The Colin Archer Memorial Race

There would be four class starts and we would be the third, we left our berth at 1800 and milled around trying to find the marks for the start line but having to keep clear of the class starters in front of us, we never did find one of the marks, but with the sense of urgency building were swept along with the flow, BANG! And we were off. Not a great start but one which put us on the starboard tack at the right time as we tacked out of the channel and into the open sea and with light winds it was time to unfurl the zero and made encouraging progress and we pass Stag and Xouse, an X362.As the wind builds it goes forward enough to force a change to the genoa and the visibility decreases, we are passing a huge wind farm, which is only just visible, we are well pleased with our position, as Insomnix is just to port, the guard ship Aquarius calls most of the fleet up to inform them that there is an exclusion zone bounded by a cardinal buoy, we hardened up even more to be able to lay the buoy. The race instructions were that we must maintain 500 metres from the wind farm, a massively shorter distance than rounding the buoy! We sailed around the buoy and lost contact with some of the fleet. With the decrease in visibility we are both on watch.

As daylight comes, the fog lifts and encouragingly we can now see the lights of other yachts, once again we unfurl the zero which we carry as long as possible until the gusty conditions force us to change to the genoa, by mid day on Sunday we have 23knots on the beam and with a building sea and the autopilot playing up, we are forced to hand steer once again. The wind has eased to 16 knots and we are making good progress but it’s challenging, with the wind and the seas on the beam and the lack of sleep is not helping.

A big ship heading straight for us, calls up and asks “What are your intentions?” Emma was in no mood for banter and after a quick reminder we are a sailing yacht and the appropriate collision regulation “We are altering course immediately mam” came the reply!

As the wind eases a little, its back to the code zero for the next four hours. We are on the same parallel as the Lymfjords and the fishing boats increase for a while and we soon enter the Skagerrak with only 123miles to go. The wind increases once again but goes slightly aft of the beam, we hoist the asymmetric and transfer onto the pole, we are now flying along, on the very edge of control and after a rounding up a couple of times, decide to drop the kite but we round up again and the spinnaker sheet decided to trip its self, which resulted in being flogged half to death whilst trying to get it back under control! By midnight we have covered 170 mile in the last 24 hour period.

 The squally conditions have passed and we both get some rest as we resume our watch system. Morning finds us making very steady progress under our biggest kite as we across a TSS, ahead is Xquose the X362, we frequently catch them until they once again pull away in the fluky conditions, this duel carries on for the next four hours, until neither of us can no longer fly the kites, out comes the code zero again and we cream past them, leaving them in our wake. God I love that sail!

Land ahoy!! And the finish is in sight, yachts are appearing from all angles but we notice that the yachts closer to the land are struggling against the tide and stand on well past the finish line, before turning and furling the zero and hoisting the big kite for the final drift over the line which we crossed at 0950 after racing a total of 387 mile