It was also very small and the
boat rolled around like crazy. This wasnt helped by a minor argument
breaking out as frustration set in on deck. So I got out the damaged
turned on the Webasto heater and dried the part of the sail with the
damage. I could then stick repair tape to the sail and we were able to
re-hoist the sail. We had lost a lot of ground and found
ourselves surrounded by other GK24's . In the distance we could see the
Skallies spinnaker and so we followed them. We began to be
determined to catch them. We realised that the race can be lost from
the forts to Cowes. Its usually where we come unstuck.
We saw the first of the tail end of the Sunsail fleet by this
stage. The spinnaker logos indicated we were approaching a danger zone.
Bembridge to Ryde Sands
The wind had increased by Bembridge Ledge and as we dropped the
spinnaker we were on an extremely exciting white sail reach. Again we
could see the Skallies were not so far ahead . We could see they were
being overpowered in the gusts and slowing down. It needed
coordination between the helm and the mainsheet trimmer . As I was
doing both the coordination was quite good. We generally managed to
keep going fast up to the first of the red piles off Ryde Sands. The adrenaline cut back in. We were hunting them down.
Ryde Sands to Cowes
The Skallies went slightly too far over the edge of the sand, bore away
and then sailed off into the melee. We kept on going back to the edge
of the sands using grounded boats as markers and keeping in clear wind
. Suddenly we saw the Skallies way off to leeward. We tried to avoid
tacking for starboard tack boats but ducked them instead.
We followed round Ryde sands but then decided to go for Cowes. We could
see Needle Work anothe HRSC boat down to leeward. At some point they
must have realised that they had gone too far out into the tide, tacked
back intowards the Island from the middle of the channel and just
crossed our bows. We held on the same course, apparently laying Castle
Point for a few more minutes then I noticed the SOG had gone from
4.5 knots (about 0.5 knots of foul tide) down to 3.8 knots as we sailed
into the deep water. We tacked inshore but then we were way behind
Needle Work. Chocolate chip muffins came out and were eaten and large
bits of muffin dropped. More than once I slipped on a bit of chocolate.
One tack and again we could lay Castle Point.
The wind built to the limit for full sail in nasty gusts as Beken came
over and took some shots of us. Quite a few in fact, and some nice
Somewhere before the line we heard Chuckles Too (masthead rigged GK24) report a dismasting.
As we approached the point the wind went more Northerly and we
had to tack once more. We ended up too close to the point and we
ran out of wind and slowed down. We were then passed by several
boats. One large boat put us about and we went back in towards the
shore at the point . We tacked back onto a lay line for the finishing
barge, on port tack. As starboard tackers threatened to cross our
track, I pinched up to slow slightly and gain more ground to windward ,
then the duck astern was fairly small. So we held our track through the
chaos. Up to windward of us we saw a port and starboard collision
incident, and there was an increasing pile up of larger boats just
behind us. But none of them was going fast enough to roll over us , but
it made dropping sails after the finish line fairly exciting as we had
to hold our course with the engine on full while they spread out.
We then went into the harbour at Cowes. Chuckles Too, the only IRC GK24
entered the harbour with half a mast and somebody holding it up.
We went past the chain ferry vaguely heading for East Cowes when we saw
a gap about the size of a GK24 where we were able to tie
up alongside Googleeye on E pontoon.
A long wait for the water taxi then ensued. We gave up,
had a snack and then queued for an hour again for the water taxi. We
eventually. As we arrived it started to rain very hard. We sheltered
under the arches by the ferry terminal , eating fish and chips from the
chipshop across the street. We then met Nigel , a motor boat owner work
colleague, his young Labrador dog and his friend. On finding all the
'yottie' pubs full we went into the Vectis Tavern where we managed to
get seats by the door. People were making the most of only having a few
days left to fill the pub with smoke. The dog was definitely a way of
breaking the ice, though when it threw up its dinner in neat little
piles on the floor, it was a bit less popular.
The pub served Ventnor Bitter, a real ale I remembered from student
days as Burt's Bitter. I had about 5 pints as it was so tasty.
Five Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)
Going back was an exhibition of several facts and observations
CE markings provide realistic estimates of the carrying capacity of a boat.
Alcohol intake is a bad way of re-adjusting estimates of the carrying capacity of a boat.
Prescription sunglasses are not a good idea at 2330.
Mobile phones make feeble all round white lights.
Inflatable tenders look bigger in the sunshine on the back of a motor boat.
Labrador retrievers make heavy lap dogs.
We now also know why they hand out nice tankards for finishing the RTI. They make excellent bailers.
We had to stop by the chain ferry to empty out the water. Nigel lost
his prescription shades somewhere here. We crawled onto the nearest bit
of E pontoon, soaking wet from all the water slopping around. The dog
tried to join us but stayed in the dinghy. He was the only one with dry
feet as he sat on Steve's lap all of the time we were in the dinghy.
I think I thanked Nigel for an enjoyable near-death experience.
After we returned the river taxis started belting up and down the
river. We probably would have been unable to complete the voyage up the
Medina with all of the chop.
P Bracket Replacement
The story will go here
Page © Mike James 2 Nov 2007
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