By William Mills
who was onboard Tyke
Sussex Yacht Club’s offshore race ‘Talla Hina’ was convincingly won by Peter Jenkins’ Oyster Lightwave 395 Maverick on Saturday 21 May.
The strong southerly breeze and occasional showers set the scene for a thrilling race between the first three boats.
Starting out from just off Shoreham harbour the fleet turned east towards Brighton and beyond to the Friars Bay Outfall buoy off Peacehaven.
2nd place Tyke, X332, Brian Thomas, built a commanding lead on the leg out to sea before settling in to the long reach up the coast.
3rd was Plover, Dehler 35, Miles Mayhall & Mike Wylde, which stole the lead and stayed up the front all the way around, and certainly a one to watch this summer.
Yet winner Maverick opted to go inshore on the way to Brighton thereby keeping out of the worst of the tide. The ruse paid off and she rounded Friars’ Outfall neck and neck with Plover.
Tyke was third around the mark so had to catch up and experimented with flying her kite on a very tight reach. When the kite did set she rapidly started to overhaul the leaders.
However the angle was just too tight so it was dropped off the entrance to Brighton Marina and put back up for the last short leg back to the Shoreham finish line.
Here, Tyke achieved 11.2 knots of boatspeed but alas ran out of course leaving Maverick as the well deserved winners.
During the race which consisted of two long fine reaches there was debate as to whether to fly more sail and risk losing ground to leeward or whether to stick to two sails and steer a straighter course.
It’s vital when reaching in medium to strong airs to sail with the longest waterline. This is achieved by positioning the crew aft on the high side keeping the boat upright as well as pushing the stern down to increase the waterline length.
Tyke took 225 minutes to sail the 26 mile course averaging 7.5 knots and finishing 10 minutes behind the winner on corrected time. To have won an average of 7.7 knots was needed.
I’m left wondering that if instead of walking up and down shouting, I’d opted for sitting still in the right spot would helped give us that extra 0.2 of a knot which we needed….