… for the Max from your sailing!

Even Force 6+ doesn’t stop East Coasters!!!

Race & BBQ, 2nd Sept 2006
For most of the week, the weather forecast was for strong winds and heavy rain.  To the organisers, Richard and Rod, this year’s Maxi East Coast rally and barbecue looked doomed.   Even if they took part, many visiting entrants were faced with being “storm-bound” in Suffolk Yacht Harbour after the event.  But, as the week progressed, the weather forecast eased and the wind was promising to be moderate-fresh for the rally and strengthening later into the evening.  Onboard Thor, with two of the crew having brand new Gore-tex jackets, they were confident that it wouldn’t rain.
On the day of the rally, 4 boats took part: Kudu, Neroli, Thor and Vouvray.  The rally was a 3½ hour race comprising a set course at the start followed by a choice of 6 optional courses.  The boat that covered the most miles on handicap before crossing the finish line was the winner.  The skill was in choosing which optional ones to do and still get back to the finish on time as a punitive time penalty was applied to those who were late. 

More details about the Spider’s Web Race


The East Coast 2006 Rally weekend included an informal and friendly race as well as a BBQ.  This page outlines the race part which is based on a spider’s web whereby boats sail as many parts as they like as long as they finish by crossing a specified line at or before a declared finish time. 

The finishing order is based on miles sailed and time taken, after allowing for simple handicaps and whether any of the (two) compulsory "seamanship tests" were completed satisfactorily.

In the case of the East Coast event – and anticipating rather rough seas in the Harwich Approaches – the course included an extra couple of legs up the Rivers Stour and Orwell.  This just shows the flexibility of the overall concept.  Apart from the initial few legs, boats are free to select their favoured points of sailing, and can easily avoid any close quarter. situations.

 Many thanks to Richard Davison of Thor for generating this course and for allowing us to post details here.  For more information regarding the scoring, please contact the webmaster. 

Please remember that event organisers and participants must take note of the requirements in the Constitution and the Annex that applies to all events.  Please enjoy yourselves!


The Start

Thor was first over the line and settled, hard on the wind, with a sail-plan of one reef and a self-tacking jib.  Neroli followed, much to our amazement, sporting a full main and completely unfurled genoa.  Both boats looked comfortable and Neroli even seemed to be pointing higher, albeit with a slightly backing genoa. 
Kudu and Vouvray (official photographer) were close behind – each with a single reefed main.  Vouvray, at the back, was slowly overhauling the fleet and creeping up on Thor. 
Then Vouvray tacked to get a better line around the end of Felixstowe docks, followed by Neroli and Kudu.  Onboard Thor, they decided to hold their course and pinched through the bend on the same tack, then bore-off towards Shotley Spit and were rewarded with an increased lead.  Vouvray, now clear of the dock and freeing-off, was running at hull speed and soon overhauled Thor as they both headed out to sea.  Hardening up for the next mark, there was a bit more South in the wind than expected and both boats had to put a short tack in to get around Cliff Foot. 

Decision Time

At Outer Ridge, the end of the set course, the wind was now at the top end of a F5, Vouvray rounded the buoy and headed inshore to the Stour for a reach up the river to let Tipsy, the dog, have a smoother ride.  Thor, Kudu and Neroli decided to stay offshore and do one of the seaward triangles.  As the three rounded the mark and set a new course to Armada, they realised that it was going to be a hard beat up to the next mark.  Heading into a lumpy sea, the beat to Armada was punishing, made worse by wind over tide and a wind which was creeping up to F6.  Slowly, the miles on the GPS repeater counted down and Armada came in sight.  Once round it, the broad reach to Pennyhole was even more interesting and demanded a second reef.  Down by Pennyhole, Thor turned immediately for Outer Ridge, whilst Kudu, now 1 mile behind, hoved-to for the 10 minute seamanship exercise and had lunch!
In between Outer Ridge and Armada, Neroli was feeling over-pressed and headed back in towards Harwich.  Onboard Thor, having rounded Outer Ridge and completed the first triangle, they also decided that it was time to call it a day and headed back inshore.  On the reach into Harwich the wind started gusting to F7 (and Vouvray recorded 34 knots true).  Wind with tide, it was a sleigh ride into the docks and somewhere along that leg Thor recorded 10.8kn as he slid down one of the quartering waves in a gust of 39.8kn.  Once in the relative shelter of Harwich, with an hour to go, Thor had a change of mind and headed up the Stour to Ewarton passing Vouvray on their way back from Holbrook to Shotley Spit.  Chris and Helen, onboard Vouvray, had huge smiles on their faces and looked very comfortable on the big 1100.
Vouvray rounded Shotley Spit and turned up the Orwell for the second leg of their Vee.  At Trimley, they turned and headed for the finish line.  Kudu, by Shotley Spit decided there wasn’t enough time left for another leg and finished early, as did Neroli.  Thor, now having rounded Ewatron, was also heading back to the finish line.  With 15 minutes to go and close to line, Thor hoved-to for their seamanship exercise.  The strong Southerly wind was just too much for the self-tacker (now jury rigged with jib sheets for the hove-to) and Thor spent an agonising 10 minutes being swept upriver away from the finish line by the flood tide.
Vouvray powering down the Orwell on a fine reach crossed the finish line with 30 seconds to spare, showing exemplary passage planning. Thor followed across the line 2 minutes and 5 seconds late.   

The Barbeque

Safely tied up in SYH, Rod immediately declared that he was going to light the barbecue – nobody disagreed – although some of us did wonder if he’d get a match to stay alight long enough in the strong wind for the firelighter to catch
Carole and Gill had been busy most of the day making an impressive range of sauces, vegetable kebabs, jacket potatoes and salad accompaniments, all safely laid out on a table in the lee of the barbecue. 
As the burgers, sausages, kebabs and steak cooked, the beer and wine got opened and the socialising began.  Although windy, it was warm and not raining, so the barbeque was very pleasant despite the wind. Eventually, as the daylight faded, we cleared up and retired to Vouvray for coffee. 

The results

Comfortably sat in Vouvray’ssaloon, Richard finally put us out of our misery and read out the results.
Chris had procured some Maxi hats which sufficed as prizes.  There was some bottles of wine too, but they were still in the car and nobody seemed that bothered so they got left for another day.

Corrected Miles
Richard Davison
Maxi 1000
Chris Wildey
Maxi 1100
Patrick Whitear
Maxi 1050
Rod Minkey
Maxi 1000

All-in-all, we agreed that it had been a fantastic day and that next year is a must, although we probably won’t be asking Rod to set the date.
 Richard Davidson
NOTE: The details for the course and raceinstructions will be posted here in due course.  Chris W