Looking Back on the Morgan Cup Fastnet Qualifier June 2023

Posted by Mary Coles on 18 July 2023

2023 Morgan Cup 1

Six HOEOCA members began the 2023 Fastnet race campaign as part of an 11-strong crew: Alistair Kingham, Eduardo Moran, Ed Osicki, Stuart Jones, Mark Parker, Ben Hudson. Kate Bould and Paul Russell were unavailable for this first race of our campaign.

It was a very frustrating race, not helped by the 30-minute delayed start for the RC02 class. It may not seem a long delay, but it was to prove costly in getting out of the Solent in very light winds with the tide approaching Springs. As you can see below, we spent just short of 8 hours attempting to exit the Solent and getting around Bembridge. At one point (circled) we anchored to prevent being pushed backwards by the tide, albeit a little too close for comfort to Bembridge shore.

2023 Morgan Cup 2

Winds were consistently light from ENE - E - ESE ranging 6kts down to 0kts with gusts never more than 9kts. You can see from the readings above that EH01 was going nowhere fast. Light wind sailing was at its worst for much of the race.

The crew battled on for 24 hours but were still well short of the Dartmouth finish with little chance of completing the race with the winds dropping to 1 -2kts and often 0kts. The sea state in Lyme Bay when we decided to retire is pictured below. The forecast was not set to improve, and unfortunately there was insufficient time to battle on and return to Cowes in time for our respective work on Monday. Reluctantly we retired from the race and made for Weymouth under engine.

A subsequent 4am start on Sunday morning to catch the tide and motor back to Cowes ensured we would be home for work on Monday!!

  • At 15tonnes EH01 was not competitive against lighter boats on this occasion. Our time will come in future races.
  • When we retired around thirty of the lighter or smaller boats from the classes that started ahead of us had finished. They were more suited to the conditions and made the most of their earlier starts. Congratulations to those crews – they deserved it.
  • Most of the ninety or so boats that started retired earlier. Six boats remained undeclared when we retired.

2023 Morgan Cup 3

We may not have successfully completed the race but we gave our all and we learned a lot about EH01 and ourselves.

We now have a two week break before the Cowes - Dinard - St Malo race on Friday 7 July. We then have a final training weekend on 15 & 16 July before the Fastnet itself on 21 July.

Navige difficile et nihil relinque in aquis


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