Red Funnel Easter Regatta

The sun finally smiled on the Red Funnel fleet and despite a cold wind persisting from the northwest six classes enjoyed excellent racing on the Solent.

Monday April 16th 2001, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: United Kingdom
Farr 40Philip Tollhurst's Warlord took the competitive Farr 40 Class by a six point margin from Tony Buckingham's well sailed but slightly less consistent Bit Of A Coup.

Blessed with the advantage of being able to see immediately who was gaining or losing, the Farr 40s sailed around for most of the weekend as if attached one to the next by a short length of elastic. Despite shipping Olympic Gold medallist Iain Percy aboard as tactician, Mark Heeley on Ocean Safety could manage no better than fifth.

While the most competitive class on the water, the standard of sailing in the Farr 40s looked way below the well honed level seen in the USA and it must be a cause for concern for the fleet as a whole that one or two well tuned foreign crews and the Americans in particular are going to be hard to beat at the Worlds in September.

Peter Morton's Mandrake was another boat which failed to reap the full benefit of having an Olympic Gold medallist in the crew. In this case it was Ben Ainslie - on leave from the troubled OneWorld America's Cup Campaign - at the helm. As Ben pointed out, racing in a mixed fleet is somewhat different from the one-on-one tuning he has been doing in the USA. Loyal to the end to his OneWorld masters, Ben refused to answer questions about a possible move to the British America's Cup Challenge. Would it be unwise to draw too many conclusions from the fact that key GBR Challenge member, Adrian Stead was also onboard?

Even to the well informed onlooker it is quite impossible to work out what is going on in the handicap classes. The leader on the water has no bearing whatsoever on the final results and the best way to find out what really happened is to look below.

The biggest upset of the weekend occurred in the protest room on Saturday night when race one for IRC Class 1 was chucked out due to problems with the time limit. The IRM 9 metre, Roller Skate Again started with class zero (instead of class one as she should) and as a result the race committee thought the first boat had finished within the time limit. When it was discovered that the leading boat had in fact started incorrectly, the time for shortening the course to keep everyone within the time limit had long passed and the protest committee had no alternative but to apply the rules and discount the race.

The placings caused quite a stir and the results changed dramatically as a consequence. Alvine 12 took top slot, 2nd was Fiver and 3rd was the J 90 Jackdaw
In class zero, Spirit of Jethou revelled in the stronger breezes of Saturday and Sunday to take overall victory. In IRC 2, Jim McGregor's Elan 333, Flair III proved a consistent performer to take the overall top prize from Peter Morton's Exile. Prize for most consistent performance of the weekend must go to Nigel Bigg's Crewsaver Dickies in class 3. Dropping once to 3rd place she scored four 1st places from the five races sailed to come home a runaway winner in Class 3.
Peter Bentley has been out on the water with his camera catching the action. Pictures are in the photo gallery.

Full results on page two.....

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