Report on the PAA entry to
held 2nd to 9th August, 2003
John Oldham reports on the PAA entry representing the British Police and provides some advice on future campaigns.
For the second year running the PAA have funded the winning boat of their Offshore championships to represent the British Police in the annual Cowes Week championships. By default because Nottinghamshire could not make it, the Metropolitan A team, the runners-up from the 2002 PAA offshore championships, took up the honour this year.
We found it incredibly difficult and expensive to charter a boat for this event because charter companies know that they have a captive audience. Sunsail ask about £5,000 for the week and this was beyond our budget of £3,000. However we located a boat from Fairview sailing in the Hamble which, whilst far from ideal, suited our budget.
Our yacht called Quadriga, a Jeanneau 40 with a TCC of 1.012, was the slowest boat in our class (class 4); the fastest boat being an Élan 40 (very nice boats)
Realistically speaking, a budget of £3,500 for the boat charter and £600 for the mooring and entry is required for this event. In addition, as an advocate of one-design racing, I favour next year's entry attempting to obtain a Sigma 38 by booking early. In this fleet there is a good chance of competitive racing against crews that have chartered rather than own them. In addition there is a good number of these boats available for charter and a large fleet turn out at Cowes week.
The racing started on the Saturday morning with the fleet split between a committee boat start and the Royal Yacht Squadron line. A huge number of boats in a very small space with lots of tide and the odd large container ship steaming through. All was well until the wind died.
This was the general theme of the week, no wind and very, very hot.
The first race went well with us finishing about 16th over the line in our class despite a shortened course and a lot of drifting around.
The second day was incredibly hot with the wind changing direction every 10 minutes. Finally it died and the fleet anchored and went swimming. All apart from the faster boats that were round the windward mark and drifting nicely towards the shortened course finish. Unfortunately we ran out of time waiting for the wind and were retired.
Day three was more wind and a nice race. We finished about 16th over the line and the boat sailed well finishing well ahead of lots of boats that looked a lot faster.
Day four went well with a nice long course up the Solent beating up the Isle of Wight north shore hoping the depth gauge was correct! We finally finished well ahead of some boats but not close enough for any impact on the faster handicapped boats.
That evening I was called to the race organisers because our handicap certificate promised by Fairview still had not arrived. We had been told that it had been faxed by Fairview before the event but on close examination it proved to be last year's. The organisers took a dim view of this and awarded us last place points for the last four races. We were very disappointed but unable to do anything. (lesson learnt – regarding charter companies)
Day 5 and 6 were almost completely windless and very hot the courses were short in length but long in time due to constant postponements and then lots of drifting with the tide we could not finish either of them due to being out of time, very annoying and disappointing.
The last day was excellent with plenty of wind and a very close good competitive race, up to the last windward leg we were up in the top ten. Then disaster struck and the jib split allowing the fleet to pass us by. We eventually limped home in 24th place.
Our final result was in the low 30's out of 38 - not a good position for us but with disappointment over the handicap, wind and breakages, we were content.
The final night party was an event to behold with a Queen tribute band and lots of alcohol (most of it applied externally due to the crowd)
The crew enjoyed the week immensely and intend to enter next year as a private entry. We would advise others to moor in the yacht haven to be closer to the action and avoid the £7.00 p/p gate fee to the arena plus to dig deep financially and join one of the one-design fleets for closer racing.
I personally feel that we did the police justice as ambassadors for the forces. It was certainly common knowledge for all the right reasons who we were representing.
Cowes Week -
Class 4 IRC
|20||LITTLE XTRA III||17||(DNF)||14||13||(NOD)||16||(RET)||15||109|
|21||BIG BOYS TOYS||22||(DNF)||18||22||(RET)||13||9||(NOD)||114|
|24||ESPRIT DE CORPS||21||(NOD)||24||(RET)||(NOD)||21||21||17||138|
|34||SIMPLY THE BEST||(OCS)||(RET)||22||(NOD)||(NER)||(NOD)||(NER)||(NER)||197|
|35||XCELLENCE OF HAMBLE||(NER)||(NER)||(NER)||25||(NER)||(NER)||(NER)||NER)||203|