Queensmead YC - Round the Island Race 2009
RIR 2009 - Part 4 - The Return of the Jimbo 
Saturday, June 20, 2009, 04:47 PM
Posted by Administrator
It’s now here. The eagerly awaited race weekend is starting, and the crew are back in action for the final time. Thursday evening was quiet, the usual hand over and provisioning, followed by a light bite in the local eat all you can Chinese rinsed down with a small glass of house red, then off to bed for what I was going to find out later was to be my best nights kip for sometime.

The morning came and it was a pleasant start as the next wave of crew met up with us for breakfast. With our bodies conditioned and our minds clearly focused on the task in hand we set off to give the poor old girl a vigorous shake down. The day had gone well and we set and tested her until we were completely satisfied, so we headed off directly to Cowes for some R n R before the big event. Then it hit us! We had not covered the scenario about what happens if the Skipper is unable to command his vessel – so I quickly fell down the companion way smashed my shoulder hard into the floor and screamed in pain – how realistic was this. Mark (Aka Spam Hands –ask Jimbo) leaped into action and dealt with the situation faultlessly, and with no prompting from me, who by now had gone very white. Jimbo was in his element by politely asking fellow yachtsmen to move aside as we glided effortlessly into the berth so the paramedics could meet with me. It was a brief meeting resulting in a ride around the island in an ambulance, a photo session with some locals, some drug taking, a cab ride and still back in time for tea. The evening was a sober affair reflecting on the day’s events and how I was going race with a broken shoulder. Once this was sorted it was lights out ready for the big day.

I awoke to the smell of bacon cooking I must have died and gone to heaven, well I felt like I died anyway. After breakfast we all got ready and then I realized that now porting a new piece of clothing I could short cut the queue at the facilities while others danced in line. We slipped our mooring said our prayers, and patrolled the start line. I had the VHF on loud...3, 2, 1, Bang we were off. It didn’t take long to settle into a good rhythm, and we started to pick off fellow competitors one by one. Actually it did not take us long at all to pass a fellow club member who started much earlier. The needles were insight and the kite was prepped, launched professionally and pulling well as we rounded – a little closer than I have ever been before. The backside was an awesome sight and with some dinghy sailing techniques put to good use as we saw off many a yacht in some close quarter manoeuvring. Jimbo was strangely very alive this time unlike his noted absence from the last trip around the back of the island. Things were going well and we were in high sprits, this allowed Smudge, our helm, who did not leave his post for all the race chance to hone his communication skills with other racers. Bembridge ledge cardinal mark loomed up fast and we shook off a couple of yachts to get the inside line at the mark and take advantage of the position. Carefully picking our way across Ryde sands, we were now on the homeward leg and with the finish in sight we dug deep and went for it crossing the line in just over 10hrs 42mins. Back to the berth we headed and with dinner on the stove a well deserved meal was consumed while we kept a watchful eye on the results. It worked out 7th in fleet and 201 overall – not bad, so we went off to celebrate with the other crews.

Sunday came round far too fast. We headed off to the prize giving, rubbed shoulders (not mine) with Ben Ainslie and congratulated the winners. It was time to pack up and head back to our home port. The crew parted at this point so we made our fond farewells, so the skeleton crew took the boat back and enjoyed a peaceful sail. We washed down the old girl who had served us so well and quietly drove off with a big grin on all our faces.

We’ll be back!!


[Note from editor. The other Queensmead boat was Vagabond, a Cornish Shrimper sailed by Brian O'Leary and John Griffiths.

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RIR 2009 - Part 3 - The Wind of Change 
Sunday, May 17, 2009, 08:04 PM
Posted by Administrator
Well this is it, the last of the three training weekends is here, and again the infamous Queensmead yacht crew are back in action. The Friday started off very low key with the usual hand over and provisioning. The crew’s arrival was split, and the three of us decided to have a quite night of onboard dinning, by tucking into a nutritious three course meal of baked Camembert with Mediterranean toast, sliced gammon with rocket, spinach and water cress tossed salad, followed by apple flapjack and piping hot custard. We made the boat all ship shape and retreated to our bunks for a quite night. <BR>

The morning started with a knock on the hull as the rest of the crew made their presence known. The weather was very windy but we were all in high sprits as we headed off to breakfast. While our eggs were poaching we had the briefing for the days activities. Now with the crew properly fueled, we slipped the lines and Steve (the spare member in red) at the helm we quickly headed off towards the open sea.
It didn’t take long for the crew to get into its stride as we had the sails up, reefed mind you. We thumped our way down the Solent practicing our drills for the rest of the morning till our stop at Osborne Bay, where we superbly anchored close to shore so we could have a well deserved lunch. After a short stop we up anchored and headed to our overnight port, but on the way Jimbo helmed and he quickly found his racing spirit as every yacht was fair game. The evening came and the sky had brightened so the crew begged to stay out a little longer so we could get some
extra practice in, so I headed of to the Needles where we spent sometime playing with the surf. By now the crew was thoroughly exhausted so off to our berths for a refreshing shower and meal. The evening was short due to the planned early start but the crew still managed to completely enjoy themselves. Back onboard the excitement of the forth coming event was now beginning to show as they compared each others ideas and showed off their equipment – it was too good to be true.

