I thought I would try to bring some clarity to our vision for 2020
The Itchenor XODs have always been the weapon of choice for many of the keener keelboat racers at the Club, largely because we can race against five other fleets when we venture out into the Solent in high summer and, increasingly, during our own Keelboat Week. This is a variation which the Swallows and Sunbeams, great boats though they are, cannot match.
Yet we will only look back on 2020 with satisfaction if we have enjoyed our domestic sailing, which varies from hard racing through soft racing to pretend racing whilst actually cruising in company 'with intent.’ And this is my focus. We will achieve this by organising the usual comprehensive roster of Club races, for which we will vary the start times on occasion to suit conditions better, adding marquee events more or less regularly through the season such as:
-April: RLYC Team Racing Invitational -May: HISC Regatta out of harbour, weather willing -June: The Eastern Solent Championships, comprising the XOD Class Association Relative Youth Championships, and the renamed Itchenor Keelboat Week. ISC Regatta take place immediately before
We then throttle back whilst a large minority go off on Solent Safari, including visits to Lymington for their XOD Week and the two Cowes Weeks. Indeed Xcitation will once again tilt at Poole Week in mid-August, although this year we were beaten back into the Solent by robust South-Westerlies. Any other boats fancy joining us as we cruise West across Christchurch Bay like Nelson to Trafalgar? Hang on a minute though, he won but came to a sticky end!
-September: The Joan Shaw Invitational, when we will invite various sailing luminaries to enjoy harbour racing in our boats. Could be a great photo opportunity and a chance to learn new skills alongside a sailing great.
Of course we mustn’t forget the ‘cruising with intent’ category, so some time in the season we will also do the following, weather and tide depending:
-The Up the Creek Challenge, which will take us from a Club line start up each finger of the Harbour in any order you choose. A great day out with picnics, compasses, tide charts and, for the lucky few, personal support craft. I will put the pressure on Alison Moss and Cheryl to accompany Xcitation on ‘Buzz’, offering us food, drink -almost certainly including Rose!- and encouraging words of advice along the way (‘I told you it was shallow there', and other helpful 'after the event’ tips no doubt).
-Saturday pitstops at E. Head or Pilsey, either for a picnic lunch, or for a bar-b-q later in the day, again depending on weather and tidal conditions.
-'Top Tips at Tea'. I would like to see us congregate a little more often at tea to swap salty stories with the winning boats, so that we can all ‘up our game.’ Of course that pre-supposes better cakes, but I’m onto that too. How about the great XOD Bake Off?