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RORC St Malo Race 2017 - Report from the Race Course


This weekend saw six Sailing Logic First 40s take part in the RORC St Malo Race – a 150 mile race from the Royal Yacht Squadron’s start line to St Malo, via the Casquets and Les Hanois lighthouses.

When 180 yachts take part in a race including a beat down the Western Solent towards the Needles in 15 knots of breeze, you know you are going to have fun ducking and diving and looking for the best route in the best tide and Saturday really didn’t disappoint. All the yachts were busy trading tacks and it was still anyone’s game at the Needles. For me, sailing on Merlin for this race, I think I’ll add it to my ‘All Time Top 10 Legs’ list!

From the Needles there was a long fetch across the Channel to the Casquets Lighthouse near Alderney. I think Lancelot II, Rocket Dog II and Winston were leading the Logic fleet for most of this leg but the angle and tide made it hard to judge so sorry Dusty P, Arthur and Merlin if I’ve got that wrong! Most of the teams were at the Casquets at around midnight and finally got to bear away a bit to sail down the side of Guernsey to Les Hanois lighthouse. So far, so good! Then the wind switched off! Up went spinnakers and everyone had to get in to light wind mode for the final 40 miles to St Malo. In the end, Winston were the winners of the light wind concentration game, squeaking the lead from Lancelot II (which has now been renamed ‘Laughalot’ after keeping all the yachts near them awake in the dark with their raucous laughter) in the closing stages of the race.

Pot Noodle Art on Lancelot II. Allie - if you are reading this, its what they asked for!!

Here’s a great blog from Margaret on Arthur-

Bobbing around without Bob

After a couple of weeks off, the Arthur crew gathered once more for the next stage of Operation Fastnet.  Our skipper, Bob, was unable to be with us and so we had Leanna step in to fill his sea boots.

The forecast for the race was due to be light winds from the north, north west, so we set off hoping that the wind would hold long enough to get us to St Malo.  Our teamwork, which is increasing the longer we spend together, came to the fore as we put in some good tacks to keep us in the mix as we beat our way down the Solent towards the needles, a sense of déjà vu for those of us who did the Round the Island race the week before.

Leanna slotted into the team really well and she and Jim were providing some great trimming training as we sped along, ducking some boats, overtaking others in what, to an outsider, must look like total chaos as the fleet all fight for the best water.  If that does not get your adrenaline for the race going, nothing will.

Having rounded the needles we set off south, as fast as possible to make as much use of the tide and wind as we could.  As predicted, the wind dropped off when we were near Guernsey and so we spent a merry(!) few hours bobbing around, admiring the view.  We managed a massive 7 miles in 10 hours and were even going backwards at one stage!  A perfect opportunity for training in how to helm in light winds and how to spot patches of wind.  Getting to that patch of wind is another matter…

Eventually the wind filled in and we were able to make better progress and to finish the race in 31 hours, 30 minutes.  We had certainly earned that finishing beer!  With two French on board, they had made use of their local knowledge and booked us into a recommended creperie for dinner.  Their romantic wedding anniversary dinner gate-crashed by the rest of the crew!  Sorry.  Refuelled, we set off into the night, homeward bound.

The three days enabled us to get used to our watch patterns, and how to live on a boat for a longer period of time.  What to do, and what not to do, when watchkeeping at sea is something learnt by experience and this race provided that.  Racing is not just about sailing the boat fast, it is also about looking after the boat and yourself; eating and cleaning continue, wherever you are and whatever time it is.

Another race successfully completed, we disembarked with a spring in our step.  One more race before the big one, it is getting closer, but Arthur’s crew is ready for the battle.



This race had some EPIC sunsets and sunrises - I've posted an album on Facebook as there are just too many good ones for here!
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