CTC report...

Jon Fuller

Mar 12, 2004
Cruising area
South Coast
Boat name
Boat make
Phantom 28
...following Deans lead.

Ok, after an interesting cowes 100 on Friday, all looked pretty good for Swipes for our race on Sunday. That is, until we realised late on Saturday that a hard landing the previous day had bent one of our engine mount legs. mmmn, not a good sign at all and this could well be putting our drive coupling out of alignment, also, once bent, bending it some more might well be even easier.
Right, what we'll do is....

The weather was supposed to be a W, N-W force 5 to 6, so there should be some shelter to be had from the close in course method, or 'doing a Sopwith' as it's known...thats our plan, go for a finish, can't let that Gordon fella whoop our arses again through a breakdown!

After a trundle down the Solent, we start our anti-clock muster and continue to discuss the strategy. All sounded really good on paper, from Fairway, straight across to the coast at Peveril and take the smooth, fast and engine mount friendly route to the Skerries mark....easy!

Start run & green flag away and within 30 seconds we're running into a pretty healthy swell. By the Fairway mark, we're getting air off 3 to 4 foot waves and they aint getting any smaller!..... bang, crash, wallop, OMG, that poor feckin engine mount! Quick, get over to Peveril, lets get out of this **** before summat breaks! Well, I don't reckon there was any feckin 'N' in that wind at all! little or no shelter from the shore, so we pushed on, wincing with every impact, just waiting for what seemed like the inevitable faltering stbd motor that would follow the mount failing.
As we agot got closer to Portland, there was increasing shelter and calmer sea being in the lea of the bill, but never particularly friendly to the kit.
We watched Mike Bontoft in Dry Martini taking fantastic air over to our port sort side, quite spectacular!
We approached Portland bill expecting the worst, and we weren't disappointed! The usual confused race at the bill was sending up some steep, tall water, we started taking the tops off a few and ducking to avoid the good old 'cricket bat' smash in the face, then bang, and I hear 'oh f*ck', my visors gone. Nick had failed to duck in time. Unbelievably, the wave had removed Nicks visor, but dumped it in his lap!! Off the plane and we manage to re-attach the visor. Back under way just in time to find ourselves alongside Tony Toll in the Apache. What a fab sight running along side him.

Upon rounding the awkward as Fkk bill, we run slightly north to see if the land is offering any protection, but not a chance! We quickly decide to ditch the 'Sopwith' plan and fix our course directly for the Skerries bouy, straight across the bay. 40 odd miles of breaking head sea..perfect! Just what we need for our survival with a suspect engine mount. At this stage I was convinced there was no way we'd make the 205 miles and invisaged another crawl back to Cowes in shite conditions from our usual farthest point breakdown!
We set the boat up to put the least stress on the mount, full bow tank, tabs half way down, drives tucked right in, with the bow pushing it's way though everything, running virtually downhill.

We run in company with TT for probably half of Lyme Bay, but he gradually pulled farther inshore and ahead of us until out of sight. (taking a longer route, we see him pass later on)

I found I could pick up a good 10mph by picking the tabs up a bit and trimming the drives out a tad, but the punishment on the boat increased 5 fold. As this was definitely a damage limitation exercise to try & get a finish, we opted for the slower, kinder setting.

Approaching the Skerries mark, the sea became kinder as we ran into the lea of start point and the run up to Torquay and round Torbay was absolute bliss!

Still unsure about the 'Sopwith' manoeuver and it's merits, we again headed slightly north as we left Torbay, but as we were still in the lea, it was actually pretty calm and before long we again set for a direct course across the bay to Portland.
Ten minutes later Nicks saying to me "That was a mistake Johnnyboy!", Mnnn, you might be right!
By half way across Lyme bay we were in a large, breaking following sea, with every 5th or 6th wave simply too high to keep the bow above it. The classic surfing down the backs of the waves at around 50mph, straight into the back of the next wave, with the instinctive 'duck' followed by temporary darkness & whoosh as the dark green monster passes overhead....then I hear aaahhh, bollox! my visor's gone again! This time, the monster had taken it permanently, along with our two on board cameras.
I start thinking to myself, jeez, we've got 80 miles to go yet and there's more salt spray than you can imagine coming at you like a jet wash, how on earth can Nick keep this up without a visor, he can't see ****!...then BANG, another cricket bat moment and I've been caught by one....Oh ****, my visors gone too!...hang on (still running 50mph) this all seems different, and noisy! ****, my helmets gone! I look round at Nick, he's looking back in astonishment..F*ckin ell! he says.
We drop off the plane and make a 180 to back track, but in this huge breaking water there's already no sign of where we've just come from, no white water trail, nothing, just large green bastards rolling about all over the place.
We head back on a reciprocal course and after about 1/2 mile Nick spots my helmet bobbing about. after 5 or 6 attempts we manage to retrieve it, minus the visor of course!

