It’s the 20th January on board our yacht and we have awoken to a beautiful sunny winter morning in Portsmouth harbour. Breakfast was followed with getting the boat ship shape for a day sail to Cowes and back, accompanied by the owners of another yacht whom we had met during the previous evening for a chat and a few glasses (Ed: only a few?) on board ship.
Both boats left Gosport at 11.35 in glorious winter sunshine and with a light NE breeze blowing. Both yachts left under engine and then set sail via the Outer Swashway for Cowes. By now the wind was on the beam and blowing 6 to 10 knots and the boats were side by side and we were enjoying the sea breeze in our faces and the remarkably
warm sunshine for the time of year. We then witnessed a quite remarkable occurrence. The big yacht sailed passed the smaller yacht and took the lead on the way to Cowes. As this happened the helm on the smaller yacht was heard to say the words “we will start racing you now”.
And so it began, with the bigger yacht opening up a gap before rounding the Prince
Consort cardinal buoy at Cowes and heading back for Gosport. A few tweaks on the sail plan and they started to open the gap further with much chuckling coming from the lady on the helm and a big smile on the skipper’s face. They returned to Gosport 20 minutes in front of the smaller yacht having won the race – well done to the bigger (and usually slower) yacht.
I should explain to all those who have not sailed with us. There is always a healthy rivalry between these two boats as to who gets there first – and usually the big yacht is in the rear. As a result of the phenomenon experienced this day, much discussion and scratching of heads has been had on this subject matter. However, to date, both skipper and crew on the bigger yacht have yet to determine what magic potion created the phenomenon, but if we can ever figure it out, watch out you others!