Ships log for the yacht "Sparrow" an Ian Anderson designed
'Hurley 20', sail no. 109, launched 16th November 1967.
This is the day to day stuff involved with owning and sailing a
small boat, so nothing earth shattering but there'll also
hopefully be some adventures along the way..

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

America's Cup Saturday..

The Jolly Boys [clicky] convened on Saturday for a run out on Rod's boat Ami-Ly to see the first day of the America's Cup racing in Portsmouth (our home town), and what a superb day on the water it turned out to be...!

Met at Rod's at 8, on the boat by 9, and departed a 'suspiciously' quiet Pompey Harbour by about half nine.. a beautiful morning, but very quiet.. we were expecting much more traffic...

This year the organisers had provided a spectator mooring area so for the first time on Ami-Ly we actually deployed the hook - 5 mtrs of water and after the usual initial kerfuffle it had set by 11'ish and we settled back for racing which was later that afternoon.. an inspired decision by the way as would become clearer later in the morning....

Much banter ensued, some fishing (in which I actually managed to catch a living thing, albeit only slightly larger than a goldfish), a few beers, Smithy's missus had made a chocolate cake, the sun shone (and it was warm!), the Solent was aqua marine, Smithy threw (all) his clothes off and went swimming (which was amusing, as the RNLI turned up for a photo opportunity at just the moment he wanted to get out) - nothing better - the only slight worry was the lack of wind - it was building but not what you would have called full foiling conditions for the AC45's..

Following a aerobatic display the racing started and as usual it was fast and furious... these are short races - no more than 15 minutes...  mid way start line and then two figures of eight...

Three races, back to back, and in these conditions no foiling, but they were flying a hull occasionally...

The inspiration for the mooring area became clearer - there was no way we would have been able to watch and steer like we did last year - I would estimate at least three times as many boats...

...and as to the racing??  After a shaky start (5th), Sir Ben pulled off two firsts and won the day - the sirens blew!

I wouldn't have sad we had the best view (but no worse than anyone else) as the mooring area was the opposite side of the cordoned off race course to where most of the racing was taking place, and where the finishing line was (which is fair enough - the people in the grandstand were paying £25 a head) but the buzz was huge and I wouldn't have missed it for anything....

Racing finished about 3, and as the day was yet young and the wind was building, and the tide was with us, we waited for the scrum to clear and broke away for the west Solent in absolutely sparkling conditions - the Solent never looked better, sunshine, breeze, and that particular sparkle you get when water and sun meet... poetic perhaps but it was champagne sailing... before we knew it (and we were doing between 7 and 8 knots over the ground) we were off Cowes so we ducked in, picked up a spare pontoon place (couldn't get into East Cowes, and the Folly pontoon is a bit of a rip off when you've got a boat of 5 to get over to the pub) had a beer, finished the cake, relaxed, and then headed for home...

As we'd gone into Cowes the wind had picked up to 20 knots (shame we hadn't had it for the racing!) and was still perky when we got out but this time tide had turned and we were running with it..  auto pilot on and we were doing 6.5 knots down wind sweet as you like - mile after mile... 

Love that shot - old and new....

Quick stop at the fuel pontoon and back into the berth by 8 in the evening and home by 9 after a superb day...  a definite classic.


Distance: 26.96 miles overall; 4.48 in the morning and 22.48 in the afternoon (post racing)
Wind: Little or none in the morning, peaking F5 in the afternoon; WSW
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed: 5.2/1.0 and 7.4/5.2 (we were tramping given this was down wind!)


  1. A classic day, wow, good fun had by all :)

    1. Absolutely the best.. one to remember with fondness and a happy smile over winter..!

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