What a testament it is to the Greytronics Boat Intercoms system that once retrieved and back on my bonce, I plugged back in and to my relief Nick was still there, load & clear through the comms!.. now thats robust & durable electronics kit!
Back under way the sea is becoming more and more unpleasant, made worse with our lack of visors and subsequent poor visibility.
Time to try things closer to the shore! we head north again and run for 15 miles to see if things improve closer to the beach....nope! We see a boat pass making very good headway, we think this must be TT in the 41 Apache, those extra 9 feet of length, foot of beam and volume in the bow making it eat up the big following sea. 'We're in the wrong boat' I find myself thinking.

We struggle to Portland where FF takes his marvelous submarine pic and quickly tuck in behind the bill where we get a very, very welcome break from the punishing following sea, but it's short lived.
The sea continues to dish out some bloody rotten following mountains and green overhead monsters all the way back to North Head, indeed, even the Solent by now was snotty as hell (and to think I'd been dreaming of getting in the comfort of my familiar waters).
The boat refused to run any faster than 52 in the Solent, with one motor 500rpm down and a general stogy feel to things.
It turns out we had a bilge full of water as the bilge pump impellers had apparently gone awol! (handy that)
I have to say, I was pretty pleased to cross that line and drop off the plane. 4 hours 55 mins, one piss in my race suit, loss of new HD on board camera, helmet, fave sunglasses, what a day! Would I do it again?...F*ck yeah.
... how on earth can Nick keep this up without a visor, he can't see ****!...then BANG, another cricket bat moment and I've been caught by one....Oh ****, my visors gone too!...hang on (still running 50mph) this all seems different, and noisy! ****, my helmets gone!

dem wazunt waivs yew nobbur

dat woz misster garrside an charly bowlam wiv lorng wudden powles

wakk wakk

gott yer yer bastud:drain:
That was a very entertaining read!! How many times did you submarine like in the photo? Crazy stuff, real proof of the boat's build and your balls!! :hugegrin:
That was a very entertaining read!! How many times did you submarine like in the photo? Crazy stuff, real proof of the boat's build and your balls!! :hugegrin:

Can't say for sure, probably between 30 & 50. most similar to the pic. The one that removed my helmet was quite a bit deeper than the one in Grahams shot.
Race Report from Cinzano

