Royal Escape 2016

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Royal Escape 2016

The 39th running of the ‘Royal Escape’ race was held on Friday 27 th May.  The race commemorates the ‘escape to France’ of King Charles 2 in 1651 from Brighthelmstone (now Brighton) to Fecamp in northern France. Captain Tattersell who skippered the ship carrying the king to freedom was rewarded on the Kings return to the UK with an annuity that allowed him to purchase the ‘Ship Tavern’ which today is the ‘Old Ship Hotel’.

The race starts off the ‘Old Ship Hotel’ with the first mark, depending on the weather, off either Brighton marina or Hove before the fleet turn south to leave the Channel Light Vessel (CLV) to port before finishing off the pier head in Fecamp.  Following a slight (damp) delay the SCCH start at 1735 preceded the IRC start by fifteen minutes.  Due to the wind direction most yachts could round the first mark, off Brighton marina, without requiring a tack with the more race orientated yachts then setting their spinnakers for the close reach to the C.L.V.  With the sun starting to make an appearance spirits were high throughout the fleet.

‘The crew (Gregson, Gawee, Beth, Mutley, Pete, Pip & Wooderz) of Neilson Redeye celebrating their race win upon their return to Brighton’

With the wind veering slightly some yachts were seen to peel to ‘code zeros’ whilst some had to return to ‘white’ sails as they approached mid channel.  A slight course change at the C.L.V. meant that the wind went further forward and the close reach became a very close reach.  The fleet leaders also saw an increase in wind speed as they started to clear the shipping lanes, resulting in most having to return to just ‘white’ sails, probably a wise decision as the visibility also started to close in.

Good progress was made by most of the fleet, and with the breeze then backing it allowed kites to be flown again for the sprint to the finish.  With the visibility improving slightly land was finally spotted when 1.5 miles offshore.  The finish line, off the pier head, requires a ‘hand brake turn’ once crossed, but all managed this safely, including the many single/double handed yachts competing.

The mid-fleet IRC rated Hyde powered J105 ‘Neilson Redeye’, following a safe start, worked its way through the fleet to be amongst the front runners in the IRC fleet on the water at the first mark of Brighton marina. Having discussed the kite options pre-start as the wind oscillated, the decision to use the dedicated reaching kite as the breeze settled down proved to be the right choice.  Their position within the fleet improved as the race progressed through both general good speed coupled with being able to use their kite for longer than most.

Once the results had been calculated the Neilson Redeye team were pleased to hear they had not only won IRC 1 by over twelve minutes but also the IRC overall.  Whilst the yacht had to be sailed/crewed and pointed in the right direction, special mention must go to the team at Hyde Sails who designed and built the sails, especially the afore-mentioned reaching kite.  Using a ‘panelled’ GPL carbon mainsail and headsail, and a 0.75oz kite, all the sails are into their third season of use proving that well-made sails can provide both performance potential and longevity.

For further information on Hyde Sails please contact Wooderz via;  or 07764 933 894   

Hyde Sails Ltd, Harbour Building Office A, Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4NB

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