With the sound of alarm clocks going off it was every man up, quickly off to the facilities block, ready for our test run around the southern side of the Island. On my return Steve had cooked up some bacon sambo’s which we ate hastily as we left
the berth. We caught the last of the west going tide so as we passed the Needles it changed - perfect, that unfortunately was not all that changed at that point. A chain reaction seemed to start with Jimbo falling first, as you can see if you look right.
Then as the day progressed many other members of the crew were taken down by what I can only guess was a touch of food poisoning – it must have been that locally caught fish of the day they ate last night. The wind strengthened to about 40+ knots
and with some big gusts and heavy seas hitting us. The remaining crew coped very well with the short fall and achieved some 11 knots off the Bembridge Ledge. We rounded the back end of the Island in good time so we have great hopes for the race if the conditions are on par. In we headed and picked up our berth with complete precision, kettle on and some medicine for the crew who had not quite recovered. We had to give her a good scrub before handing her back and then made our farewells – The Race is next.


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RIR 2009 - Part 2 
Monday, April 20, 2009, 02:52 PM
Posted by Administrator
Round the Island Race 2009

Part two - The search for perfection!

Well here we are again, the infamous Queensmead yacht crew are back in action for their second of three intensive sail training weekends before the big race where we are representing you. The Friday started with the usual formalities of the hand over and the correct provisioning of the yacht. Then we headed off to the Gosport headquarters and began tucking in to a nutritious meal before heading back for the night to finalize the weekends plan.

The morning came and it was damp, but the weather was improving. The next wave of crew arrived and we started to prepare ourselves. We demolished between us a couple of packets of fruit ‘n fibre with lashings of skimmed milk and mugs of tea, while the briefing was carried out. Then it was all hands on deck, the lines were slipped and with Smudge at the helm we quickly had the fenders stowed and the main up. Heading off towards the harbour entrance the genoa was unfurled, and into the Solent for a warm up of short tacks off in the direction of Cowes, to give us some space to practice our drills with the kite. On this day we were a man down – Richard who had pulled out at the last minute, but as you can see from the picture, a quick trip to the doc’s ,a night in bed, and a large dose of jollop and he made it back for the Sunday. The kite drills went well as we slowly perfected the art of raising and lowering the very large brightly coloured sail. After a couple of hours we packed away the kite and went off west bound for Lymington where a quiet night of rest and reflection was had in the comfort of the Mayflower.

Sunday came round all too fast as it was an early start .The gentleman relished at the thought of more practice. All washed and clean we knocked up some bacon sambo’s and a pot of coffee so we could discuss the finer points of the day until our missing crew member pulled himself from his pit. In the meantime we had a guest appearance from John Edwards who could not wait to share his views with us all. By now Richard had turned up looking like a new man, we waved off John and slipped out gracefully away from our berth. More drills were carried out and most of the crew were getting the hang of their roles and the team started to head back to the home port as fast as they could make the old girl go. Things were going great until as you can see by the piccy on the right a large bank of fog rolled in just as we were coming into Portsmouth. The crew with no prompting removed their racing heads and the boat was slowed down, the genoa was quickly furled to improve visibility and as you can see we sent our most quick witted member forward with the horn to protect us from other vessels. Safely docked we gave the old girl a good scrub and handed back the keys. Our fond farewells were made and we drove off wearily into the sunset.

Until next time


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RIR 2009 - Part 1 
Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 01:58 PM
Posted by Administrator
Round the Island Race 2009

Part 1 - The Story so far!

I would like to start by dispelling the popular myth of old, that a breakaway fraction of the sailing club had gone off to play with some bigger toys, was just a bunch of no hope drunken layabouts. Well it turns out that this elite group of people with special needs has now based its foundations on something a little more solid than a donner kebab washed down with Highland Park and a side order of Courvoisier, to start some serious training for the grueling Round the Island race, in which they have high hopes in not coming last.

Let’s meet the crew (Left to Right)

John Moore, Mark Haley, Graeme Hughes, Richard
Colgrave, Steve Littlejohn, Jimbo, Smudge, Bernie Banks.

The weekend started by the advance party carrying out all the formalities of the hand over and the correct provisioning of the yacht. Then we meet up with the rest of the crew at our Gosport headquarters were we began the unenviable task of mapping out the weekends training plan for the prevailing conditions. After much deliberation we decided that the original plan that was set at the pre trip meeting required only a little adjustment and we headed off back for an early night.

The morning came and it was as forecast – bright sunshine with a crisp breeze, so on that note we headed off for our breakfast of cereals and toast at the local coffee shop. On our return we spent about an hour or so going though all aspects of the yachts safety equipment and features so we were all fully in tune with her operational features. We asked a kind passer by if he would take the picture above as a bit of a keepsake for us all starting out on our epic adventure. You can see by his keen photographic skills he managed to capture the essence of what the group was about. The day was a complete success as we honed our skills in seamanship with the highlight being hitting a little over 9 knots with the kite up. We moored up gave the yacht and good going over so she was a shipshape again and headed off for a green leaf salad and a mineral water or two.

Sunday came and breeze had increased a tad gusting 50+ knots, so we opted to have a day of drills inside the harbour. After completing our routine engine checks we discovered that we had lost cooling water – so the team stepped into action and stripped down the water pump, replaced the impellor and we were off. We practiced our drills as you can see from one of our many man overboard simulation. The day flew by and the group was really beginning to gel into a great team each putting their own skill into the pot. We clean down the yacht, handed over the keys and got all our deposit back, made our farewells and with a slightly teary eye headed back.

Great weekend – job well done


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