By Thomas Hill
I met the Bee Sharp crew after getting the 6am ferry from Southampton. The sight of 30 odd Sonatas greeted me at Shepherds Wharf Marina. This was going to be interesting!
Saturday we practiced with our new sails. It’s the first time I’ve been on a Sonata for years. It was lovely to be out on the Solent in flat seas, light airs and sunshine. This would be the last we saw these weather conditions. Mother nature had other plans for us.
Day 1 was brutal. Three races, 20-25 knots across the deck. Our little crew battled on. By the end of the day, Jimmy and I had what I am coining “Sonata Claw.” This is where your forearms run out of steam and your fingers eventually need to be prized apart!
There were dis-mastings, people falling overboard, many chinese gybes (we found these to be a handy prompt as to when to change course towards the leeward mark) and forestays popping off. The sails got nicely stretched that day!
The next 3 days followed pretty much on a par. Monday (or Tuesday, it’s all a blur!) we completed 8 starts. 3 actually races, 3 general recalls and one race was cancelled. halfway through. We needed a beer after that!
We ended up mid fleet position wise. The standard of crewing within the fleet was very high. It was fantastic to watch the guys up ahead handling things so expertly. The whole fleet made us feel very welcome on and off the water. It is always exciting to be down there, seeing all the yachts that I usually see in the magazines and soaking up the atmosphere in what is probably the most famous sailing area in the world. If you have never sailed here, get it on your bucket list!
It was awesome to be part of a regatta for a little boat that has been around for 40 odd years but still appeals to sailors old and new.
Click HERE to see full results.