We entered the race to get some experience of a longer time at sea. In preparation two of us spent a week sailing around the south coast of the UK. Living on board and some night sails and some nights on a swinging mooring. The day to day sailing and living worked well. I installed a compact sea toilet so sailing with others means a bit more comfort rather than the bucket option. I wanted a boat for racing and cruising with friends and family.

Sleeping was fine, the cushions in the forepeak and main cabin mean two can sleep in the V-berth up front and two others in the cabin. Plenty of sleeping space. I do need to make a table for the cabin for playing cards on in the evening though.

The round the island race is a fantastic event, 1,400 yachts entered in 2022. Weather forecast was great, 15 knots most of the day, sunny and dry.

We had a start time of 8am so we got to watch some of the speed machines start before us. We got away well and were soon at the Needles beating all the way with the tide, up round to Ventnor and we could unfurl the A5, then deploy the A3 as we rounded to Ryde. Lots of close racing with boats in our class. Used the A5 all the way from Ryde to Cowes and the finish. The A5 is a really fantastic asymmetric. After many years of yacht racing with spinnakers and spinnaker poles with lots of people needed for gybing, pole setting. The use of bowsprit mounted furling asymmetrics is a joy. Not sure I’d ever go back. Easy to use single handed.

The finish was superb, speeding through the finish line. 9.5 hours total. Downside was I did not remove the outboard from the transom and we got disqualified.

On handicap we came 3rd of 4th in our class which was good, my own calculation.

The time on boat racing was a fantastic experience. Fun party in the evening in Cowes then back to Poole the next day, 25 knots of wind, beating all the way. The boat needs a good set-up to beat, when achieved it goes really well and is very dry. The high freeboard certainly helps with this.