Big boat brawl

For final race of Warsash Spring Series in blustery conditions. Nigel Cherrie reports

Monday April 29th 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: United Kingdom
While Britain was lashed by strong winds and driving rain over the weekend, some die-hard crews ventured out on to the Eastern Solent on Sunday morning for the final round of the Barclays Marine Finance Warsash Spring Series.

The race committee from Warsash Sailing Club were fortunate to find a wind and tide window for the final race as a lull in the vigorous low pressure system allowed racing to get underway in a manageable 25 knot average.

Soon after racing, the tide turned kicking back up a nasty chop while the breeze gained momentum back up to the early 30s. Some sportsboats did sail out to the start area but white group racing is capped at 25 knots so all were sent back to their Solent havens while the IRM and IRC divisions had an exhilarating morning.

All final results available from Warsash are still provisional but in the IRM fleet, the Farr 40 Assegai got the better of John Shepard's Kerr 11.3
Fair D'’s in the overall series.

"The only way they could win the series was to come first [in Sunday's race] and if they did that we had to come second so it seemed pretty logical that
we sailed around the track with them," explained Assegai tactician David Bedford.

Assegai now has a busy season on the European circuit ahead of her and there are rumours that America's Cup sailor Hugh Treharne will join the crew as tactician.

In IRC Division 1, Team Tonic was yet again the fastest around the course and will take the class overall with some ease with Terry Robinson's Assuage
squeezing out Kirribilli for second in the series.

Assuage's helmsman Andrew McLelland had his work cut out yesterday keeping the Swan 48 ahead of i (Beneteau 47.7) steered by John Brinkers in a private match race. Assuage was faster in real time while Kirribilli was marginally quicker according to handicap but Assuage had done enough to secure second postion overall.

As the IRC 1 yachts skirted the Brambles Bank the Beneteau 47.7 Twelfth Night touched and blew out her foresail.

Further down the field, there was a more serious incident in the IRC 4 fleet when Erik the Red lost a man overboard. He was recovered but sent to hospital with minor injuries soon afterwards.

Otherwise a high standard of sail handling and crew work saw the fleet emerge relatively unscathed, bar the usual few torn spinnakers and broken halyards that gave way to the strain of sailing in a force 5-6. No one crew ran away with the series in the IRC 2,3 or 4 divisions.

IRC 2 was won by the Beneteau 40.7 Fastwave II, one point ahead of Jim McGregor's Elan 40 Triple With A Flair.

Tim Harrington's HOD 35 Capitalism topped the IRC 3 fleet by two points from the Dehler 36 Panache while David Hart's team on Frenesi of Clynder won IRC 4 by a single point from Olivia Anne VI.

The Sigma 33 class was also decided by one point as Jupa skippered by Julian Spencer-Smith beat Tim Wright and the Summation crew. The RAF Sailing
Association Sigma 38 Red Arrow beat Mephisto for overall honours by the same margin.

Russell Hodgon's X-Factor was something exceptional as she won the 13 boat X-332 fleet by three points and never finished lower than second in six races.

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