Arcsine wins the Doublehanded Class in the Lonely Rock Race 2020

Arcsine wins Doublehanded Class in The Lonely Rock Race 2020
At the end of last year RORC announced they were going to change the finish of the next Fastnet Race to Cherbourg. Amateur crews were not in favour of this as this as it would make the race 15 to 20% longer, passing through the busy Shipping Lanes and extreme tides(who wants to be sucked down the Alderney Race!)
As a result RWYC, Plymouth, decided to offer a race on the Traditional course, in the alternate year with the RORC event. So they started to organise the Lonely Rock Race 2020(In Ireland that is what the Fastnet Rock is called, An Charraig Aonair)
All plans were going well with a start in the Solent, off the Royal Victoria Y C. Then Covid-19 struck. The race Committee did an amazing job to get the event on.
A week before the start the 15 French entries weren’t allowed to come, and many others worried about Crews on yachts overnight meant a very restricted fleet. That’s why we sail 2-Handed.
Phil Kirk joined me and we planned for the Lonely Rack Race, it was strange to be on a different start line off Ryde! We were handed a surprise bag on the start line, including 2 cans of G&T and 2 pairs of socks, courtesy of Sponsor TeamO, with instructions to celebrate rounding the Fastnet and change our socks! At this stage we were getting a bit apprehensive about the forecast as when we would be in the Celtic Sea and stories of the potential for 2 Low systems to spiral into each other.
We spinnakered down the Solent with the wind dying at times but a good tide with.
Releaved to be out of the Needles channel to the west, before the tide turned ??? wind, off St Albans the wind really died and the tide against increased, but we were in 40m of water going backwards as we debated kedging-eventually we decided it had to be done. A few hours later there was a little breeze and we made our way back to where we’d been several hours ago . Then tide with tooks us westward and we decided it was to risky(not enough wind) to shoot the inside passage at the Bill. One boat tried that and was feeling clever till they realised they could get away, with zero wind near the west side of the Bill. Were as further out we were able to work the zephyrs and gradually overhaul the fleet to take 1st place overall. We had visual on the two JPK 11.80(handicapped to be 10% faster than Arcsine.
Unfortunately as soon as the steady wind filled in the 11.80s shot off, that would not have been a problem except that meant they had tide with at both Start Point and Lizard and the rest of us had tide against. Meanwhile the wind had now increased and we were swopping between 1 and 2 reefs with horrible seas.
In the back of my mind I was still concerned about the forecast for the Ce;tic Sea so we were trying to ensure we kept up our watch system to make sure we were as rested as poss.
Then we received a message from the Race Office that they had decided to shorten the course to around Wolf Rock not the Fastnet as the Forecast had 60 knots, huge waves, plus forecast to hit us near the Fastnet. Great relief and the Race committee were able to make the decision just in time for Pip Hare, in Open 60, Medallia, to not have passed Wolf Rock.
We approached Wolf Rock in daylight and rounded ‘a Lonely Rock’ hoisted the Code Zero as that copes better than the Assym in wavey conditions. Again we approached the Lizard with Tide against and choppy conditions. It was a great relief to finally head for Plymouth. As the wind clocked more behind us we had to decide whether to go with the Assymetric or wait till it was light enough to hoist the big 0.6 oz Symmetric. It is quite a handful for 2-Handed and certainly no chance for us to have much off watch time! Starting to get really tired. Then came a protracted discussion as to whether we could risk a gybe or whether to drop it and hoist the Assymetric. Eventually we’d calculated where we should gybe and the wind had dropped to 13 knots so we went for it. Phil did a fantastic job on the bow and we were able to hold the Main pinned in the centre. Now for the finish, on Tuesday evening with dropping winds it was just the right sail to finish, with no competition in sight. The next boat on corrected time was nearly 1hour behind.
We won the 2-Handed Class and 3rd overall. RWYC put on individual Prizegivings for each result, giving us an excellent welcome and we most appreciated RWYC being open for food and drinks!
More photos, video etc om Lonely Rock Race with RWYC website.

Submitted on 23rd September 2020