And the rest
The early north-westerly breeze shifted during the morning to the north and built during the day from 12 knots to 20/24 with gusts to 30 knots. These were just the kind of challenging conditions to blow the winter cobwebs away for those back racing for the first time this season. There were exhilarating runs and demanding beats but also a number of retirements during the latter part of the day. Unluckiest was Robert Hillman’s Exuberant which lost a crew member overboard during a broach whilst another hit his head on a winch necessitating a fast airlift to hospital where he was discharged later that evening. With the sea water temperature at 8°C, the man overboard was grateful to be recovered speedily by the Sigma 33 Sixes and Sevens.
The Black Group committee boat set up station near North Ryde Middle and IRC1 got away cleanly led by the TP52 Ran although she later retired her top speed of the day was 27 knots. This left the class win to Nick and Anne Haigh’s DK46 Dark and Steamy.
The remaining classes were set a longer beat to Hill Head buoy. The J/109 class normally run a closely matched race but on this occasion Michael Jones helming Joyride got a good lead by the mark but eventually retired leaving the way clear for Ben Richards on Zelda. In IRC2, the Reflex 38 Puma Logic led Andrew Webster’s Seaquest 36 Circus across the line. However, Puma’s handicap gave her a third on corrected time whilst the class win went to sistership Jaguar Logic. A dead heat occurred in IRC3 where Nick and Suzi Jones’ Astarte tied with Russell Hodgson’s Dehler 34 Rushlex for fourth place. The winner was Mike Bridge’s Elan 37 Elaine. As the races progressed and the wind increased, the number of boats attempting to fly spinnakers downwind decreased proportionally until, by the last run, none could be seen.
This year, as the Laser SB3 fleet continues in popularity, the class has been given a separate start line and sailing area, away from the other sportsboats. Courses were laid off the north Meon shore where the wind and tide made conditions anything but easy. Nonetheless Chaotic managed to rescue a man overboard from one of the J/80s. By the second race the class was diminished in number. Geoff Carveth in Palava rounded the top mark first and set a blistering pace downwind until an accidental spinnaker drop lost him time. Sun Systems had been second rounding the mark and were going even faster when a gust tore their spinnaker from top to bottom leaving the way open for a second win by Craig Buriton’s Team Touareg. In the Hunter 707s, Miles Dalby in Tequila made a great port tack start for the second race and established an early lead but Harry Hall in This Is Jeff finally managed to catch up towards the end of the first lap to take another first.
Once back ashore, competitors were pleased to enjoy the hospitality offered at Warsash Sailing Club where sponsors Raymarine provided a well-earned bottle of champagne to the class winners. The Raymarine Warsash Spring Series now takes a break over Easter and resumes on Sunday 30th March.
Results can be found here
Further reports from the J/109s and Lasers SB3s here
J/80 Sportsboats – Report by Rob Fox
The Solent J/80 class welcomed many new entrants to its ranks this weekend, with fifteen boats entered for the whole series and several more to enter for the Spring Championships. The first day’s racing proved quite a challenge, with gusts of up to 30 knots, a confusing course, and some very close competition. For the first of the two scheduled races eleven J/80s arrived at the start line.
The pick of the crop after the first beat were Liz Savage’s Savage Sailing Team and Ian Atkins ’ Boats.com, who continued their match race at the head fleet on the down wind leg until a crew injury on Savage Sailing curtailed their sailing for the day. Some big gusts led to some great planing conditions but at the same time gybing these boats in a breeze is always a testing time, and several boats had massive wipe-outs. Boats.com went on to take the gun, followed by Julian Bates’ Bjorn Slippy and then Jevan, sailed by Rob and Jonathan Fox.
With confusion about the course still in the air, the second race was started with Stephen Chiverton’s Just Chilling and Bjorn Slippy both getting cracking port end flyers at the pin and crossing the whole fleet. However, at the top mark it was Jevan who rounded first, quickly followed by Just Chilling.
The ensuing kite run was flat out on the plane but both lead boats had major difficulty getting their kites down which allowed the chasing pack through. Boats.com and Bjorn Slippy both benefited from the chaos in front of them, and Michelle and Duncan Johnston’s Mosquito, Simon Read’s Jamari and James Sullivan’s Jin Palace all caught up considerably to make the next few legs very competitive.
The next run proved a little too exciting for several boats with several incidents peppering this fifteen knot sleigh ride. Again the gun was taken by Boats.com, with Jevan taking a second followed by Bjorn Slippy.
At the end of day, Boats.com leads the rankings, followed by Jevan and Bjorn Slippy.
Well what a day for the J/105s! Sunday provided near perfect conditions for these planing 34 footers and much excitement ensued out on the race course. The fleet totalled seven boats for the first race of the series and whilst they may have been missing their previous Class Captain Kirsty Apthorp and her husband David who have moved into the J/109 Class this year, there was no shortage of fun to be had and there are soon to be a number of new owners in the class for 2008.
Paul Griffiths in Fay-J and Simon Curwen in Voador battled it out at the front of the fleet for a large part of the race before Voador managed to extend a lead, aided and abetted by some ‘start of season’ gear failure on board Fay-J. Both Chris Jones’ Journeymaker V and Rob Dornton Duff’s Java manages to slip past Fay-J into second and third places respectively and so at the line it was Voador followed by Journeymaker V and then Java.