Round the Island Race

I was lucky enough to find a spot on a boat last minute for the Round the Island Race this past weekend. This is an annual race of all the sailors in Britain (or just about), with over 1600 boats turning out to sail around the Isle of Wight this year. It was truly amazing to see so many boats sailing at once and all in the same direction!

We had phenomenal weather – blue skies, warm and windy. The wind was predicted to drop off in the afternoon, but it held 15-23 knots all day. Can’t ask for better than that really.

Our boat was very comfortable and got us around safely but wasn’t very fast. The sails were pretty baggy and she was a bit beamy, but we did our best and managed to avoid being completely last place, although not by much. Our crew wasn’t too focused on being competitive however. We were there to have fun.

I was trimming jib most of the trip but got to do main sheet trim for about 45 minutes during a very gusty portion of the journey. Everyone commented they could really tell I was a dinghy sailor because I was so in tune. The drivers never had to ask me to ease or sheet in. They could just hold their course and I would ride the puffs. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to do a real job like trimming the main on a 40′ yacht and have other people give me a pat on the back. Maybe I am just a big softie, but I actually cried with happiness behind my sunglasses at one point.

Took this just after my stint on the main as we were coming around the Needles.