The Round Britain and Ireland Challenge set off for a spectacular spinnaker start on Saturday despite a small delay due to fog in the Solent
The Round Britain and Ireland Challenge set off for a spectacular spinnaker start on Saturday despite a small delay due to fog in the Solent.
The race gun fired at 1125, 25 minutes late but it was well worth it to see Pindar, skippered by Marcus Cholerton raise her kite with majestic ease and hurry out towards the English Channel from the start line at Ryde Middle. Hot on their heels in 15 knots of easterlies was Spirit of Sark, skippered by Des Harvey, followed by Me to You, skippered by John Quigley, Samsung, skippered by Will Otton and SAIC, skippered by Martin Wild.
Dee Caffari, skipper of Imagine It. Done in the Global Challenge was on one of the flurry of chasing supporters boats and phoned into Race HQ: “Me to You, Spirit of Sark and Pindar are on starboard gybe heading towards the mainland. There is a split in the fleet as Samsung and SAIC head out on port gybe towards the Island – SAIC having just cleared a spectacular wrap in their spinnaker.
“In theory, the Island side will get better tidal flow, and is the preferred gybe to be on, as it is more direct for passing Prince Consort to starboard.”
Just half an hour after the start the yachts were past Gurnard North Cardinal marker and approaching New Town Creek, moving an amazing 11-12knots with the tide with them on the Island Shore, making for a very rapid exit from the Solent! As they hit the fast forward button the fleet was making it difficult for the chasing spectator boats to keep up, including the committee yacht, Save the Children where skipper of Global Challenge race yacht Barclays Adventurer, Stuart Jackson was watching all the action. He commented: “SAIC are just in the lead, followed by Samsung, Me to You, Spirit of Sark and Pindar – it’s incredibly close, all the yachts are within 3 boat lengths of each other.
“It looks as if the early choice of gybe has paid off for SAIC and Samsung, but only just!” Stuart continued, “all the yachts are flying 1.5oz spinnakers except Samsung and Pindar who have chosen the heavier flankers.”