Raymarine Warsash Spring Series wrap

Sunshine and thunder clouds mark the end of this year's Solent season opener

Tuesday April 29th 2008, Author: Flavia Bateson, Location: United Kingdom
It was another busy weekend for Warsash Sailing Club over 26th and 27th April, which included the final races in both the Raymarine Warsash Spring Series and the Spring Championship for sportsboats. Saturday and Sunday could not have been different weather-wise. The first day was beautifully warm and sunny, the second overcast and grey with an impressive thunder storm just before the start sequence.

Raymarine Warsash Spring Championship - Saturday 26 th April

The Spring Championship included a large fleet of Laser SB3s, a growing number of J/80s and a dwindling but nonetheless fiercely competitive class of Hunter 707s. In the balmy weather, the Laser SB3 course was set at the entrance to Southampton Water where competitors enjoyed the best of the early wind. The first start was aborted a few seconds before the gun but at the second attempt everyone was away. By the time the fleet reached the top mark heading for the spreader mark, many underestimated the cross tide. Paul Lovejoy in Badger Racing made the best of the conditions to take the gun a few boat lengths and 19 seconds ahead of Colin Simonds on Doolalli. William Harrison-Cripps sailing I Maximus was third. Lovejoy then finished second to Geoff Carveth in Palava in the second race. Jerry Hill in Three Sad Old Blokes ended on a high note in the third race, with his first win.

PRO Jon Spencer was running the other line for Hunter 707s and J/80s. He managed to complete four races before the wind became too erratic. The 707s had a good day’s racing. There were three different winners in the four races, so no one got the upper hand. Miles Dalby’s Tequila took the first and last. Had he competed on the first weekend of the championship, this could well have seen him at the top of the table overnight. As it was, Dicky Barnes held that honour ahead of Paul Gray. In the J/80s Ian Atkins led after the first weekend but he was caught OCS in the second race of the day and had to add 14 points to his total score. He made amends by winning the last two races but was second overall to Chris Savage, helming his sister’s Savage Team Racing.

Raymarine Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship - Sunday 27 th April

Competitors were greeted by sullen skies and very little wind as they made their way out to the three race courses. About thirty minutes before the start sequences were underway, a violent thunder storm broke out with heavy rain. When it departed, it took with it every breath of wind.

The Black Group committee boat set up station at Universal Marina buoy and for an hour boats circled Condor just as the wind circled the compass. When the new breeze seemed to settle, PRO David Greenway set courses having an initial beat with the tide to South East Ryde Middle followed by legs varying in length for different classes but all finishing at Air Canada. However, the delay meant the second races scheduled for IRC3 and IRC4 were impractical. With flag ‘Z’ flying, line discipline was good. IRC1 got away cleanly with the help of the east-going tide and made steady progress to the windward mark. IRC2 followed and, as with the first class, most boats tacked onto port and made the long hike over to the Island side. By the time IRC3 were on their way, Nick Haigh’s Dark and Steamy was rounding East Bramble and starting the second beat to Motherbank. Haigh had a good lead and, as is often the case in light wind races, the tide helped and he extended the lead over Edward Broadway’s Hooligan IV. The wind then faded and everyone drifted eastwards. Between 1130 hours and midday the breeze swung from east-northeast to south and there were large patches of calm. Except for the very few, whether through extreme skill or plain luck, progress became a lottery. Andrew Webster helming Circus in IRC2 managed to skirt most of the trouble and made good progress past a number of IRC1 boats. Later he fell foul of a calm patch and was overtaken by Sailing Logic’s entry Jaguar Logic but sadly neither of them managed to make the shortened course finish before the time limit.

The combination of tide and wind left the race management team with no alternative but to shorten all classes. Dark and Steamy was far enough ahead to spot the new wind early, changed headsails and made good progress from Daks out to the finish. Only two other boats managed to finish within the time limit. The two J/Boat classes got stuck in the central Solent, where the wind was least, and together with IRC4 had their races abandoned. IRC3 had been set a leg that took them across the North Channel. The new wind, which was by now coming up the Needles Channel, gave them the best breeze of the day and virtually everyone recorded a valid finish. Jamie Muir in Scarlet Jester recorded a win, his first result in single figures for this year’s Series. Salvo was second and Astarte third.

In White Group conditions were equally taxing. Only one race could be held for the Laser SB3s, won by Jerry Hill in Three Sad Old Blokes from Geoff Carveth in Palava. The J/80s and Hunter 707s managed two races but then called it a day at 2pm. There were double wins for Ian Atkins in Boats.com and Dicky Barnes in Cacciatore.

When the provisional Series and Championship points were calculated Dark and Steamy was the runway winner in IRC1 with four first places in five races after two discards. Points were closer in IRC2 where Andrew Webster’s Circus beat Steady Barker (Michael Brough) by three points. Until the 14th place in the final race, Russell Hodgson’s Rushlex had not scored below third. However he was able to discard this performance to take IRC3 by two points from Astarte (Nick and Suzi Jones). With only four races completed, there were no discards allowed in IRC4. This gave the class win to Jackie and Robert Dobson in Elusive over David Rider’s Catch 22. Ben Richards in Zelda took the J/109s with three wins and a second. This score was mirrored in the J/105s by Paul Griffiths in Fay-J.

In the Laser SB3s Geoff Carveth ( Palava) won both the Spring Series and Spring Championship. Cacciatore (Dicky Barnes) topped the Hunter 707s in the Spring Championship whilst the Spring Series title went to Miles Dalby in Tequila after 13 races. Ian Atkins showed outstanding performance in the J/80s, taking the Spring Championship with eight wins from 13 races, but Liz Savage in Savage Team Sailing was only one point adrift. These skippers also topped the Spring Series points table though by a larger margin of 18 to Atkins and 24 to Savage.

The prize giving for the Raymarine Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship takes place on Friday 16th May at Shore House, Warsash, Southampton. The Commodore and Flag Officers of Warsash Sailing Club look forward to welcoming all skippers and crew who are able to attend, whether trophy winners or not.

For final series results see: http://www.warsashspringseries.org.uk

More pictures on the the following page...

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