JP Morgan Round the Island Yacht Race 2010

It was all hotting up over this weekend with the JP Morgan RTIR 2010. This is one of the biggest Yacht races on the planet with over 1700 boats forming the fleet.??We entered my Yacht “Reunion” and with Ben Ainslie and Ellen McAuthur also in the race we had some formidable opposition.
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It was an early rise at 4:30 AM to get the boat to the finish and the sight was simply awesome. It took some time to prepare for the start but the gun went off and we were away at 5:39AM.
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The first stage heading west down the Solent was painfully slow for “Reunion” as the boat seemed to struggle with the very low wind speed but within a couple of hours we were past the needles and screaming along on the outside of the fleet on towards St Catherines with gusts of force 5, where we overtook my br
other, Graham sailing “Gull” who was struggling with some rigging problems. Gull had overtaken us earlier at Hurst Castle where the advantage of the “Cruising chute” was no match for Reunion. [ You can see Gull overtaking Reunion in the pics on this site with the Stripy blue cruising chute ]
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The stretch to St Catherines proved a challenge for Reunion as she swung into wind on several occasions after being overpowered by the mighty gusts. We took it in turns at the helm for this stretch as the weight of the wheel in the strong winds took its toll on our shoulders and arm muscles. On board we had the Jobsite FD Phil (plus friend John), our COO Damian, Myself and Barry from South Coast Boating Services.
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Our main mistake of the day was to go wide at St Catherines and this tactical mistake probably cost us dearly. The next tack was way too far East of Bembridge and we took what seemed like a lifetime to join the pack. But join the pack we did and the finish past Ryde and Cowes was awesome with boat to boat sailing action. We were literally inches away from other boats at times and Barry steered us over the line just ahead of another boat in our class for a stunning finish.
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Overall we were about midfield which we were very happy about considering our tactical mistake. Graham’s “Gull” caught us up very quickly but finished 10 minutes behind us overall. We are all looking forward to another showdown next year for what was a race of a lifetime and a completely new experience for some of us on “Team Reunion”.