I guess Markus will have something to say later when he gets back to Germany but here is my perspective:
It all started at briefing: Rob Andrews " you will all be fine in Marathon boats "
I suspected big seas as it had been blowing all week and Friday was not a calm race either.
We had quite a good start towards the right of the fleet and arrived at Needles Fairway behind Fabio and Martin Lai. Turned into a big head sea and so headed slightly North to try to find some shelter off Swanage - to no avail.
Still running about fourth by Anvil Point, Vee and Gareth, (who need their head's felt) had just eased up alongside and Dredge in Keracoll was about 300 yards in front. As we rounded Anvil we kept in shore and then headed for the Northern tip of the Portland Mass.
Still big seas, a problem for us, our props were too long. So Markus had to trim out the drives to get revs and then put plenty of tab down to keep the nose from going skyward. Still only reving at about 3500 and doing I guess about 60. Hot Lemon was by now on the scene and we all followed a big arc down to the Bill.
As we rounded, quite close in, I made the decision, with Eric, to go North. At was all Markus could do to keep us on the plane into the head seas, big and confused, plenty of white horses. We ran up Chesil Beach about a mile or two offshore for say half an hour, with Hot Lemon, the Grey Scorpion and Venturer, fairly snotty confused seas but workable- just. Still taking plenty of air as to get the revs Markus had to trim out.
We had a very smart new compass, the pride of German manufacturing, (apparently), and it by now had started to beat itself to death. First all the fluid drained out, (looked like one of those snow shaker things), and then the spring damped rose went mad beating itself into the glass dome. In my own mind I could see it all landing in my visor ! Fortunately on one very big jump it all went South, punching it's way out of the brass case into the bilge, never to be seen again.
Around Bridport we all started the run South with a Stbd quartering sea. Venturer almost spun out and stopped suddenly, we got waived on as they were OK.
Passed Torbay about three miles out and had a fairly good run down the the Skerries, turned North passed Dartmouth and at last found calm water. Passed the Grey Scorpion just before Berry Head and into Torbay.
Oh what bliss calm water and over 100 ! Quite a cross wind off the port bow kept us concentrating, turned the Torquay mark just behind the Deacons.
Had a hairy moment when going very quickly passed Hot Lemon as we caught a wake on the side and had a moment, at one stage I thought we could roll, at about 90 + but she's an incredible old beast, recovered herself and looked after us brilliantly.
Decided on straight across the bay, still a decision I would stand by. Markus trimed out and off we went. Speed was about 50 ish, we seemed to tuck into very few at this stage and having statred the stopwatch at Torqay I saw the Bill about 30 minutes later. But it always seems to take ages to get there when you see it !
By now the seas were again bigger and we took the tops off a few, passed in fairly close, same mark boat trolling about just to the East- well done guys !
Boat was, apart from the compass, absolutely peachy, Markus however was suffering from dehydration and was having to try to concentrate very hard.
I always guzzle water just before a race, as Fuller says, better to pee in your suite !
Just past Anvil, which was snotty, Hot Lemon caught us again, benefitting from a big bow tank I should think.
We ran behing her from there to North Head, it was good for Markus to have someone to follow to guage speeds. An issue that we had not resolved all week was that out brand new Raymarine C140W sceeens did not want to show SOG, (Speed Over Ground), we were relying on my little RC400 and the batteries were flat by now ! They were however still working in every other way and the NMEA engine date worked well on half of my display.
So we rounded North Head and ran up to Hirst neck and neck with Mike and Dave, then opened the taps as we entered the Solent.
Passed my boat, Splash, who were marshalling there, to much waving and excitement, big jump on their wash !
Little did we know that they would then be towing in Hot Lemon to Yarmouth, who ran out of fuel in front of them !
Ran up to Gurnard very quickly, at last we were home, we had no idea in what position.
Markus drank three litres of water on the way back into Cowes and felt a little better, Eric's ankles held up, turned out we were fourth overall. A good result in the conditions.
Looking at the boats in front:
Fabio- says it all, big heavy, four motors reliable, natural winner.
Keracoll- again longer than us, by 8 feet, heavy diesel.
Fury - must be bl**dy mad, terrific effort.
Us - Happy to be back safe and sound.
Then we heard about Dredge's little liferaft problem but that's another story !
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Great account

Great write up John :up:

Seems like you had a very hard time out there:devilish:
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Guys....great write-ups! Fantastic! Keep them coming, and why do we not have more photos yet??

Poor Nick and Fuller, you sound like you may as well jet-skied around the course! I though you were mad before, now I know you are! BTW, huge congrats from me for your 3rd place in the World Championships,:cheers: I'm sure that deserves some sort of trophy! I have got an old wooden toilet seat that I'm sure we could get engraved...It would only be perpetual though, you'd have to hand it back for 2011, and who's house would it live in! Seriously, great effort. I heard that Jon, you looked as though you were suffering from a mild sate of hypothermia when you got back in??!! I was going to lend you a dry suit, but after your little confession you can feck off!

Cinzano, looked and sounded fantastic. What a great old boat she is. So glad that she brought you home safely. Poor Markus, dehydration is very very dangerous in that sort of environment, as it hugely affects mental performance. A reduction of just 2% bodyweight through dehydration, can account for a loss of 10 - 20% in physical and metal reaction times, so, Markus did really well to keep at it...Respect! When we came across the finish with Gareth and Vee, the first thing they asked us for was water. You'll remember your CamelBaks next time! Well done for your fantastic effort!

Hot Lemon..
I'd love to know more about the fuel run-out, come on guys..you can tell us!
Hot Lemon..
I'd love to know more about the fuel run-out, come on guys..you can tell us!

Possibly not for me to say, but Hey! Mike D. told me on Sunday pm that they had trouble with the stbd engine all the way down to TQ & back.
It was burning too much fuel, & smoking.
He had told me that it had been stripped down twice I think, pre-race, & no apparent faults found.
Anyway, it was that engine burning too much fuel that snookered them so close to home.
Western Solent not a happy place for Hot Lemon over the last two CTC's sadly.
Hot Lemon..
I'd love to know more about the fuel run-out, come on guys..you can tell us!

