Two class grand prix
The aim was to provide an antidote to the high pressure and complexity of modern regattas and in keeping with that philosophy racing was run on a level-rating basis. For the competitors this was a wonderful return to the good old first past the post days and was not only simple but also resulted in some fantastically close racing in both classes across a range of conditions.
Racing got underway on Saturday 9 July in a gusty northeasterly of between 9 and 13 knots in warm but overcast conditions. With such closely matched fleets getting a good start, spotting the best lanes and picking the shifts were imperative. After the first three races it was Chris Brown's DK46 Fastwave, with Andy Beadsworth calling the shots, that had eaked out a small lead in Class 1 with a 4, 1, 1 scoreline. Behind them Keith Miller's Swan 45 Crackerjack, with tactician Ian Budgen, put in the next best performance of the day scoring 2, 3, 3, while Peter Morton and his crew aboard Farr 45 Atomic had to settle for third with a mixed bag of 1, 2, 6. "We had a pretty good day. It was good to see the three different classes level rating and it working well," commented Ian Budgen. "It was a good day's racing and the format seemed to work well," added Andy Beadsworth.
Meanwhile in Class 2, which incorporated the B&G Farr 40 UK Championship, David Murrin's 2XL got off to a wobbly start with a fifth in race one but rapidly regrouped and went on to win races two and three. Aboard Victric, Tony de Mulder's fortunes went the other way with a first in race one, a second in race two and finally a Z Penalty in race three which put them into sixth for the race and second overall. Nick and Annie Haigh's Too Steamy scored 4, 3, 2 to end the day in third overall.
Day two brought beautiful sunshine but a much lighter, less settled breeze and the boats went out into the Eastern Solent in search of what little wind there was. PRO Willie Sanderson and the RCYC's race management team managed to get in two races, but the wind finally gave out mid-afternoon and the planned third race could not be started.
The light and shifty north-easterly made for a tough day and there were plenty of place changes and close calls. In Class 1 Atomic put in the most solid performance scoring 1, 2 to take the overall lead after five races. Crackerjack got off to a mediocre start in race four with a seventh place but came back to win race five which was just enough to pull them up into second overall. Chris Brown and the Fastwave crew were recalled at the start of race five, made a late return and was unable to recatch the fleet but went on to redeem themselves in race five with a third place leaving them in third overall.
In Class 2 the Farr 40s found themselves playing second fiddle to the Ker 11.3 of Peter Rogers and Roger Duckworth as Highlife scored two bullets and moved up the leaderboard into second place overall. 2XL scored a pair of seconds which was enough to hold onto the overall lead whilst Victric scored 3 and 5 to drop back into third overall.
Today's final two races brought more difficult sailing as the gradient and sea breezes fought for supremacy. In Class 1 race six proved to be something of a Farr 45 benefit with David Wadsworth's Audacious first, Jerry Otter aboard Rebel second and Atomic third. In Class 2 the Farr 40s were back in the ascendence for race six with Victric first, Too Steamy second and 2XL third.
The Race Committee was just able to get both fleets away on race seven before the 1330 start cut off, however, as the boats came down the first run the sea breeze finally began to win its battle and by the middle of the leg half were running and half beating. In recognition of the rapidly deteriorating conditions a shorten course was signalled at the end of the first lap. In Class 1 Crackerjack took first from Rebel with Nigel Bramwell and his Swan 45 Hawk making their first podium appearance of the regatta in third. In Class 2 2XL put the cherry on their cake with a final bullet with Rob Goddard and Farrfalina/Cadhire UK second and Victric third.
In the overall standings Class 1 went to Peter Morton and his Farr 45 Atomic crew by just one point from Keith Miller and the Swan 45 Crackerjack with the DK 46 of Chris Brown in third place. In Class 2 David Murrin and 2XL won overall and took the B&G Farr 40 UK Championship with Tony de Mulder's Victric second. The Ker 11.3 of Peter Rogers and Roger Duckworth took third overall while Annie & Nick Haigh's Too Steamy was third in the B&G Farr 40 Championship and fourth overall.
Ashore the regatta also had plenty of highlights including the joint birthday celebrations of Led Pritchard (yachting legend and Victric's BN) and Ian Sullivan (helmsman of Audacious), which gave an added edge to Sunday night's BBQ at the RCYC! The competitors were delighted with the format of the regatta and the RCYC hopes to make the Vice Admirals’ Cup a regular event. "The feedback from the fleet has been very positive, the format works and we had some fantastically close racing," said Peter Morton, Farr 45 Atomic and initiator of the regatta. "The best fun I've had with my clothes on all year," was how Nick Lutte, owner of the DK46 Shockwave descirbed it. "A great format, huge fun and just what the owners want," added Keith Miller, owner of the Swan 45, Crackerjack.
Overall results (inc one discard):
|3||Chris Brown||Fidessa Fastwave||4||1||1||12||3||7||4||20|
|9||Klaus Diederichs/Grant Gordon||Fever||8||8||9||6||6||12||11||48|
|10||Robert Lutener/Martin Elwood||Cutting Edge||7||10||11||10||10||9||5||51|
|11||Bernard Lambilliotte||Nemo of Cowes||10||7||10||8||9||11||7||51|
|12||Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme||John Merricks||11||6||12||9||12||8||9||55|
|2||Tony de Mulder||Victric||1||2||6\ZFP||3||5||1||3||15|
|3||Peter Rogers/Roger Duckworth||Highlife||3||6||4||1||1||5||6||20|
|4||Nick & Annie Haigh||Too Steamy||4||3||2||6||3||3||5||20|
|5||Rob Goddard||Farrfalina/Cadhire U||2||4||6||4||7||6||2||24|
|6||Mark Thomas/Andy Greenwood||Creative Play||6||5||4/ZFP||5||6||2||4||26|