The JP Morgan Round the Island 2013 was another fantastic day on the water for PYC. With Lucy and team aboard Southern Child and Christian with a team on El Ocaso it was sure to be a close race and some fun.
The weather on the day was fabulous with far more wind than the forecasts had predicted and glorious sunshine all day long. After a practice day on the Friday in very light winds, Saturday 0345 alarm call came around fairly quickly. A stunning sky greeted us all as the sun rose and we headed out to the start area. At 0500 the race started with a brisk Northerly wind sending us West on a reach. El Ocaso and team established an early lead on Southern Child but were unable to keep up with Leopard (the 100’ maxi yacht…). As we started to bear away after passing Gurnard, Southern Child hoisted her Code 0 and promptly picked up speed and within about 20 minutes had pulled ahead of El Ocaso. Not quite broad enough for the reaching A sail, the team on El O were forced to just watch as SC sailed away!
At the needles SC and team had some spinnaker problems and El O capitalized on this, gybing inside and heading off down the back of the Island. The reach aboard El O was spectacular – hitting 14 and 15 knots in the stiff Northerly breeze and beautiful sunshine. SC played a good tactical move and headed inshore for less tide which eventually paid as by the time they reached St Catherine’s Point, the boats were only about 300m apart. A 2 sail reach from St Catherine’s to Bembridge before hardening up on to a beat required real concentration from the trimmers to maximise speed and rounding Bembridge there was only a very small distance of about 150m between El O and SC. Christian and team were focussed on staying ahead of the team on Southern Child and carefully plotted a course inshore out of the tide on the beat into and back down the Solent. El O sailed beautifully upwind and managed to stay ahead of SC and eventually finished 7 minutes ahead in a finish time of 6h59m dead.
Both crews arrived ashore with rosie faces and SC crew brought over the victory beers for the El O crew. Some Pimms and snacks onboard the yachts parked together in the marina followed to make a very relaxing afternoon.
A thoroughly brilliant weekend with wonderful crews – First Class!!