Report on this year’s Belle Isle race (28/08/2017) by Alex Nield

This year’s Belle Isle race was the most wind we have had in a long time, comparing it to the previous years where there has been a significant lack of wind, however we were in luck this year. Everyone will agree that today’s race was particularly interesting due to the testing conditions we all found ourselves in. The race started in the bay where Steve moored retriever to the end of one of the jetties and put the pin on the opposite side near to the 17 foot moorings. Unfortunately, the turn out wasn’t as big as I had anticipated this year (probably due to the poor weather which eventually cleared up), however there were 5 GP14s out which is possibly the most we have had all season (except for last Thursday), along with Nigel in his Solo, another Nigel in his Solo, JR in his 100, Catherine and Hannah in their 200 and Becky and Tim in their 400. The GP’s and Nigel(s) set off first with the spinnaker up (with the exception of the Solos), however some preferred not to.  Simon and I had some difficulties with the spinnaker as it was rigged wrong and so as I was attempting to sort it out, almost everyone except for us sailed into a hole as they were too close to the island, and so we managed to gain a considerable amount to make up for our deprived spinnaker hoist. Furthermore, we rounded the mark and began, what I’d like to call, a very shifty beat towards the top end of the island. The wind is always strange behind the island and today there was a substantial number of gusts and then times where the wind would suddenly deteriorate. Simon and I lead the whole way up towards the end of the island with Richard and Mr Commodore following. This was extremely challenging due to the fact that every time you tacked, you were soon to be headed almost straight afterwards (in our case anyway). Finally, after a confusing beat to the top, everyone rounded the island and sailed a straight downwind leg to the yellow pin. When we reached the pin, we dropped the kite and smoothly rounded the mark. At this point, JR in his 100 had overtaken us downwind (but he’s supposed to anyway), and so the horn sounded for JR finishing 1st, me and Simon 2nd, Richard 3rd, Becky and Tim 4th, Nigel Hutch 5th, Catherine and Hannah 6th, Rick and his son 7th, Jonny and Leanne 8th, Julian and Claire 9th and Nigel R being unable to finish. Me and Simon won the GP trophy which is the 3rd year I have won it in various GPs, and, in Simon’s words, he said “I’ve been trying to win that trophy for 30 years”, quite obviously justifying that I am a lucky charm! Well done to everyone, it was a good day!