Tom Doherty from Red Funnel with Panthera's Benny Kelly

Tom Doherty from Red Funnel with Panthera's Benny Kelly

Testing light air

Red Funnel Easter Challenge concludes

Sunday April 8th 2007, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
The big issue at the 16th Red Funnel Easter Challenge was about how to cope in light airs. The general conditions were super light with gradient breeze being affected by weak sea breezes. Knowing when the breeze would shift and gauging the strong tide were the major conundrums for the competitors. However, despite the lack of breeze, the 72 competing yachts at the regatta enjoyed the event immensely. The general consensus of opinion was that the Red Funnel Easter Challenge is an ideal way to start the season and a real test of what needs to be done to improve performance.

Race 5, the last race of the regatta, finally got underway at 1300 when a steady breeze of 8-10 knots set in. The Race Committee laid a short windward leeward course of six miles for the big boats and four and a half miles for all other classes. There was a general recall for the first race but all the competitors were very thankful to get back out on the race course.

Throughout the weekend, the competitors have enjoyed some well organised racing and thanks go to all members of the Race Committee. A special mention should also go to the committee boats: Atlantis (Andy & Fiona Bristow); Condor (Jim Hughes/Bill Oakley); 3C’s (Alec Cokes and Mike Scott) and the team of on-the-water coaches.

PRO Jamie Wilkinson commented: "The Red Funnel Easter Challenge is a training regatta. We have started races in conditions which are less than ideal and the competitors accept it. It is important to get the crews sailing and the coaches out there looking at them. I would not send the fleet off in those conditions in national championships."

Coach, Jim Saltonstall added: "One of the things that the sailors really need to concentrate on is maintaining their focus when it goes light. Boredom can create mental apathy and that is of great concern. The bottom line is that concentration levels have got to be 100% in light airs, just as much as in the mid-range and upper-range wind bands. If the competitors do not remain focused, they will not get the results they would have wished for. Sailing coaches are working with sports psychologist, promoting a more positive attitude to sailing in light conditions. It’s a big area of concern."


Race 5: IRM Class Chairman, Jerry Otter racing his Farr 45, Werewolf, won the last race with Shaun Frohlich’s Farr 45 Exabyte Four in second place. Benny Kelly’s TP52 Panthera was in third place.

Panthera had a fantastic Easter, winning both IRM and her class in IRC. Panthera, helmsman Kenny McCullough from Northern Ireland commented: "We have not done too many changes to the boat over the winter. I put our performance down to having a settled crew with plenty of ability. The teamwork this regatta has been very good. I would especially mention Rob Greenhalgh who did an excellent job as tactician."

Jerry Otter's Werewolf, was second in class, but will have great satisfaction in being the top Farr 45 too. Andy Greenwood sailing his maiden regatta on Farr 45 Fraxious was third overall, a decent performance from a new team, only set up late last year.


Race 5: Jochem Visser helming the brand new X-41 Legally Brunette won their second race of the regatta from Tim Costello’s Mills 40 Tiamat with WISC the Swan 45 owned and driven by Glynn Williams in third.

Panthera won the class with an impressive performance. Owner Benny Kelly was delighted for his crew and is looking forward to the season: "Panthera will be racing in the Solent this year against other TP 52s and there is a possibility we might enter some offshore races."

Klaus Dietrich and Grant Gordon, joint owners and drivers of Fever, will be delighted to have come out as the top Swan 45 of this regatta, even though they were second in class. Tim Costello’s Mills 40 Tiamat was third and would have been vying for an overall win if they had not had a poor result in Race 3.


Race 5: Hamish Mackay’s, beautifully turned out Seaquest RP36 won her first ever race. Built in Dubai, she is the first of her kind and must have travelled the longest distance to compete in the regatta. Tim and Sophie Harrington’s X-35 Vortex was in second place with the First 40.7 Addiction in third.

Vortex won IRC 1 overall with an impressive set of results, barring race 4 when she went aground, but managed to get back in the race. It goes to show, that if you don’t give up, you always have a chance of pulling victory from the jaws of defeat. In second place overall was Addiction, but only on count back, having scored an identical total points score to the winners. Third was Peter Robson’s First 40, Playing Around.


