Please select your home edition
Edition
Predictwind - Iridium

AAM Cowes Week - Remain safe without losing speed

by Robin Spring on 8 Jul 2013
Staying Safe Without Losing Speed Rick Tomlinson © http://www.rick-tomlinson.com
Rupert Holmes reviews some of the key hazards to avoid while sailing at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

While Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week has an enviable safety record, there are a number of hazards that may be encountered during the event. Perhaps the biggest of these is commercial shipping in the Solent and in the approaches to Cowes harbour and the river Medina.

The sooner you identify a ship that may be on a collision course – even if that’s on the next leg of your course – the more options you have to keep clear of it with minimal loss of time. In doing this you can therefore often gain ground on competitors that allow themselves to be forced into making big course changes at the last minute. As with any other aspect of racing, it’s the crews that keep looking around to stay in touch with changes to the big picture of what’s happening around them – both in terms of other boats in their fleet and other Solent traffic – that get the best results.

Another possibility – though a surprisingly unusual one – is becoming unexpectedly becalmed in front of a big ship. However, this is one of the rare occasions that you can use the engine during the racing, providing it’s declared at the end of the race.

Staying afloat

Given the Solent’s strong tides, there are always times at which you will need to sail in shallow water to gain relief from a strong adverse tidal stream. With the exception of Lepe Spit, most of the mainland shore is relatively gently shelving, so the depth sounder will give good warning of reducing depths, and the seabed there is generally either mud or gravel.

However, the Isle of Wight shore, particularly to the west of Cowes, has numerous rocky outcrops. Here the depth sounder may not give adequate advance warning of running out of water and grounding has the potential to be dangerous, particularly when running downwind at speed in a big wind. The Bramble Bank, a drying patch of sand and gravel in the middle of the Solent, midway between Cowes and Southampton Water also has potential to catch out the unwary, particularly towards low water.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the other aspect of staying afloat is avoiding sinking – this can be a challenge for some of the dayboat classes that don’t have buoyancy and will therefore sink if they become filled with water. It generally only manifests as a problem in very strong winds, often as the result of a broach, although one year a keelboat caught her leeward running backstay around a buoy, which then slid up towards the top of the rig, pulling the masthead down to water level as it did so. Fortunately the crew were wearing lifejackets – the boat sank within a few seconds – perhaps a salutary lesson for us all.

Avoiding injury

Fortunately, despite yacht racing taking place in a potential very hostile environment accidents are rare. The biggest dangers to crew – being hit by the boom in a gybe, trapping fingers in a winch and being washed overboard in a broach – can normally all be avoided with common sense and ensuring you’re not in the wrong place on the boat at the wrong time.

Cowes Week website
PredictWind.comZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82North Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Extreme Sailing Series – Team Oman Air promise to bounce back
Qingdao is notorious for delivering tricky conditions that can change in an instant, and that's just what happened today After almost two hours of bobbing around waiting for enough wind to allow action to commence, a solid 15-knot breeze swept over the seven-strong fleet allowing three races to be held.
Posted today at 1:35 pm
Antigua Sailing Week – 8 teams contest Nonsuch Bay RS Elite Challenge
Racing is done in two preliminary heats of three races each. The two top finishers of each heat go to the final round Racing is done in two preliminary heats of three races each. The two top finishers of each heat go to the final round, which also consists of three races. All races are approximately 15 to 20 minutes in length keeping them challenging and exciting to watch!
Posted today at 11:50 am
RYA announces new Olympic Performance Manager
The RYA is delighted to complete its World Class Programme management team with the appointment of Mark Robinson Robinson, who joins the British Sailing Team in June from a Performance Manager role at Australian Sailing, takes on the post vacated by Stephen Park OBE and will lead the world’s leading Olympic sailing nation as it continues its quest for medal success in Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
Posted today at 11:40 am
RC44 PRO earns his bucks on snakes and ladders opening day
Sotogrande, Spain laid on a tricky first day of the 2017 RC44 Championship. Sotogrande, Spain laid on a tricky first day of the 2017 RC44 Championship. Nonetheless Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio read his crystal ball well enough to stage four races on this course which uniquely has Europe, Gibraltar and North Africa as a backdrop.
Posted today at 3:57 am
North Sails - 60 years of sailmaking - 1986 12 Metre Worlds
In early 1986, a series of races were held off of Fremantle as a precursor to the 1987 America’s Cup. In early 1986, a series of races were held off of Fremantle as a precursor to the 1987 America’s Cup. Dubbed the 12 Metre World Championship, a dozen syndicates competed in what they considered a “shakedown series” to test their boats against the competition. Some of the teams had new builds, their first development boats.
Posted on 27 Apr
Heiner's consistency pays dividends in Sailing World Cup Hyères
Heiner has been one of the most reliable performers with a string of top five finishes to lead in the Finn. Out of the 534 racers from 52 nations, racing across the ten Olympic events, Foiling Formula Kiteboarding and 2.4 Norlin OD, Heiner has been one of the most reliable performers with a string of top five finishes to lead in the Finn.
Posted on 27 Apr
Stage two commences at Solo Maitre Coq
Alan Roberts has had a good run of results so far in the competition, currently sitting in 18th position. Leading the British contingent Academy alumni Alan Roberts on-board Seacat Services has had a good run of results so far in the competition, currently sitting in 18th position.
Posted on 27 Apr
The world of sailing comes to Antigua Sailing Week
A staggering number of sailors from worldwide are descending on the Caribbean Antigua island to celebrate 50th edition. About 1,500 competitors from 32 countries will enjoy five days of world class racing, preceded by the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race and the Peters and May Round Antigua Race.
Posted on 27 Apr
Breeze fades on final weekend of Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship
Conditions on the Saturday were light with the wind shifting 60 to 90 degrees around North through much of the day. Conditions on the Saturday were light with the wind shifting 60 to 90 degrees around North through much of the day. The White Group fleet of competitors managed two races before the wind dropped to less than five knots and the final race was abandoned. On the Sunday, after several postponements, racing was abandoned at lunchtime.
Posted on 27 Apr
Sperry Charleston Race Week 2017 in review
The underlying goal for every race organizer – even those staging benefit regattas – is to provide safe, fair sailing The underlying goal for every race organizer – even those staging benefit regattas – is to provide safe, fair, competitive sailing. When you have your hands on the helm of a mega regatta such as Sperry Charleston Race Week, that doesn’t change. But it does become more complicated.
Posted on 27 Apr