Our Fastrack student returns from the Channel Islands for her racing debut.

Day 30 – Yarmouth to Cowes (Round the Island)

For our final passage Sam was our skipper. I looked after the navigation with Rob for the first half of the trip, motor sailing from Yarmouth to the Needles. We’ve all sailed this part of the Solent a few times; surprising how familiar it becomes after a while. Leaving the Needles we steered Sam to St Catherine’s Point and followed the coastline, taking fixes every 15-20 mins as practice. It was very calm with frustratingly little wind, but at the change of watch the wind picked up. Andy suggested we try putting up the spinnaker. Very exciting! It appeared a complicated procedure with lines everywhere, yet we were all delighted to see the huge blue and green kite in front of us. Unfortunately it only lasted 15 minutes before the breeze dropped again.

I’d been up since 3am so I took the opportunity to get my head down at Bembridge Ledge. When I woke up we’d arrived in Cowes! The tide had been with us the whole was round the island and even with little wind, with the motor on we’d had a very fast trip. We were all very excited at the prospect of sleeping in our own beds for the night, not to mention the long awaited trip to the pub! With both boats tied up alongside Shepards Wharf we made a beeline for The Anchor. It was great to catch up with our sister boat, swap funny stories from the week and just be back on land again.

Day 31 – Cowes

We spent a couple of hours back on the boat cleaning and tidying, followed by a quick debrief with Andy. We logged our offshore miles, a whopping 320 of them, in our logbooks, and discussed our thoughts from the trip and lessons learnt. Running the watch system took a little while to get use to but once in progress it worked well. Typically, we were all disappointed with the lack of wind, but the times we did actually sail were fantastic. Andy also gave us critical yet encouraging feedback from our time as acting skipper. Next week is all about getting ready for Cowes, and then it’s a week of furious racing!