I must admit the 1st time I saw the provisional placings on Sunday I could not figure out what happen to poor Hot lemon as they were just a few hundred meters in front of Cinzano at Hurst, although you knew they would not stay in front as you could see Cinzano hit the throttles down as they moved into the calmer water creating a simular fate for Hot Lemon as last years showdown to the flag ... poor guys they've probably all drowned themselves in the Solent after doing so well and getting so so close to the flag, although didn't this fate also happen to Hannes Bohinc last year in roughly the same place
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Hot Lemon..
I'd love to know more about the fuel run-out, come on guys..you can tell us!

Such a shame as they were going so well. That boat seems to fly so level, and seems to cut through the top few feet of the wave, reducing the amount of air that it then takes. I sort of hoped it might be a leak or rich burn, as opposed to simple quantity, looking forward to hearing from the horse's mouth!
Hi Grey Ghost, first post chaps so take it easy on me.......

Just like to add our story and thanks to everyone behind the scenes to make these events happen especially safety teams.

For us this was our first race and what an event. In short we had a great experience, the start went well and managed to get stuck in from the green flag, for newbie's I have lots of personnel freeze frame moments running along side the big boats, the mixed sound of open exhaust notes meters away from us, a bloody marvellous tune, shame we never used one of those bullet cams on our helmets, the site of 5 ton plus race boat hurtling some 3 meters in the air all around you is a great memory.

Our target was to keep Hot Lemon in sight, clearing Poole Bay noting he was some 300m to Starboard with some of you bigger chaps in between us, time to find another gear, kept pushing hard and eventually worked our way up to HL running along side Andy in Venturer and Mr Cinzano, again more freeze moments of the 4 of us running together taking turns to practice our flying lessons out of the water up to Portland, chuffed to have pulled back the distance on HL. Then drama, just as we approached Portland as we landed from our turn of flying practice our windscreen shattered on my side, managing to look over the window as all four of us rounded Portland together, the laminated sheet held up for a few more hundred meters but eventually the sheet was ready to leave us and managed to punch it away. At this point we noted Mr V and Mr C taking different lines to tackle the joys of the Bay, we choose to take HLs line but as a chap multi tasking with the window frame deciding to full apart and trying to maintain any challenge on HL, I failed at the HL bit and had to take it on the chin, he was slowly making distance on us. We managed to keep him in sight on the horizon but had to accept that little part of the race had been finalised, some time later Venturer passed us still in the Bay looking very comfortable, just as he did he pulled up, sorry to see that Andy, hope all is well.

Finally we hit the first mark across the Bay, joy and more joy, never been so happy to ride on flat water which isn't the old girls first choice of sea state. Mr C then passed us with ease. Our next little drama was upon us, for some reason the starboard engine kept dropping out momentarily, this kept happening but was a further worry, we cleared the marks and fortunately no one behind us at this stage. It was time to consolidate, keep the speed but nurse the old girl home pronto.

Cleared the Bay and rounded Portland, still no one behind, thank god, at this time we started to hear on the VHF of other boats finishing, lucky buggers, still no one behind us, keep going old girl, cleared the further mark at Hurst and flat out up the Solent, still no one behind us, at last the finish line, we crossed it, at bloody last, as soon as I pulled back the starboard engine stopped. The pair of us felt completely dehydrated, blood on the grab handles from poor old Martin who firmly believes I tried to kill him that day. One of our fellow BIBOA members came up to us and told us that we stood at 5th and made us aware of HL. Well what a day in the office that was, could not believe it.

Back to our starboard engine, thinking I had ran out of fuel we went down to the fuel pontoon first, I checked fuel flow scan and worked out we should still had some 80 plus litres easily. It turned out that the positive lead to the starter motor had sheared off, assume the end was flapping around and shorting out hence our momentary blips.

Looking back its hard to remember if we ever had a genuine moment when we lost confidence in Grey Ghost, the handling and ride quality was always so reassuring it seemed to be a very natural place to be, for us a stepped hull Scorpion Sting is the way to go, for the odd race to family cruising, she ticks the box in pretty much most areas, even has a WC in her for the ladies...........

Cheers Phil :cheers:
Great report Jon, we have added ours. We thought we had a rough time of it until I read your report! Hopefully all these running reports will make up for the lack of coverage elsewhere. Just to reinforce what others have said Hot Lemon is fantastic in the rough as was the other grey rib. We were struggling to keep up with Hot Lemon across Lyme Bay they just seemed to munch through it and looked very solid. Such a great team!

