Awaiting the wind

A report from the second day of the Red Funnell Easter Challenge

Sunday April 8th 2007, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
The Brambles Bank weather station this morning showed a mean wind speed of one tenth of a knot on the second day of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge. The Race Committee managed to perform a miracle; getting Race 3 of the series underway just after 1300. Shortly after, a 30deg wind shift meant that the race had to be abandoned.

Marks were later re-laid in the vicinity of the Royal Southern buoy in the Eastern Solent. A short windward leeward course in extremely light airs from the south got all classes underway for an immediate re-sail of Race 3. Race 4 saw a tactical challenge of staying out of the tide and that meant short tacking on the beat down the mainland shore. This caused at least two boats to go aground, however the wind speed reached ten knots at times much to the relief of the competitors.

RORC Racing Manager, Janet Grosvenor commented: "It is frustrating for the competitors, but as they are well aware, there is little we can do about the weather. Everybody has put a lot of effort into this event and we especially feel for our overseas visitors."

While the fleet were waiting for the weather to play ball, they did manage to amuse themselves passing the time before the start of the next race. The crew of the Farr 45, Alice 2 caused hoots of delight with an impromptu demonstration of water-skiing using a cabin door!



IRM

Race 3: Benny Kelly’s TP52 Panthera won but only by four seconds on corrected time from Jerry Otter’s Farr 45 Werewolf with Shaun Frohlich’s Farr 45 Exabyte Four close behind in third.

Race 4: Werewolf scored their first IRM bullet beating Panthera into second place with Andy Greenwood’s Farr 45 Fraxious in third. With one days racing remaining, Panthera looks almost untouchable for the IRM Class.

IRC SZ & Z

Race 3: Panthera kept up to speed all the way round, while her smaller rivals were handicapped by a dying breeze. There was a tense finish for second place on corrected time, Bernard Lambillotte’s Swan 45 Nemo, could not be separated from Werewolf. A tie and second place was therefore awarded to both boats.

Race 4: Keith Miller’s Swan 45, Crackerjack won by just ten seconds on corrected time from Panthera. Ian Budgen calling tactics on Crackerjack commented: "We had a shocking start as we had to go back after a mix up with the line position. It was then a hard slog to pick our way through the fleet, trying to keep in clear air and hugging the shore to stay out of the tide. After a poor result in Race 3, it was nice to come out on top to finish the day on a high."

In third place was Glynn Williams with his Swan 45WISC who also misfired at the start and made a great recovery to get a podium finish.

IRC 1

Race 3: A close battle between two one design X-35s, saw Gordon Craigen’s Swallow pip Tim and Sophie Harrington’s Vortex by less than a minute. Hamish Mackay’s Sequest RP 36 Spirit of Juniper was third.

Race 4: Peter Robson’s First 40.7 Playing Around won by over a minute from Paul Jenkins, owner of Addiction, another First 40.7. Hamish Mackay’s Spirit of Juniper ended a consistent day with another third place. This class is very competitive, with just two further races scheduled, only three points separate the top four boats.

Tim and Sophie Harrington’s Vortex were leading the class going into Race 4, but have been knocked off pole position. Tacking up the mainland shore they were seen to run aground. They did however rejoin the race by some quick thinking; by hoisting their spinnaker to free them from the shoreline.

IRC 2

Race 3: After a slightly disappointing start to the regatta, Nick Jones’s First 34.7 Astarte, came to life winning the race by nearly eight minutes from Jim Macgregor’s Elan 40, Flair IV. In third place was Steve Northmore’s Elan 340, Crazy Diamond.

Race 4: Andrew Allen and Colm Monahan’s J/109 No Naked Flames heaped the pressure on class leader Astarte by winning the last race of the day by a big margin. Jeremy Troughton sailing another J/109 Beth was in second place in Race 4 with Peter Schofield’s HOD 35 Zarafa third in the race and also in the series so far.

IRC 3

Race 3: Myles Perrin’s Capo 30 Santana continued their impressive form in the light airs to win from Mike Tatersall’s X-99 Electra. Jackie Welch’s Elan 333 Elusive was in third.

Race 4: Electra scored their second win of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge by less than a minute on corrected time from Santana. Elusive was third. These three boats, all of different sizes and designs, are having a closely fought battle for the class.

Jackie Welch, helm and owner of Elusive and winner of her class last year commented; "Well, we had to come back again this year, the Red Funnel Easter Challenge is an event not to be missed."

A prizegiving was held after racing for competitors, with Easter eggs being presented by RORC Commodore David Aisher, even though he was hobbling with a ruptured Achilles Heel. He was assisted, much to the delight of the competitors, by two Red Funnell sponsored bunny girls handing out the prizes.

More photos on the following pages...

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