British Police at Cowes,
Police Sport UK National Offshore Sailing Champions are Notts Police Sailing Section and once again they represented the British Police during Cowes Week. This year it was back to the J109 Fleet.
Skipper Pete Walters recounts the endeavours of the Notts team.
Sept, 2010 - YouTube video now linked - See bottom of page.
British Police on Stalker J109 Cowes Week 2010.
Notts Police having won the Police Sport UK Offshore event 2009, took part in
Cowes week 2010 in the J109 class.
There were 35 boats in the J109 class with about 50% being charter boats.
We had chartered our boat from Jellyfisher Charters based on the Hamble, collecting the boat at 1300 hrs on the Friday. I have sailed the J109 on 2 previous Cowes weeks, however the majority of the crew were new to the boat and it’s asymmetrical spinnaker. We had the choice of 3 spinnakers and 3 Genoa’s, which were to be selected according to the prevailing conditions.
Upon collecting the boat we had a representative from the charter company on board for the Friday afternoon to take us through some boat handling and spinnaker hoists and drops. After 3 hours we seemed to have this sorted, so we entered the Medina River and berthed at the East Cowes Marina.
6 of us slept on the boat overnight and then removed all unnecessary items from the boat to go racing. We had booked a caravan at Waverley Park for the week and would be day sailing the boat in order to keep the weight down. Each day seemed to melt into the next with starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron line and committee boat during the week.
We were certainly not the slickest team on the water. However, as the week progressed we got better and started to beat some of the more established teams. The fleet is renowned as a competitive fleet so we knew a win was very unlikely but a top ten overall would be a good result for us. We raced each day, which for Cowes was not quite the norm as one day is normally lost due to lack of wind. However the wind seemed to pick up to 20 knots most days just after we had started, generally meaning we started over canvassed and had to then manage or do a sail change. We seemed quite quick off wind however the first couple of days we struggled to gybe the spinnaker effectively and lost places whilst the mess was sorted.
The most memorable day for me was the Friday and the final race. The wind had been averaging 15 knots before the start, however within 5 minutes of us starting had increased to over 20 knots so we started with the number 2 genoa when the no. 3 would have been the right one. We got to the first mark mid fleet for a mile downwind; a poor spinnaker hoist with the spinnaker in the water stopped us for a bit allowing others to overtake. Next leg into the wind again saw us drop back due to carrying the wrong genoa but downwind we overtook until the next upwind leg. On the last buoy before the race downwind with several gybe marks to the finish we were apparently in 25th to 30th position. We took a different route to other boats downwind in the foul tide but with more wind (25 Knots) and started to overtake packs of boats. We did not broach the same number of times other teams did and were more efficient with the spinnaker hoist, gybes and drops. By the end of the race we had surfed at 15 knots and crossed the line in 10th place, overtaking the more established teams. The whole crew enjoyed the exhilarating sail.
Another notable event within the week included a down wind section in 6 knots of breeze that suddenly turned into 45 knots of wind, flattening the boat with spinnaker up. One of the crew managed to slide from the coach roof into the sea but landed on the toe rail, which was well submerged. We could only identify his location as we could see his sunglasses on his head. We later heard the island had experienced some mini tornadoes, which I believe we had done also.
By the end of the week the team had certainly come together and the boat handling had become sharper. We had learned to sail the J109 at almost the same speed as the regular teams, had beaten the majority of the charter J109’s within the fleet and achieved our goal as we finished 10th overall.
As the winning skipper of the Police Sport UK offshore 2010 I personally would like to have another go at Cowes Week in the same fleet representing the British Police and Police Sport UK, providing the costs do not prohibit this.
Overall Results with thanks to http://www.cowesweek.co.uk which carries full details of the event.
|10||BRITISH POLICE ON STALKER||11.0||21.0||5.0||18.0||5.0||8.0||10.0||78.00||57.00|
|25||BNP PARIBAS 2||24.0||34.0||21.0||31.0||22.0||20.0||25.0||177.00||143.00|
|26||BNP PARIBAS 1||29.0||23.0||31.0||21.0||28.0||18.0||27.0||177.00||146.00|
|30||HOWDEN INSURANCE BROKERS||27.0||31.0||19.0||26.0||36.0||34.0||23.0||196.00||160.00|
|31||YEOMAN OF WIGHT||33.0||30.0||29.0||29.0||31.0||23.0||19.0||194.00||161.00|
Pictures - Copyright Rick Tomlinson - J109 fleet, Cowes Week 2010