A wet and windy Solent was the setting for the 29th Oyster Regatta. 20 boats gathered in Cowes Yacht Haven for the latest series of racing and fun, which also had the magnificent backdrop of the classic yacht regatta.
The windy conditions helped add to the excitement and quality of racing. Oysters are at their best in a good blow and when the boats are powered up you can see the crews really enjoy themselves.
Race 1, sponsored by Dolphin Sails, got off to an excellent start in a good breeze. In Class 1 the larger boats slogged it out. Starry Night with her experience of racing in the Solent came out on top in front of the well sailed 56 Asante. The new 575 ISIS, sporting her full suit of Dolphin sails was a very credible 3rd followed closely by Sotto Vento. Class 2 was very tactical, with eventually Spirit of Epsilon, still using her original Dolphin sails, working the tides the best to take the race win.
Race 2 saw the fleet work their way from Cowes to Portsmouth. Again the wind was good but the rain was ‘of biblical’ proportions. With the race being predominately downwind many of the fleet choose their offwind sail rating. Using her new Dolphin fully battened mainsail Kite Runner claimed first in Class 2 ahead of the Oyster 46 Astraeus de Luz and Tenens Spirit. Class 1 had some very tight on the water action. The 655 Sotto Vento lead the fleet around the course only to lose line hours to Starry Night (Oyster 82) in the last few meters, but at least Sotto could be pleased with her 3rd place finish on handicap. The race winner, ISIS, was greatly helped by her new asymmetric set from the Karver Top Down furler. Big boats mean big sails and the introduction of furling systems that allow much easier setting of off wind sails is a huge bonus. The sail is set between a head and drum furling unit that is connected by a custom made anti torsional stay. The tack is lashed on to an independent swivel so that when the continuous furling line is pulled the sail furls from the head down. Once furled, in moderate conditions, the sail can be left in situ whilst rounding the mark or heading into a marina. This safe and easy system is becoming increasingly popular alternative to the traditional ‘squeezer’.
Race 3 returned the yachts to Cowes, thankfully in much drier conditions. The lighter breeze and upwind course suited Prince De Petarcq the Oyster SJ41 from Belgium. In Class 1 Asante sailed very well to take the honours just in front of ISIS and then Starry Night.
Going into the final race anyone of a number of boats could have won their Class. A good wind was blowing from the SW and the fleet were initially sent west before zig zagging back to the east. With plenty to play for the fleet were away from the Squadron line promptly. Class 1 had now been joined by Bare Necessities who had a great tussle with Starry Night, the latter coming out triumphant. Class 2 produced a surprise winner, with the smallest cruising Oyster, Sundance of Chichester, a 42 popped up to take victory in the last race. She was closely followed by the consistently well sailed Astraeus da Luz and Kite Runner.
With a bottle of Champagne on offer to the first boat to cross the start line in each race special mentions must go to the starting helms on Little Morton and Boysterous of Inverness, both boats kept the refrigerators full!.
ISIS is the latest Oyster 575 to be launched and the Regatta was her first major event. She has been fitted with Dolphin DYS Dyneema laminate upwind sails and an Asymmetric set on a Karver Top Down furler.
For more details on the Karver furlers and our services contact Jon Sturmer or Matthew Vincent. 01255 243366