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Well done Phil
that was certainly a baptism of fire for your first race, but your boat looked great when we saw you. Hope the damage isn't too bad! Are you running Yanmar 315's like HL then? Standard install, or 'fettled'?

Off the shelf 315s, with attention to mounts, bravo XR.

I have crewed on a few events but, first event as boat owner driver, never really understood the additional pressure the Owner/Driver has up until this weekend, all the prep etc.


Off the shelf 315s, with attention to mounts, bravo XR.

I have crewed on a few events but, first event as boat owner driver, never really understood the additional pressure the Owner/Driver has up until this weekend, all the prep etc.


Phil, hell of an effort, well done, I have to say that I enjoyed passing you on the run up from Dartmouth though !

Well I started the day on Sunday up early looking at the met office report thinking to myself this is gonna be lumpy! All I need on my Birthday!!!

The start run went ok apart from Drew weaving to our left trying to get Silverline on the plane and I recall Buzzi being on our right. We rounded Needles fairway safely and quickly settled in to our ryhthm. Being in a canopy does not give you the best visability of who is behind you but Buzzi was ahead with Martin Lai on our port side and KeraKoll on our stbd. We quickly made the decision to cut in to Anvil and head straight for Portland KeraKoll in our sights and Buzzi a little further on. I started to doubt the decision we made as I could still see Martin on the plum line to Skerries looking very good (but doesn't everyone look like they are having a better ride than you!) In the lee of Portland we passed Dredge and decided to go straight for Skerries at this point we were pumped up and could not believe how Fury was performing. "**** Vee Ive changed my mind we need to go in shore of Lyme Bay" "Why Buzzi and Dredge have gone straight on" good choice me thinks as we took a little dog leg in to the bay and back out favouring the quarter beam sea as more comfortable and we were now pushing high 60s and much more comfortable. That is untill we got one wrong, had a hell of landing that made my head fall off and the rear veiw TFT screen fall on Vee's lap which he soon tired of trying to fix and ripped the fittings out the dash!

With the headland in sight we could see a rooster in the distance rounding what I hoped was the Skerries mark. All of a sudden we were able to open her up a bit round Skerries and straight to Berry Head Gate as we were running in the 90's we were quickly catching Kerakoll which was lovely as we we got ever so lonely in Lyme Bay! As Woodpower mentioned the side wind was emmence as we took some air and landed on a course back to Portland, not yet old boy we need to go into Torbay 1st' Cockpit fans on to get rid of the smell of **** after that rather nasty moment we headed for torbay firmly on the heals of Kerakoll. Rounded that and passed Dredge with ease out of Torbay and decided on the direct line (I needed to get back for a Birthday Beer)

Lyme Bay did not dissapoint again and threw up a huge nasty following sea that much like everybdy else had no choice but to go under a wave or two at times. Inevatably Dredge passed us half way and about 10 mins later we get a GMDSS alarm across the VHF and shortly after spot the coast guard Whirly Bird in the air (I wonder what could have caused that?)

With portland now in sight Vee decides to sing me Happy Birthday and various other classics, as we rounded Portland his song was cut short by a comedy moment of stuffing the boat, canopy hatch opening and a ton of the green stuff, then the hatch slamming shut. Ha good I'm wet time for a piss!!! silence for five minutes (clearly Vee had the same idea). Knowing that we we we were not that far behind Dredge i starting moving some fuel to our main tank. Fck Fck Fck every time I turn on the pumps the engines start to die. I suggest we stop put it in neutral and try again pumping the fuel as Vee commences repairs on the hatch. "Gareth have I got time for a ciggarette?" just as he says this I hear a report that Kerakoll has rounded Anvill and is the second place boat "Fck me Vee No!!! I think we are third" "Well lets fcking go then" he says to me.

From then on it was pretty easy compared to what we had just raced in apart from the bit in Poole Bay where I forgot which race we were in and started to tell Vee the Needles course "What the fck are you talking about Gareth we are going to North Head!" Yeah I knew that. Went round North Head and was really pleased to see Strickland waving a yellow flag as a Yacht race seemed to be going on at Hurst just what you need. Even though we had entered the Solent It was not time to relax because at 90 plus all those pleasure boats were coming up quick. Not that I cared I was too busy waving at Chris Davies in the Helicopter!

Well done to all that took part that was tough one!!!
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