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UK 18ft Skiff Solent Grand Prix Series Round 3

by Tom Hill & Tom Kiddle 22 Jun 23:08 PDT 19-20 June 2021

Another weekend on the Solent for the UK 18ft Skiff fleet. The fleet were expecting two days of 8 knots... and they got half of that.

Race one saw The Green Skiff make a quick get away, starting a millimetre behind the line to lead round the first lap. As the breeze dropped on the second beat, Babycham made the first move into 'high mode' giving them enough VMG to take the lead. The fleet maintained their positions down the second run, leaving only the final lap for overtakes. There were plenty of calls of windward throughout this race as the fleet battled closely downwind with the kites up. The Green Skiff still trailed Babycham most of the way to the finish, but with a tight lay line call and a helpful shift, retook the lead and held it to the finish.

Race two and Rutland made a blinding start, pushing The Green Skiff over early, forcing them to pull a bearaway round the front of Union Rose to dip the line. No mean feat in an 18ft skiff! With the course still set the same as the first lap, the fleet started to learn their favourite ways up and down the course, but no particular way seemed to pay, apart from keeping manoeuvres to a minimum. With the exception of Union Rose who seemed have forgotten the course after a year out of racing and completely forgot the downwind gate and were forced to drop the kite to keep their race alive. Babycham ended up with their nose in front by the finishing gun, despite thinking it was a two lap course and almost dropping the kite a lap early with the fleet bearing down their necks.

Race three saw The Green Skiff so far over the line, the fleet thought they were sailing a different race which left them out of contention for the final race of the day. It was a drag race to the first mark, with Union Rose and their monster mainsail powering their way out from under BabyCham to round the top mark first. Union Rose led the rest of the way even with a wildly overcooked kiterun back to the finish line, managing to sail at some impressively high angles with the kite still filled. Rutland and BabyCham battled behind for second place and it was the choice to two sail to the finish line instead of hoisting that secured second place for BabyCham.

Unfortunately, the half of the forecast they didn't get was Sunday. The breeze was fickle as they went out onto the race course and struggled to stabilise into a consistent direction. The one race that went into sequence was abandoned a few minutes later as the breeze disappeared. After two hours of failed starts and unstable breeze, the race committee called it a day. All the forecasts suggested lengthy delays until consistent breeze that would take them well beyond the cut off time for Sunday racing.

So after a fairly cruisey yacht around on Sunday, BabyCham took the win for Round 3 of the 2021 Solent Grand Prix Series showing some consistent results throughout Saturday's racing. That said, of the 3 races held, there were 3 winners showing that it's never a done deal until the finishing horn! A slightly longer gap until Round 4 on 31st July and 1st August, but the fleet are once again preying for a full weekend of racing!

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameR1R2R3Pts
1BabyCham2125
2The Green Skiff1348
3Rutland3238
4Union RoseDNC4110

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