Tight kite reaches and spills on Cowes day five for the Flying Fish students

Day 40 – Cowes Week Day 5

It was a close call whether to fly the spinnaker at the start on Wednesday or not as we set off towards the East Solent on the longest course so far, 24 miles. We chose the safe option of starting under headsail and changing to the kite once the race got under way. It was a very shy reach and touch and go whether to change back to the number one. We stuck with it and it probably gave us a small advantage. It certainly got the whole crew working hard!

The course was a series of tight reaches and short beats. It was heavy work, and with numerous thundery wind shifts throughout the afternoon, was tactically draining too. The final leg back to the Cowes was a procession of long spinnaker gybes made more interesting with gusts up to 20 knots. We broached on more than one occasion (we weren’t alone) but thankfully always far enough from other boats to avoid any danger of collision.

A private luffing match with the Dutch S&S 41 Winsom saw neither of gaining any advantage. In fact we probably lost a couple of boat lengths to other boats sailing their own race – a valuable lesson for future races! We still managed to cross the Squadron line around seven minutes ahead of the other ‘Fish Dehler 34, Foreign Affair.