Confusion in the Solent
At 11:00, with an ESE wind of 6 knots, IRC 1 were sent on a course that took them up to Browndown buoy off the Lee-on-Solent shore and then on a tight reach across to SE Ryde Middle. Chris Brown's Fidessa Fastwave and Robert Lutener & Martin Elwood's IC45 Cutting Edge broke away from the rest of the fleet and were virtually side-by-side approaching the second turning mark.
Behind them the start of IRC 2 was a crowded affair. Most of the class bunched up at the ODM and there were several boats that had to return and make a clean start. Within 5 mins there was a big wind shift to the right and boats that were able to lay the mark on a long starboard tack. The start sequence was halted and PRO David Greenway took the decision to abandon the two races already started. There followed another period of inactivity.
At 11.50 White Group CRO Peter Knight had enough steady breeze to start the Sportsboat classes. By combining the smaller classes and setting two laps he was able to make up some time. Crowding at the ODM end of the line meant that several of the Laser SB3s were over the line, including series leader Glen Bourke. Bourke cleared the line well down the fleet but had clawed back to fifth place at the windward mark. Astute use of the angles on the downwind leg brought him up to third at the bottom mark. Bourke then chipped away at Nigel Olive-Brown's lead and took a good win by 7 seconds. In a day of mixed fortunes most consistent performance of the day was by Mark Gillett in his 707 Pocket Battleship. He scored two third places but with no discards yet allowed his non-attendance on the first Sunday keeps him in 10th place overall at the halfway stage.
Mumm 30 and 1720 start
By mid-day the Black Group had enough wind to start a new sequence and this time the windward mark for all classes was Mackley Construction on the Ryde Middle bank. Starting conditions were difficult, with the tide pushing boats towards the line. Most starts had a number of premature starters. Some returned but a fair number failed to return and were disappointed to have sailed the course only to find they had not recorded a result. A building east-going tide made life increasingly difficult for the smaller boats as they fought to run back towards the finish line at East Knoll.
In particular the leg from Marinetrack.com to Deck became a very tight three sail reach. Those boats that had a flat cut spinnaker in their inventory managed to gain significantly on this leg over their less fortunate opponents. A good example was in the Sigma 38 class. Overall leader Dominic Cahill's Supernatural was a couple of minutes ahead of the Meakins Family aboard Festina Lente. By using their flatter spinnaker the Meakins converted their second place into a two second win by the finishing line.
With the 14.30 time limit approaching three classes were shortened at Marinetrack.com but for the classes where the leaders had already passed this mark there were a
number of boats that failed to finish in time. The race committee are looking into the possibility of establishing a fairer result for more competitors, with the help of the protest committee at a hearing after next Sunday's racing.
Provisional Race Winners:
IRC 1 Shockwave DK 46 Nick Lutte
IRC 2 Exabyte 2 IMX-40 Jerry Otter
IRC 3 Quokka Elan 37 Peter Rutter
IRC 4 Tearaway X-362 Martin Banfield
IRC 5 Stitch Impala
Bowsprit Me Julie J-109 R. Purrsell
Sigma 38 Festina Lente The Meakins Family
Sigma 33 Prospero of Hamble Allan Fraser
X-332 Glide-X Ian Dawson
Mumm 30 - Asterix Louis Browne
1720 - Mad Cow Darren & Georgie Baker
Laser SB3 - Musto Glen Bourke
J-80 - Nemo Peter Henney
Sportsboat Rules - Scintillate Sonar Stephen Cole
Hunter 707 - Darkness Patrick Miles
Mumm 30 Kanati Robert Barr
1720 boats.com Ian Atkins
Laser SB3 S triptease Venetia Wingfield
J-80 715 Rob Napier & Helen Foster
Sportsboat Rules Scintillate Sonar Stephen Cole
Hunter 707 Censored Williams et al