Coach Jim Saltonstall monitors the performance onboard Loius Browne's Mumm 30 Asterix

Coach Jim Saltonstall monitors the performance onboard Loius Browne's Mumm 30 Asterix

Testing tidal conditions

Flavia Bateson reports on the latest round of the Raymarine Warsash Spring Series

Wednesday April 13th 2005, Author: Flavia Bateson, Location: United Kingdom
A variable breeze in strong tidal conditions presented competitors with plenty of opportunities to win or lose out in the fourth week of the Raymarine Warsash Spring Series on 10 April 2005. The bright, sunny conditions carried bands of clouds and under these the northwesterly, peaking at 15 knots, was prone to shift unexpectedly. The tricky nature of the wind could be seen by some boats being overpressed as it freed while others, quite close and on the same tack, were put about.

PRO David Greenway set Black Group courses to give options for taking advantage of the changing tide regime, which would begin running up the mainland shore much earlier than further south. One IRC1 boat took courage and successfully avoided the shingle humps very much closer to the lee shore than the rest of the fleet. Shockwave enjoyed a massive lead, which was never threatened.

For IRC2 the choices were more divided but Jerry Otter's IMX-40 Exabyte 2 called the right shots and went on to record a third win in the series.

In the Bowsprit class, the three leading boats, all J/109s, finished less than a minute apart after more than two hours' racing with Mike Ewart's Zelda stealing a 14 second advantage over Guy Knight on Beth.

The IRC3 class has been a dual between the two Elans. This week Jim MacGregor sailing Flair gained a small lead over Peter Rutter's Quokka by the first mark. Both were overtaken by Peter Jackson's J/39 Assassin but when the time correction factors were applied, it was Quokka which took a fourth straight win.

IRC5 is headed by two Mustangs with Mike Fawcett's Hobby Horse tied on series points with Bernard Fyans' Erik the Red.

The first set of races on the White Group sportsboat fleet were longer than usual and this significantly extended the racing period. The Mumm 30 class had eight boats on the water with expert coach Jim Saltonstall in his RIB, taking a video of the performance for a debriefing afloat as part of the class training programme. Honours were shared between Robert Barr's Kanati and Louis Browne's Asterix.

Nick Fisk sailing the 1720 Gill won both his races and currently holds a 7 point lead.

Competition is very keen in the two largest one design White Group classes - Laser SB3 and Hunter 707 - both suffered general recalls during the afternoon starts. With time moving on, CRO Peter Knight had no option but to get them away under the 'Black Flag Rule' causing three SB3s to be dismissed.

The RAF entry Synchro had a very good day, with only two weekends' racing bringing them up to a mid-table position. In comparison, Nigel Oliver-Brown had to count an 11th and 17th in Spank, slipping to second overall. Mark Gillett's Hunter 707 Pocket Battleship was kneck-and-kneck with Trojan in the first race, eventually finishing one second ahead, but later pushed too hard and was one of two boats caught out by the black flag. Lloyd Hamilton in Giraffe has sailed a consistently good series, claiming
another win this week, to extend his lead.

The final two weekends see many classes competing additionally in the Spring Championships, with extra racing on the Saturday. Now entries stand at 265 and the Raymarine Warsash Spring Series shows every sign of building towards a great finish.

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