Last year the Nab Tower Race was blown out and for a while it looked like there was going to be a repeat perfomormance. In the end the weather Gods were kind delivering winds up to 25 knots which made for a great season closing race for SORC.
Nab Tower – Race Report from overall winner, Rob Craigie on the Sun Fast 3600 "Bellino"
Dave Giddings postponed the first start from 10:00 to 11:30. So what would weather be like? Forecast for 09:00 was 18 gusting 35kts, for 14:00 it was 19 gusting 23kts from the South. Bramblemet confirmed 18-23kts at 10:00, so would the wind drop? The delayed start gave us all the chance to consider and worry. The sea would be smooth due to protection from the Island. The full size J2 would power through on the average winds and it was a reach not a beat, decisions, decisions. After hauling the J2 to the foredeck I thought again and swapped it for the heavy J3.
In the pre start the wind was changeable – down as low as 9kts at times up to 18kts. Have I made the best choice? Anyway, with the tide running east at 3kts and reaching at 7kts towards the line it was too late to change. At 10kts over the ground the timing looked good, too good, I lost my nerve and started weaving to lose speed only to find Fastrak level upwind and stonking along. Line clear and we were on our way.
The wind moved around to SE so we were now close on the wind to the Forts following the dramatic shifts and gusts. The Forts approached and being cautious I opted to leave the red posts marking Ryde Sands and the submarine barrier on the safe side before heading up for Nab. Looking back I could see Fastrak crossing the middle of Ryde Sands well set on course for Nab. And given Nigel’s proven skill and determination to cross all known underwater obstacles – he succeeded again.
Now the wind started gusting up to 26kts. Time for a main reef. In it went and – hey presto- the boat is more controllable and the polar speed improves 3%. Still learning the same old lessons - too much sail is slow!
Beating to the Nab the wind eased to around 20kts so while setting up for the lay line I shake out the reef. A quick look at the tacking angle and 200m distance and time to tack. No problems except I am not making the mark. Trim sails for maximum height and focus on steering. I could make another tack or keep driving for height. The waves are hitting Nab sending up clouds of spray. How close can you go to Nab and not hit it? This does not feel so safe. Hitting a stone structure would give rather different results from touching a light racing mark. The gods are with me however. The tide seems to be setting south which is not as predicted. I clear the mark, bear away, gybe and set the heavy A5 kite. The wind is 130-140T 18-21 kts. Marginal for full size kites but OK for the A5. I set course for the forts and trim sails. I relax and start to enjoy the ride sometimes promoting long 14kt surfs in the small gusts. Looking behind I see and number of kites popping open while others just enjoy the fast reaching conditions. Need to head up at the forts so jib up, kite down and fetch Norris and the finish at Snowdon.
What a fabulous time! A smooth sea with winds that got the boats moving fast. Warm enough tp race in a T shirt, bright clear viz no rain or even much spray. Some go to the Med or the Caribbean but no need to. Just come racing with SORC in the Solent for fast warm sailing. What’s not to like?
Race Results - Inshore Series Race 8 - Nab Tower
2018 Inshore Series - Final Standings (Provisional)
2018 Season Championship - Final Standings (Provisional)