The wind, initially in the northeast, swung east and then southeast by lunchtime. Three races were scheduled for the White Group sportsboats starting off Hill Head. Having shown perfect manners earlier in the series, the Laser SB3s needed two general recalls and a black flag to get them away successfully. Positions changed constantly over the trapezoidal course. Coming into the top mark for the last time, David Cummins helming Rumbleflurg had to re-round, dropping him from first to eighth in quick time, leaving Luke Wooster, Daniel Geoghegan and Craig Burton to get ahead on the last lap. The final race used straight forward windward/leeward legs. Jason Pyke and Pauline McCracken were sailing their new boat, so new it does not as yet have a name, and were never really threatened.
Kevin Sproul’s Jane joined the competition this week and took up the challenge in the J/80s. He led for most of the race but was overhauled on the last beat by Marie-Claude Heys in Jenga Trois which, at this halfway stage in the series, has the enviable score of five firsts. In the Hunter 707 class Simon Law and Chris Eddy had a good day in Sword with a 1,9,2 score line giving them a small lead overall. Just behind them, three other teams are also putting together consistent scores. The 1720s, having been combined with other sportsboats, are the dominating factor in the class. Tom Clay’s Finn McCoul won the first two races, but Huw Alban Davies in Go Ferret finished second both times and then went on to win the third to top the class.
In the Black Group fleet, it was the turn of IRC1, J/109, J/105 and IRC3 to have two races. Using laid windward marks their courses involved windward/leewards from the Stokes Bay shore across the Ryde Middle bank towards Castle Point. All got cleanly away and the strong flood tide helped give an easting element on the beats. In IRC1 Benny Kelly’s TP52 Panthera was the fastest round by nearly 20 minutes and so held her position on handicap. In the J/109s Johnny Blue II and Beth of Fivestar could not be separated at the finish and were awarded joint first place. An unusual circumstance occurred for the IRC2 start. Although the majority of boats were over the line at the gun, Chief Race Officer David Greenway was able to avoid the delay of a general recall by identifying the individual transgressors. All but six returned and Tim Harrington on Vortex recovered well to take a second win. With slightly more wind, the Sigma 38s in IRC4 made the best of the day. The Meakins family on Festina Lente led from sistership Light. Ian Dawson helming his X-332 Glide-X had to settle for third but there is plenty of life left in this class between these three.
For the second race there was more weather-going tide and more caution needed approaching the start line. Neil Martin’s Jammy Dodger came out top in IRC1. In IRC3 Jim MacGregor in Flair IV rounded the top mark ahead of the pack and was the only boat to favour the left-hand side of the course. At one stage, it appeared he might have fallen into a light spot but later it became evident he had extended his lead to over two minutes from Peter Rutter’s Quokka and Nick Jones in Astarte. There were also double victories for Philip Jubb in the J/109s and Kirsty Apthorp in the J/105s.
Next weekend is another busy one when the Big Boat Series take to the water on Saturday 31 March with the Spring Series continuing the following day. There will also be a special guest watching from the Black Group committee boat when Team Raymarine’s Shelley Jory, British Honda Powerboat Champion 2005, comes out to see how sailboat racing works.
Provisional results: Raymarine Warsash Spring Series
Race 1 Panthera TP52 Benny Kelly
Race 2 Jammy Dodger J/133 Neil Martin
IRC 2 Vortex X-35 Tim Harrington
Race 1 Flair IV Elan 40 Jim MacGregor
Race 2 Flair IV Elan 40 Jim MacGregor
IRC 4 Festina Lente Sigma 38 Meakins family
IRC 5 Sixes and Sevens Sigma 33 Pullin, Norman, Whitmore & Dwyer
Race 1 Johnny Blue II Bruce Jubb
and Beth of Fivestar Guy Knight
Race 2 Johnny Blue II Bruce Jubb
Race 1 J-Dream David and Kirsty Apthorp
Race 2 J-Dream David and Kirsty Apthorp
Race 1 Sword Simon Law and Chris Eddy
Race 2 Censored Nick Simmonds
Race 3 GBR7000N Andrew Baird
Races 1,2,3 Jenga Trois Paul and Marie-Claude Heys
Race 1 Woosterstock Luke Wooster
Race 2 Champagne Blonde Daniel Geoghegan
Race 3 GBR3156 Pauline McCracken and Jason Pyke
Race 1 Finn M’Coul 1720 Tom Clay
Race 2 Finn M’Coul 1720 Tom Clay
Race 3 Go Ferret 1720 Huw Alban-Davies