Round the Isle of Sheppey Race - IOSSC, Kent, UK, 9th Sept
The clockwise endurance circumnavigation of the Isle Of Sheppey in north Kent has grown an iconic following over its 60 years since 1959 as the UK's longest annual dinghy, cat & sailboard race! At up to 40-miles the island race presents a challenging course including sea, river & estuary sailing over tidal conditions.
This year was a fast one whilst not overly windy at 13-17 knots. The SW wind made the long legs up and down Sheppey a broad reach and a fetch which together with the high tide minimised distance and allowed for fast angles. It only took 1 tack for me to complete the course - which is rare.
Ken Fowler arrived on Saturday to tick off a bunch of islands on the Medway for his Yodare Island Challenge
for his Cancer charities, Cancer Research and Oakhaven Hospice, before tackling the big one on Saturday. I arrived on Saturday evening in time for dinner and my tidal briefing off Ken and the locals followed by a Blues Band in Sheppey SC! Nice to meet Andrew in 2269 of Shellness SC on Sheppey! Great to see RS Aeros are alive and breeding on Sheppey!
Straight off the downwind start we had a 35 minute planing reach through the waves to the first corner. Tightening onto a medium/tight reach to the mouth of the Swale. A beat into the Swale estuary followed by a long fetch on the narrowing straight section towards the bridge. The RS Aero was wonderfully fast to manhandle under the bridge during which I overtook an RS400! The angle broadened soon after the bridge with a final planning reach out of the mouth of Medway back to the Thames estuary. A gybe on the corner to reach into the finish back at Sheppey SC. COURSE MAP
It was a great challenge and endurance feat the whole way round but ultimately the Race went in favour of the Cats and those with leverage (trapezes or racks) who revelled in the breeze.
I enjoyed the power of the RS Aero 9 to make good speed over the long distance and I am uncertain whether I would have faired better or not in a RS Aero 7 on PY. On balance, probably a little, as whilst a little slower on the downwind reaches it would have been a similar speed on the long tight fetch.
Great organisation and hospitality by Isle of Sheppey SC and a big day out as expected. Thanks to Tim Olin for the photos and Sailracer for the GPS tracking.
Lets go with more RS Aeros for a good challenge and race next year!
17th - RS Aero 9, Peter Barton, Lymington Town SC, 2549 - 3hrs36mins
37th - RS Aero 9, Andrew Priechexifried, Shellness SC, 2269 - 4hrs5mins
43rd - RS Aero 7, Ken Fowler, Highcliffe SC, 1897 - 4hrs25mins