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South Coast: Nab Tower Race

1st September 2018

Nab Tower Race for the Nab Trophy

The committee boat, Busiris, left Haslar at 0800 and headed out of Portsmouth Harbour for the start line. For the first time in many years, the wind was from the SSE at force four, occasionally touching five at times with a slight to moderate sea running in the eastern approaches to the Solent. On approaching No Mans Land Fort, at 0915, we decided that the conditions were not good for anchoring – wind against an increasing tide, so that we could not be sure how the committee boat would lay for the start of the race at 10.00am. We therefore decided to hold station on the engine for the start.

It was great to see Bill and Sue Redgrove in their Sealord, Camomile, who came out to join us on the start line. They had just returned to the UK after completing their ten-year round-the-world cruise and managed to fly off (and successfully recover) a drone to film the race start.

With the continually strengthening SE-going tide, the start was interesting, at it looked as if several boats would be carried over the start line prematurely, but they managed to sort themselves out an crossed just about on the gun. Unity, Flycatcher and Seadust all got away to an excellent start and were quickly followed by another six boats. Flora was a few minutes late to start, but quickly set off in pursuit of the others, who were tacking away towards the Nab Tower on the distant horizon.

The committee boat then set sail, following Camomile towards Chichester. There was just enough south in the wind to allow us to shut off the engine and reach under the No 2 genny, and Busiris anchored two cables east of the West Pole beacon to have lunch and await the race finishers.

Without the usual south-westerly wind, the competitors had to think out new tactics for making the best of the varying tidal streams over the New Grounds and in Bembridge Bay. Some over-estimated the tide and had to give away hard-won windward ground to make it around the tower.

The reach down to Chichester was more straightforward. Unity was the first boat to cross the finish line off the West Pole, in an elapsed time of 2 hours, 57 minutes and 27 seconds to take the line honours. She was followed some six minutes later by Stormbird, with Brassed Off a further seven minutes later, followed by Shahin. The rest of the fleet were more spread apart, the smaller and slower boats being further disadvantaged by the reduction in wind, which had reduced to force 3 by the time the finish line was closed at 15.00.

Final Race Results were as follows:

Place            Name            Corrected Time    Elapsed Time

1st                Unity                 02:44:27              02:57:27

2nd               Brassed Off        02:52:32              03:11:31

3rd               Shahin              02:53:20              03:13:58

4th               Sea Dust            02:59:37              03:43:48

5th               Flycatcher          03:01:07              03:22:40

6th               Stormbird          03:05:20              03:03:29

7th               Karis                 03:05:57              03:28:05

8th               Sassy                 03:37:14              04:05:15

9th               Katy                  04:03:31              04:37:22

DNF             Flora 

Prizes were presented at the Chichester Yacht Club dinner in the evening


1st September 2018
Event Category:


Dick Leedham