Nick Wood reports…….
It has been a rollercoaster week to say the least for myself and “team” Origami. It is amazing how life can change in the blink of an eye!
ORIGAMI competed in the 2023 Multihull National Championships held in the Solent. The crew was Bobby Wells (recently rejoined the RB), Owen Pay, now resident on the isle of Wight and myself.
21 boats competed in 8 races that were held over 3 days, organised by The Royal Victoria YC and the Bembridge Sailing Club. These two yacht clubs went above and beyond to welcome and accommodate the competitors. Having raced extensively in the Solent it was refreshing to compete on windward/leeward courses and triangular courses in areas of the Solent with minimal tidal effect.
The competing boats ranged from small 24ft catamarans to NRB, the “RB rocket ship” trimaran owned by Julian Linton. Visitors came from as far west as Plymouth and three boats from the east coast (in addition to NRB and ORIGAMI, there was TRIASSIC, owned and helmed by our good friend and regular Whitsun Regatta and Burnham Week competitor Nigel Stevens).
After 7 races it came down to ORIGAMI and ALINI (a bigger 30ft Farrier trimaran) sailed by Mark Upton-Brown for the championship.
The wind faded during the last race, and we started in 8 knots of light breeze. The regatta was decided on the last leg of this last race with the Solent breeze competing with the new sea breeze approaching from the east which made for tricky conditions.
On ORIGAMI, we used every sail aboard on the last leg, seeking any extra tenth of boat speed available. We finished 90 seconds behind ALINI, which was enough to squeak into the lead and the Championship by 1 point.
An exciting end to a lovely few days. Many thanks to Bobby + Owen.
Nigel Stevens on TRIASSIC finished 5th and NRB sailed by Julian Linton finished 11th despite counting a DNS due to a daggerboard problem. A good showing from the East coast!
On Saturday ORIGAMI started the Round the Island race (with Nick Geaves and a friend Ben from the south coast aboard) on a grey and unsettled day.
We had a fantastic beat to the Needles, actually catching many of the fleet of Class One 50 ft yachts that started 10 minutes ahead of us!
We rounded the lighthouse in 15 knots of breeze, put up the spinnaker and all was well for about 5 minutes.
Without any warning a massive katabatic gust hit us off the high cliffs of the island, which pointed the bows to the sky and within 3-4 seconds we were swimming! A very, very localised mini tornado had hit us and there was only one result.
Most importantly, Nick, Ben and myself escaped any injury, We were picked up very quickly by the RNLI with Simon + Mary Barnes (and Nathalie) standing by in the new rib RANGER.
There were a lot of other incidents resulting in damage in the race, which meant we spent about two hours on the large Yarmouth lifeboat.
Late on Saturday afternoon with the help of Simon, his powerful rib, and the heroics of Rory Munro we attempted salvage of ORIGAMI, which was now 7 miles west of the Needles but with the sea state and building breeze that was sadly impossible.
ORIGAMI remained upside down for two days while the seas eased, moving east and west with the tide until she appeared on the beach near to Ventnor on Tuesday morning. A fishing boat towed her to a small “port” in Ventnor.
We recovered her onto the trailer on Wednesday, and she is now is on the Island awaiting assessment for repairs.
A huge thanks go to Simon and Mary Barnes for their support throughout the weekend (and burgers just when we needed them !). We have also received many messages of support from members of the RBYC, for which we are very grateful.
We have had ORIGAMI for 16 seasons and without doubt 2023 will go down as the most “memorable “ yet !!!