Race 5: Andrew Allen helming his J/109 No Naked Flames won the race by a mere 20 seconds on corrected time. Co-owner Colm Monahan commented: "We brought the boat over from Ireland, especially for this event, and it has been well worth the effort. America’s Cup veteran, Chris Main, has been at the back of the boat. That and the coaching support, has meant that in just three days, we have learned more than we could do in a month of Sunday’s without them."

Nick Jones’s First 34.7 Astarte was second and Jim Macgregor’s Elan 40 Flair IV was in third. Astarte won IRC 2 overall and Nick Jones’s crew are all family and friends, including Nick’s father and his fiancé Suzy. Nick had considerable success with his last boat Tarka and it looks like that may well continue. No Naked Flames was in second place by a single point with Peter Schofield’s HOD 35 Zarafa third.


Race 5: Mike Tattersall’s X-99 Electra won by a mere 12 seconds on corrected time, from Myles Perrin’s Capo 30 Santana. In third pace was another Electra- Andy Phelps, steering his First 31.7, to her best result of the regatta.

X-99 Electra won their class after a close battle with Santana. Skipper Rick Hanslip commented: "The crew are all amateurs who are part of the Royal Navy Reserve. We come from the Portsmouth area and the boat is based in Gosport. The Race Committee has done a splendid job this weekend, in difficult circumstances, and it was nice to get the last race in with some decent breeze." In second place overall was Santana and Jackie Welch’s Elan 333 Elusive was third.

Provisional Overall Results:
Series Place, Sail No, Boat, Type of Boat, Owner, (Handicap, Series Points, Race 1, Race 2, Race 3, Race 4, Race 5)

Class IRC SZ & Zero
1, GBR1997L, Panthera, TP 52, Benny Kelly, (1.343, 16, 5, 1, 1, 2, 7)
2, GBR945R, Fever, Swan 45, Klaus Diederichs & Grant Gordon, (1.192, 27, 6, 3, 8, 5, 5)
3, IRL12345, Tiamat, Mills 40, Tim Costello, (1.142, 29, 2, 2, 16, 7, 2)

Class IRM
1, GBR1997L, Panthera, TP 52, Benny Kelly, (1.232, 8, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3)
2, GBR745R, Werewolf, Farr 45, Jerry Otter, (1.108, 10, 3, 3, 2, 1, 1)
3, GBR4545R, Fraxious, Farr 45, Andy Greenwood, (1.112, 22, 2, 4, 6, 3, 7)

Class IRC1
1, GBR9735T, Vortex, X-35, Tim & Sophie Harrington, (1.052, 17, 3, 1, 2, 9, 2)
2, GBR9859T, Addiction, First 40.7, Activ Power + Sail, (1.072, 17, 2, 2, 8, 2, 3)
3, GBR7207T, Playing Around, First 40.7, Peter Robson, (1.061, 21, 1, 3, 11, 1, 5)

Class IRC2
1, GBR993R, Astarte, First 34.7, Nick Jones, (1.012, 14, 5, 1, 1, 5, 2)
2, IRL11109, No Naked Flames, J 109, Andrew Allen/Colm Monahan, (1.033, 15, 3, 4, 6, 1, 1)
3, GBR7712R, Zarafa, HOD 35, Peter Scholfield, (1.035, 23, 1, 7, 8, 3, 4)

Class IRC3
1, GBR9887, Electra, X-99, Mike Tattersall, (0.963, 7, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1)
2, USA5454, Santana, Capo 30, Myles A.D Perrin, (0.936, 10, 4, 1, 1, 2, 2)
3, GBR9395R, Elusive, Elan 333, Jackie Welch, (0.977, 18.5, 2, 6.5, 3, 3, 4)

The Red Funnel Prix d’Elegance Trophy was awarded to Bolidt, R. W. Bol’s Swan 45 and the trophy will be presented at the RORC’s Annual Dinner in the Autumn.

Mark Richmond, helmsman on the Farr 45 Werewolf, won the traditional annual award presented by coach Jim Saltonstall - 'The Golden Egg', awarded for outstanding sailing in the regatta.

More photos on page 2....

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