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Class Captains Spring Newsletter

It has been a fantastic start to the season. The weather and winds have been quite kind and there are so many boats out sailing. Over Easter there were 20 boats racing compared to 11 last year. The WER has been very well supported with 11 boats out this week. Remarkably, Roger Yeoman supported by Jeremy Llewelyn and Mike Marsdin managed to fit two races and a general recall in to 90 minutes.

The next few weeks and months are going to be very busy and we have a few initiatives we are going to introduce.

Firstly, TONIGHT. If you can get to the club we are having a talk by the Cowes Week Regatta Director, Laurence Mead. Cowes Week is a huge part of XOD history. In 2024 we will be celebrating 100 years of XOD racing at Cowes Week. With our three keelboat classes, Itchenor makes up a very large part of the Cowes Week entry so it’s continued success is important to us and the UK sailing industry. Laurence’s talk is titled “Cowes Week Myths, Reality & The Future” and he is happy to answer questions on all aspects of the event.

Sailing Schedule. This year there are a few evolutionary changes to the racing schedule hopefully addressing members concerns. The number of races is slightly reduced, and I have asked for longer races when there are “top-of-the tide” conditions. All the OOH days are now before the Solent regattas. The passage race to Seaview is on Sunday 7th July so boats can continue to Cowes, Hamble and beyond. Points Week races will not form part of the Divisional Championships. This will hopefully benefit boats that race most often at the club rather than those who only sail in the big fleet events.

Points Week. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a great week of weather. With so many boats launching plus several visitors, this could be the biggest fleet the club has seen for a long time. We have a new venue for the Class Captains party. No, I haven’t moved to Itchenor. The Week’s social programme is coming together. I am sure we will all enjoy drinking the Haines Fizz at Jetty House and dancing to whichever band plays 70’s hits at the Point's Week Party.

Rules observance, behaviour, protests, arbitration and training. Maybe it’s the large fleets, the unusual wind directions, the short courses or just rustiness but there has been a lot of shouting on the water and muttering in the bar. Before we get in to the main part of the season, let’s address this. I plan to run a series of emails explaining the most common issues that arise around the course – the Start, Right of Way, Tacking, Crossing, Luffing, Calling for Water, Windward and Leeward mark rounding. There is a lot of useful information available and as a start I have attached a Racing Rules of Sailing Chart which shows which rules apply to certain situations. We will be holding some informal lunchtime rules discussions using real world situations. I am hoping we can get some of our “hotshots” to lead the discussions. If we can’t resolve the situation on the water, the standard procedure is to make a Protest. This is something none of us want to do. There is an easier, quicker way of formally discussing the incident; Arbitration. This is endorsed by the club. We are arranging for a couple of expert club members, probably from other fleets to by our Arbitrators. The parties involved can meet quickly after sailing with the Arbitrator and hopefully resolve their differences.

Personally, I am a great believer in taking Penalty Turns. If you have miss-judged a crossing, hit a mark or infringed someone just spin around. It doesn’t ruin your day and you can enjoy your second slice of cake (or pint of beer) with a clear conscience.

This weekend we have six races (3 to count) for the Felix Bowl. The forecast has a wind strength to suit everyone but wear lots of layers.

On Sunday 12th May we have our first OOH day with 4 races out, around and back in to the harbour. The Swallows aren’t joining us this time. They are probably still embarrassed that last year we beat them back to the club, despite giving them a 5-minute head start. I will be your Race Officer ably assisted by the glamourous Renee. I’ll send an email out next week with my plans for the day when we have a better idea of the forecast.

I hope you all have a great season and if you have any questions or suggestions please send me an email or buy me a drink at the bar.