Class 3 newbie claims honours
Race Director Peter Olden had divided the fleet into three classes on IRC handicap with the big boats getting away at 0900 on the first of the east going flood tide from a short line set between the committee boat Kipper and the Fastnet racing mark.
In a light, but slowly increasing, southwesterly breeze the 40.7 Anticipation (Peter Newlands) led the bigger boats away followed by Oojah, the J/122 of Peter Tanner and , Tony Rowe's Dehler 36 Fantasea. First away in class 2 was Malice (Mike Moxley) in close contention with Comedy of Errors (Tony White) and Voador (Simon Curwen) third across. For the smaller boats in class 3 the lead was initially held by Restless (Mike Saqui) with Blustery Day (Martin Biggs) in hot pursuit.
Most boats set spinnakers at the start on starboard gybe and went looking for the stronger tide in the deep water but the fleet running deep under spinnakers had compressed by the Gilkicker Point as the wind died for a short time.
Solent expert and J/105 doublehanded super star Simon Curwen takes up the story: "The smart boats (either anticipating that the wind would come in first on the Isle of Wight shore or observing the hole that the Class 1 and Class 2 boats fell into) tacked on what had become a southerly zephyr and headed for the Island.
"The wind kicked in gently from the south and west creating an inversion in the fleet as Class 3 boats, notably Solan Goose, J/92s,and the 31.7s, picked up the wind and sailed round the parked bigger boats on a course that took them the other side of the solent via Ryde, Seaview and Bembridge before some in the parking lot got the wind!
"After a good start with Malice on my tail I dug myself furthest in to the mire and watched as the whole fleet passed by, eventually getting Bembridge Ledge dead last in the fleet!
"There was by then a strong foul tide at Bembridge Ledge that weakened towards Princessa, with big gains for being brave heading in over the ledge. Truant took it to the extreme charting the Bembridge Ledge! At Princessa and Nab it seemed to be Ding Dong and Oojah ahead by a margin from the rest of class one and the front boats from class 3
" Voador managed to catch and pass Blustery Day and Restless in Class 3 on the beat to Princessa, and then Tick Tock and Java at the mark. More gains on the reach out to Nab which was too tight for most to fly kites, getting past Malice and the 31.7s and gaining on Juliette, Fantasea, Comedy and Truant.
"At Nab I gybed the Code 0 and held it on a building beam reach overhauling Fantasea and Comedy and catching up to Juliette who hoisted a shy kite in response, as did Truant seeing the approaching Js. I managed to slip past Juliette as we were forced to drop kites shortly after No Mans Land, but not enough to save my time on handicap. Truant (HOD35) finished just ahead, with Solan Goose among the Class 1 boats."
Line honours went to Chris Rustom's Ding Dong (Stuart 37) which failed to save her time against Peter Tanner in his brand new J/122 Oojah and Anticipation which crossed in third, the 40.7 taking the class on corrected time by 4 minutes from Oojah and Ding Dong.
The small boat IRC class was won by Martin Biggs in Blustery Day (Beneteau First 32), Peter Olden, Solan Goose, pipped Mike Saqui in the Mustang 30 Restless into third place by just 32 seconds.
Class 2 line honors went to the Stephen Thomas in the HOD35 Truant, 65 seconds ahead of the J/105s which were having the usual close battle with Juliette shading it from Voador by 10 seconds. Comedy of Errors, also a HOD35 and sailed by Tony White pushed Truant down to fourth place on corrected time
The overall IRC podium positions all went to the small boats with new boy Martin Biggs taking a splendid first in Blustery Day. Race Director Peter Olden was second overall having scared a lot of the bigger boats and another new face Mike Saqui took third.
The final two races in the series follow on Saturday 19th September and Saturday 17th October. Courses will be around the cans in the Solent with get togethers in Cowes after each race.
Many thanks to Charles Allen, OOD and to John Corden skipper of the committee boat Kipper for setting a fair line and getting the fleet way on time.18 solo yachts lined up for the start of the Nab Solo race on Sunday.
Organised by Racing at Petit Bateau, this was the second race in the Solent Solo Series aimed at providing experienced and novice single handers the opportunity for some sport in the convenient location of the eastern Solent.