The Black Group fleet were set long courses, using much of the central Solent, from a start line at Flying Fish buoy. IRC1 and the 40.7s had two races which also counted towards the Spring Championship. With the tide changing an hour into the race, tacticians had to decide when to stay in the deep water channel and when to avoid it and hug Ryde Middle Bank.
John Patterson in the J/133 Panacea had taken a healthy points lead into the day’s racing and whilw he finished behind all the bigger boats, he was close enough to the leaders to recoup his time and take the handicap honours. This gave him the Series win by six points from Bill Blain’s Batfish III. British Soldier, finished 22 minutes behind Lutener and Elwood’s TP52 Cutting Edge but on handicap the gap was down to two seconds. British Soldier is the Army Sailing Association’s entry under the livery of the Toe in the Water charity for injured service personnel.
The second race of the day was subject to a general recall due to over excitement at the outer distance mark. The next attempt was enlivened by the look of panic on faces of four smaller boats in another class, finding themselves in the start area at a less than helpful time. Hasty spinnaker drops and sharp rudder adjustments averted any major problems. Cutting Edge had the bit between her teeth and sped round the course in just over two hours to take line honours. She incurred a penalty along the way but was still far enough ahead to beat Panacea by nine seconds on handicap - demonstrating the effectiveness of the IRC rating system.
The remaining Black Group classes enjoyed a largely similar course. The J/109s had a general recall and were sent to the back of the sequence but all other starts were clear. There was a surprise in IRC2. Going into the final day, Activ Power and Sail’s 40.7 Addiction had a clean string of first places but that was not to continue. By the time the boats reached Hill Head, at the end of the third leg, Andrew Webster’s Seaquest 36 Circus held a small lead over Jim Macgregor’s Elan 410 Premier Flair with Puma Logic (Sailing Logic) and Quokka (Peter Rutter) in close order behind. Over the next few legs, Quokka worked her way to the front of the class. Circus hung on to second but Premier Flair slipped back to take sixth. Addiction in ninth place was happy to use this race as a discard, taking the overall title with a perfect score.
In IRC3, four boats were in the running for a Series win. On the day it was Mike Bridge’s Elaine which just squeezed a three second lead on handicap from Starspray (Bateson family). This gave the Series win to Mongoose (Patrick Snowball) with Malice (Mike Moxley) just one point adrift and level with Starspray but taking second place on countback. Extracted results were provided for the 13 Sigma 38s in IRC3 and these showed a Series win for Nigel Goodhew in Persephone of London which counted three firsts and a second. Only Pavlova III came close, four points adrift.
A similar situation existed in IRC4 where several boats had a chance to gain the Series title. In the event, 2XS (Aindriu McCormack) established a winning lead on the first leg which was extended as the race wore on. Behind the leader, Mike Fawcett’s Hobby Horse and Richard Hollis’ Crackajax enjoyed a very close race. It was only on the leg towards the Island shore when Crackajax fell into Hobby Horse’s dirty wind that she lost ground. 2XS took overall victory with Hobby Horse two points behind. Third place was taken by Kathy and Rupert Smalley aboard The Flying Fish on countback over Crackajax. In the one-design Black Group classes and the final J/105 race, Charles Rolls forsook his own J/109 Barbarossa to helm Andy Hill’s Only Just to victory by over two minutes. In the Series there was only one point between each of the top three boats: Fay-J (Paul Griffiths), Voador (Simon Curwen) and Java (Rob Dornton-Duff). In the 19-strong J/109 class only Adam Wright’s Jouster/Velvet Elvis won two races. The title went to David and Kirsty Apthorp in J-Dream who counted no result lower than third.
With the wind in the southeast, the two White Group courses could be laid head to tail along the Meon shore. The windward mark for the J/80s and Hunter 707s was just below the bottom gate for the Laser SB3s. With both the Spring Series and Spring Championship titles to be decided, it could have been predicated that the over-enthusiastic SB3s would have at least one general recall. So it came to pass, but it was at least limited just to the one. Three races having been lost earlier in the Series, only one discard was allowed in the main set of results. Series leader Geoff Carveth on Cre8tivity used his on the first race, when he was 11th out of 44. Craig Burlton helming Gill Race Team took the gun, his fourth win, with Mike Budd ( Zimmer) second. Budd then went one better in the next race, finishing first by 21 seconds from Selden Masts (Chris Jennings). Carveth had the last laugh, winning the final race and taking the overall title by 56 points. The runner up was his ex-crew, Sarah Allan, helming Sailboat Deliveries. She had sailed consistently and finished fourth in all the day’s races. Another consistent performer on the final day was Hamish Walker on Sail Navy.
The J/80s had enjoyed some very tight racing during the Series but usually behind Joystick (Vic Gregory and Rob Larke), who won 13 of the 17 races completed. Like many scorelines, this fact belies the closeness of the racing. Often victories were by a handful of seconds. The main opposition came from Charles Somerset’s Loudwater and Ian Atkins’ Boats.com. In the final reckoning they were a single point apart in Somerset’s favour. Liz Lotz and Peter Young ( Lutine Belle) were rewarded for their consistency by winning the Hunter 707 class.
