Winsome: Channel Race 2016


Aiming to have a race that it takes contestants on average a 24 hour to complete, the RORC defined the course as follows: Start at RYC Castle, an upwind buoy DZB just South of St Alban’s, a 90Nm leg almost due East leaving st Catherine’s Point on Port towards ‘Owers’. From there back up to the finish at a buoy called ‘Darling Associates’ that lies in the Solent just West of Portsmouth. In all a 110nm Race.

The Crew and on board preparations

With on board Harry, Leen, Floris, Herman, Diederik, Luuk and Florent, Winsome sets of from the Royal Yacht Squadron at 08:30. We first, conform ritual, show the Racing Committee a selection of compulsory safety equipment of their choosing (in this case radar reflector and fire blanket) and then we shortly practice manoeuvres and setting the Spinnaker.

The Start

At the start winds were very light and tide pushed us down the West branch of the Solent. Conditions were such that in case of a premature start we would never make it back to the starting line on sail. We thus made very, very sure to leave ample safety margin. We ended up thirty-three boat lengths from the line when at 10:00 the starting signal sounded.

Cutting across the last bit of the shoal at the shingles we chose to take a near-shore track. We were hoping to keep the wind in our sails and avoid the oncoming counter current as much as possible. While making our way towards ‘Old Harry’s Wife’ (this is the actual name of the shallow waters near a rock called ‘Old Harry’) we learned that our fellow sailors out at sea had made the better choice.



After a long and fruitful debate on wind, tide and boat-speed, Floris was able to summarise the discussion in one single sentence that we, from now on, shall call the mother of all tactics: ‘We should sail towards the buoy as fast possible and round it’. With this renewed and unorthodox vision upon competition sailing we continued to make our way upwind against the steadily increasing tide. We made sure there was just enough time in our last leg towards the DZB Buoy to prepare the spinnaker that was set promptly after rounding it.


As soon as we the spinnaker stabilised and we were steadily speeding downwind, dinner was served on deck

By the time we would make our way around st Catherine’s Point tides would be against us once more. Doubtful if the winds would hold, we were given two options. 1) Out to sea: seeking wind there and battling the current 2) Banking on near-shore winds and hugging the land to evade the currents. Using the MOAT* methodology, skilful calculation and careful consideration the latter was selected.

Underway to the South end of the island we gybed as if we had been practicing this since Christmas.

Close Reach

We reached the shore at sundown to start a truly magnificent night of sailing. Close reaching with the spinnaker and all hands on deck we dived as closely under the shore as wisdom and audacity permits. Now and then our sails are lit by the torchlights of surprised fisherman on shore. Slowly but surely we made our way along the lighthouse, rocks, little beaches and scattered holiday homes. As soon as the current let down a bit we set course straight towards ‘Owers’. Crossing the deep water route Harry was able to persuade a cruise ship to alter it’s course. The dredger that we came across was slightly more hampered in its room to manoeuvre. We had to steer up towards a close-reach in order to cross just behind it’s stern.

Last Leg and Finish

For the first time that night the Genoa was set and the Spinnaker lowered. From there we sailed in a single comfortable close haul towards the finish.

Later that morning we had confirmed that we had finished 1st in class.

Thank you Harry and all for yet another wonderful race

Winsome: Channel Race 2016

The hard life


Afgelopen weekend weer mogen bemannen aan boord van de winsome, ditmaal de Cowes – st Malo Race.  Het uitgebreide verslag van Pieter Kohne staat hier. Het was weer heel  fijn aan boord met Harry, Leen, Robin, Pieter Kohne, en de gebroeders van Balkom. Heel veel dank Harry voor deze niet aflatende boost aan  de kwaliteit van ons leven.

The hard life

Ja, sexy speedboot !

Dit stukje hoort eigenlijk op maar die doet het even niet

Opgevoed met de idee dat een speedboot iets is voor types waar je niet aan vraagt om de planten water te geven als je een paar weken weggaat. Waarvandaan te hard lachende mannen half lege bierblikjes het water in keilen en het veld met optimisten pas opmerken als ze er dwars doorheen zijn gevaren.

Maar dan heb je ook nog de Fairey Huntsman 28 , de boot die noodig is om in de schemering de Solent af te scheuren en juist op tijd af te stappen voor het captains diner in Cowes. Om met picknickmand samen te vertrekken en met honger weer terug te komen. Of om een beetje geloofwaardig James Bond en/of Schurk te zijn.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 18.25.19Ligt er nu één te koop in Franeker


Ja, sexy speedboot !

Daar waar de elven vandaan komen


Na jaren van verzuim nu eindelijk weer eens op Utnes, vlak bij Arendal. Eens heeft iemand me verteld dat toen Tolkien zijn Lord of the Rings schreef hij Rivendell, de valei waar de elven wonen, baseerde op Arendal. Of dat nu waar is of niet maakt eigenlijk niet zo veel uit. Het is hier sprookjesachtig mooi en de mensen hebben ook wel iets elfachtigs. Nu lekker slaapjes doen, morgenvroeg hier de zee in plonzen.