YW's David Glenn reports from Liara


“It’s a marathon not a sprint,” says Liara’s skipper Ross Applebey as we eventually extract ourselves from the Solent with the help of a swirling spring tide rushing us west into Christchurch Bay. The point he was making was that having made a potentially top notch start, right on the line and with plenty of options in front of us we then threw it all a away because of a foul up with the asymmetric sock which twisted behind the jib in a high speed hoist and tangled the snuffing line.

It took five or so minutes to sort out the mess but it was enough to see the likes of Leopard and Whisper, a Southern Wind 77, to say nothing of a clutch of TP52s, Ran and others speedsters stretch away from us before we could get into our stride.

Jeff Dakin our tactician was as surprised as anyone to see the breeze coming out of the south east for a reaching start but eventually it headed us as we got into the western Solent.

We’ve picked out way through much of the fleet but now the question is will we weather Portland before the (Spring) tide turns. We’ve got just over two hours to get there at this speed – it’s flat calm we’re doing about 7 knots through the water but 8 plus to eight over the ground and we’ve picked up a little more breeze from the west as we eased to the left the fleet.

There’s a comedian or two on the foredeck – much laughter – and now we’re just about to get into our watch routine. Three seven-men watches, three hours on, three on standby and three off.

It’s beautifully warm and quiet below decks and I’m just off for a hot shower and a three course meal in the ‘dining room’ – only kidding?having said that off watch has just piled into the saloon to watch Death at a Funeral. On watch are viewing from the cheap seats on the weather deck through the saloon ‘windows’.

Meanwhile Jeff Dakin and Shaun ‘Laptop’ Lapworth are studying grib files intensely as we approach the all-important tidal gate off Portland. Leopard has just tacked ahead of use and we are considering our options.