Back on track
With such a heavy programme, getting everyone off on time was important. The Black Group committee boat set up station near Universal Marina buoy. In a constantly varying breeze, no fewer than four ODMs were set up to ensure no bias on the start line. The sequence went well, although some classes were subject to individual recall. Competitors were taken on an initial beat to well under the Isle of Wight shore, before reaching across to the east and cascading across the central Solent. Low water was an hour after the start for most classes and even with the tide a week before springs, some boats had to keep a keen watch on the depth east of the Bramble Bank.
Nick Haigh, helming his DK46 Dark and Steamy, continued to dominate IRC1. Victory in the first race, ahead of Stuart Hawthorn in Jump, gave him three straight firsts. Things went very differently for the second race in the afternoon. Most of the fleet decided to start at the pin end. A few got away, but in the ensuing melee Dark and Steamy snagged the pin, got held up and penalised. Even so, they managed to climb back to third on the water and 12th on handicap. This leaves the boat holding on to the top series place but by just one point from Jump which took line and handicap honours in Race 2. With four boats separated by four points in IRC1, good start line discipline could prove vital.
The asymmetric J/109s and J/105s had a good reaching leg across from their windward mark to the turning mark at South Ryde Middle. Matthew Boyle on Shiva set the pace in the bigger class but Ben Richards helming Zelda chased hard and finished a handful of seconds behind at the line. Clever race course management on the first race meant there was little hanging around for the boats between races. Again in the afternoon, careful use of differing beat lengths meant the three classes finished at more or less the same time. Zelda reasserted her superiority in the J/109s while Rob Dornton-Doff brought Java home in the J/105s ahead of Paul Griffiths’ Fay-J, the current series leader.
IRC2, 3 and 4, having one race each, were set longer courses and found they were more prone to the vagaries of the wind. Certainly IRC3 and 4, racing to the west, found stronger winds blowing down the Cowes gap out of the Medina. Nick Jones ( Astarte) and Russell Hodgson ( Rushlex) had a real battle in IRC3 and while Russell took the gun, Nick’s better handicap gave him the victory and second place overall. Two boats are pulling ahead in IRC4. This week Robert and Jackie Dobson won their second race in Elusive and made ground on David Rider’s Catch 22. Both boats are 10 points ahead of third placed Crakajax.
In White Group, the Laser SB3 class were all set to start on time when, after a brief but heavy rain squall at 0955, the wind seriously diminished in strength for their first race. This set the pattern for the day with the strength and direction of the wind being proportional to the amount of cloud cover at any time. Ian Southworth ( Chilli Chaser) established an early lead in Race 1 and was not challenged over the next two laps. Craig Burlton ( Team Touareg) held of Steve Pears in Impact Promotions for second and third place. After a general recall PRO Peter Knight went to a black flag sequence for the second race which got away cleanly. This was a much closer affair with Chilli Chaser again taking the gun but only by a few seconds from Palava and Rumbleflurg. Chilli Chaser then scored the hat trick by winning the final race from Team Touareg and Mark Rushall in Risk Premium.
The J/80s have been enjoying very good turnouts for their racing and this week the competition was as close as ever. John Fowler ( Jugular Vain) started the day well by just winning the first race from Savage Sailing Team but then Liz Savage went from strength to strength taking the next two races and climbing the overall table to third. Ian Atkins ( Boats.com) kept a grip on the series lead with a 4-3-3 scoreline. Honours were very nearly split in the 707 class between Harry Hall ( This is Jeff), just edging ahead from Miles Danby’s Tequila. These two boats have a lead of over 10 points from the rest of the class.
Saturday 19th April sees the start of the sportsboat section of the Spring Championship as well as the second weekend of the ‘Big Boat’ racing. The regular Raymarine Warsash Spring Series continues on Sunday 20 April. Warsash Sailing Club’s team will certainly be having another busy time.
Provisional Results for 13th April 2008:
Race 1: GBR95R Dark & Steamy DK46 Nick & Anne Haigh
Race 2: GBR133L Jump J-133 Stewart Hawthorn
GBR3938R Steady Barker Match 38 Michael Brough
GBR993R Astarte Elan 333 Jackie & Robert Dobson
Race 1: GBR9627T Shiva Matthew Boyle
Race 2: GBR8809R Zelda Ben Richards
Race 1: GBR7707T Fay-J Paul Griffiths
Race 2: GBR9401R Java Rob Dornton-Duff
Races 1, 2 & 3: GBR3202 Chilli Chaser Ian Southworth
Races 1 & 2: GBR7099 This is Jeff Harry Hall
Race 3: GBR7119 Tequila Miles Dalby
Race 1: GBR790 Jugular Vain John Fowler
Races 2 & 3: GBR850 Savage Sailing Team Liz Savage
Races 1, 2 & 3: GBR1730L Finn M’coul Tom Clay
More photos on page 2...