Three Hamble based Impala’s rashly decided to compete in the annual JOG jaunt to Weymouth last weekend. The early weather forecasts were encouraging, 12 knots from the SE on sat to take us there, 12 knots from the SW to get us home. Lovely!
With an 0730 start from Gurnard the early alarm call was used. Cheeky Monkey got the best of a very light wind start in the 20 strong Class six with Two Frank close behind. Imptish started slowly but by Yarmouth had cunningly employed the exclusion zone of a cable laying ship to shoot to the front of the fleet. With an expectation of the wind going SE after Hurst we were all looking forward to putting our kites and being in Weymouth late afternoon for a drink before having a nice dinner.
It was at this point that the rain and wind started…
To be honest the rest of the race is rather a blur. Memory is a selective thing but this skipper recalls the following:
·         Being on the bow doing a tack change in 25 knots crashing through whitewater next to the Shingles bank
·         Coasting along in 1 knot with the light kite for a very frustrating hour
·         Wind from every point of the compass (several times)
·         3 static shocks from the rig during a very impressive lighting storm
·         Some headlands and foul tide combined with lots of tacking next to rocks – SOG became important i.e. keeping it above 1 knot!
·         Making a 156’ super yacht alter course to avoid us (he was windward boat!)
There was (a lot) more. Imptish reached the finish line at 1820 (nearly 11 hours after the start). Cheeky Monkey and Two Frank were caught in a wind hole around St Albans Head and came in a couple of hours later.  For some the late night curry house was the only option for dinner.
I would love to say that a restful night in Weymouth harbour followed, but it didn’t, as ever in Port the yachts inside you all decide to leave at different times between 0400 and 0600. The crew of Two Frank were particularly grumpy the next morning!
The trip back for most was rather boring. Most of us motored 80% of the way. This time Imptish came last, after spending two hours involved in a SAR operation after discovering an upturned kayak. Fortunately everyone is fine. Come and find me at the nationals if you want to know more!
Overall results – Class 6
Impish 2nd, Cheeky Monkey 13th, Two Frank 15th
http://www.jog.org.uk/Cowes%20Weymouth_Results.aspx

Barney Smith


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