This is the final Spring Series being sponsored by Raymarine who have been keen supporters on and off the water. It has been good to see International Marketing Communications Manager Fiona Pankhurst taking an active part in the Series on board the Laser SB3 committee boat as well as presenting the weekly champagne prizes.
Warsash Sailing Club looks forward to welcoming everyone to the prizegiving on Friday 15th May at Shore House, Warsash. The Spring Series returns on 14 March 2010.
Raymarine Warsash Spring Championship – 25-26 April
This was the final weekend of the Raymarine Warsash Spring Championship for “Big Boats, 45- footers, Beneteau 40.7s, Hunter 707s, J/80s and Laser SB3s. Some competitors had entered the main Sunday Series too. Others opted for the Championship only. The full programme of 14 races was completed for the sports boat fleet whilst the larger keelboats enjoyed nine or ten longer races. Windward/leeward courses were set for both fleets.
On Saturday the air resounded to the sound of straining rigging as the big boats powered up whilst the loud cries for water came from the SB3s fighting for a space at the mark. In what had hitherto been gentle weather, the Spring Championship came alive as the brisk south-westerly, gusting over 20 knots, brought the best out of both fleets.
Wind over tide caused a number of minor problems for the committee boat on the main course but three excellent races were completed in good order by each of the classes. Despite the taxing conditions only one boat retired though a couple of spinnakers were probably damaged beyond repair. Going into the second weekend Jerry Otter’s Werewolf held a six point lead in the 45-foot class. They went on to consolidate their position with two further wins. With her pale grey livery and crew in white, she brought back memories of Nicholas Monserrat’s description of camouflaged destroyers in WWII. The Big Boat class included a number of J/133s. J/122s as well as a range of other designs – Comet 41, Farr 52, TP52, Ker 39 and Corby 40 and Stewart Hawthorn’s new Santa Cruz 37. By the afternoon it was difficult to see how the TP52 Cutting Edge (Robert Lutener and Martin Elwood) could be beaten. They were the fastest boat by some distance, taking the gun in each race and keeping their advantage on handicap. Nick and Anne Haigh, last year’s winners, on board Dark and Steamy had started the day in joint second place. They sailed consistently to hold their position but were being challenged by the J/133s Batfish III (Bill Blain) and Panacea (John Patterson) who were pressing hard. The tightest racing came in the First 40.7 class with all the podium places changing with each race. Nicholas Gaumont-Prat’s Philosophie IV was slightly off the pace and slipped to third overall behind Portia (Andrew Iver) and Playing Around (Peter Robson) but only three points separated them at the end of the day with everything to go for on Sunday.
All three classes in the sports boat fleet completed their allotted four races. As usual the SB3s had a mixed bag of starts. A couple of general recalls and selected use of the black flag managed to keep things under control. Hamish Walker in Sail Navy again raced consistently but unfortunately there were too many boats ahead for him to maintain his overall lead. That passed to Sarah Allen helming Sailboat Deliveries with a scoreline of 4,3,6,6 which could not be matched. Even Jerry Hill ( Three Sad Old Blokes) who won the first and third races slipped to 16th in Race 2. Although this moved him up to second overall, Sarah Allen had a five point lead to defend on Sunday’s three races. Only 14 points separated the first five boats here leaving a lot open for the final races.
The smaller J/80 fleet had some great racing. Although Rob Clarke and Vic Gregory in Joystick won all four races, this belies the competition, which was fierce all day. Ian Atkins ( Boats.com), winner in 2008, recorded 2,3,2,2 to lie five points behind Joystick, who was still having to count an OCS score from the first race. Realistically, the title would be between these two boats. There were no such problems for Jon Powell helming Betty in the Hunter 707 class. He also won all four races and was the fastest boat in the class. If the weather were to be the same on Sunday, that might be an ideal finale to his Championship.
The brisk breeze abated the following day, staying in the 8 to 12 knot range. The Spring Championship allowed no discards, but Cutting Edge continued her dominance in BB1, despite scoring a tenth in the first race, to take the title ahead of Panacea and Dark and Steamy. Werewolf also showed a clean pair of heels to take the 45 foot class by a margin of 12 points from Rebel (Stewart Whitehead) and Fortis Excel (Agne Nilsson). Portia held her lead in the First 40.7s leaving Playing Around second ahead of Philosophie IV, though Tarka (Guy Prest) was pressing hard.
Sarah Allan ( Sailboat Deliveries) won the Laser SB3 class from her former skipper Geoff Carveth ( Cre8tivity) with Sail Navy third. Betty scored only one race result lower than second in the Hunter 707s with Sparkle (Paul Curtis) runner up. Joystick took the J/80 class a clear 40 points ahead of Loudwater with Boats.com third.
The Spring Championship was introduced some eight years ago at the request of competitors who wanted to concentrate their racing into two weekends. It continues to be a popular format for keelboats with larger crews as well as sports boats which might want to join the competition later in the Spring, when the weather might be warmer. The event returns in 2010 on the weekends of 17-18 and 24-25 April.
More photos on the following pages...
Full results here