Sheik with Malice win inaugural Petit Bateau Solo round the Isle of Wight race 9/5/06

The first edition of the Round the Isle of Wight Solo race organised by Petit Bateau started in very light easterlies at Egypt Point early on Saturday 7 May, and with the ebb in full flow and a severe time penalty for OCS only the brave made a good start.

Solent expert Simon Curwen had the asymmetric up on Voador as she led Big Doris 2 and the 34-boat fleet away. The customary 20 knot blast at Hurst livened up proceedings as spinnakers were hastily dropped for a white sail fetch to the Needles Light where Voador kissed the bottom in search of seconds, Mike Moxley in the HOD 35 Malice had moved up to third mono behind Chris Rustrum in his Dehler 36, Draig O’Mor

Most of the fleet chose the traditional tack into the back eddy east of the Needles but Voador led a splinter group south in search of more breeze (as seen on the tracker plot) this proved to be a marginal loss as the fleet had swallowed up Voador by St Kats. The beat in a failing breeze was frustrating for all the boats carrying Number 3 genoas as big headsails prevailed when the beat turned to a fetch to Bembridge ledge with Fluffy the Figaro one and Festina Lente the Sigma 38 of Philip Meakins hauling in all but three of the leaders en route

The battle in class three was between the J/92s as Andy Hill (Just Enough) and Peter Olden (Solen Goose) crossed tacks in close formation right up too the shortened course finish where Peter prevailed by 37 seconds in 11hrs 43 minutes of racing . The J/80s of Liz Savage and John Lupton showed at St Kats but DNF.

Line honours went to MOCRA’s Ian Loffhagen with his tri Sheik Yerbouti in 10hours 55 minutes. First mono was Mike Moxley in Malice at 11hours 13 minutes, 8 minutes ahead of Simon Curwen in Voador and 9 minutes ahead of Rory Carter the Dehler 36 Catriona.

The small boats had turned out in force to participate in this first edition of RIOW Solo but the weather did not cooperate thus denying many keen skippers of a chance to complete the shortened course, Kate Dickens (Twister) did make it back to the Island Sailing Club in time to present the trophies to the winners and T-shirts are being reprinted, RIOW Slowo.