The crew of my brother Peter, Robin Lawton and I were looking forward to the race given the forecast of northerly winds predominating although with a few dreaded variables thrown in, light and probably decent conditions for us. Our start in the back eddy off the beach was reasonable with the kite up and just about showing signs of life as we crept over the line in the close company of many others trying to elude the strong adverse tide in little wind. We did well in the drift past Egypt Point but then came to a halt as we lost the back eddy. By then a few of the fleet had decided to reach up across the current and head for the mainland shore presumably in search of a bit of wind and the easier trip against the tide along the mainland shore. Getting nowhere we decided to follow suit as there appeared to be something out there in the middle, not enough to stem the tide completely but enough to get to the other side somewhere West of Royal Thames.Part way across we saw the Harbour Master bearing down on us, blues and twos going and shouting something inaudible on the tannoy, followed by a very large container ship. In the spirit of ‘Let’s not get mown down tonight ‘ we started the engine and motored rapidly SW further away from West Bramble for a couple of minutes and by then the ship had started it's turn and was easily clearing us. We then sailed back to the engine start position before continuing racing. Somehow the spinnaker was working in whichever direction we went. We continued to reach across the tide but before reaching the shallows the wind filled in from the South West and it was white sails from there for the beat to the Needles. Rounding Lepe Spit we set about catching Xara, which to our surprise, we managed fairly quickly. Ahead we could see Girolle, Whistler and a rapidly disappearing Longue Pierre. On the beat to the Needles we felt we had gained a bit of distance on Girolle and Whistler but very little, still good for us as they rate higher.Round Bridge about midnight with sheets eased. About 1 am the wind started to free so it was spinnaker time again. We stayed on the optimum downwind angle until we were steering over 240 degrees then gybed to get back to a closer bearing to that needed. Once dawn broke we could not make out any of our fleet and were surprised at how few ships we encountered crossing the shipping lanes. The approach to Alderney was somewhat taxing, whichever gybe we were on felt poor but in the end settled to make sure we were uptide of the harbour entrance for the last few miles in. We spotted Whistler behind us so that raised our spirits then heard Girolle on the radio giving her finishing time. Some quick calculations and we reckoned we just had time to get in and beat her on corrected. We crossed the line just before midday with the assistance of Peter Chartres giving us the call as we crossed the finishing line and we were inside our target time to beat Girolle.We did a nifty buoy pickup without resorting to starting the engine and then saw Longue Pierre looking tidy, all sails stowed and no one on board. This gave us the impression of her having finished a lot earlier than us so we hoped for a podium finish and a possible second place. It was a real pleasure to find out later that we had managed a win with a reasonable margin of 10 minutes.Saturday evening was a good time to chat to fellow competitors and relax having had a nice kip during the afternoon although we did have to walk up to St Annes later for a bite to eat and watch the first half of a disappointing performance by England.Our trip back on Sunday was pretty quick, motored to mid channel then a South Westerly kicked in giving us a great ride to the Needles and then back to Cowes via Calshot to drop off Robin. A great weekend with a wonderful result, weather wasn’t bad either.