Done and dusted
Warsash Sailing Club was a busy place over the weekend of 24-25 April when the Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship reached their final stages. Conditions in the Solent were ideal and provided some of the best racing so far this season. Each year some 120 Club members volunteer to run the event and over the final two days, 42 separate races were completed on three separate sailing areas. Competitors and race officers can now relax and look forward to the prizegiving on Friday 14 May.
Warsash Spring Championship – Second weekend
At 39 entries, the Laser SB3 class was the largest in the Spring Championship, including representation from the Royal Signals, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Having been on their best behaviour over the first weekend, competitiveness got the better of the fleet on the final Saturday with the Black Flag used for every race. The wind was steady throughout and only minor adjustments needed to be made to the line for the four races completed. Those on the anchored committee boat had a grandstand view of the close racing at the end of the runs as the boats planed by causing severe chop. The verdict was “uncomfortable. but highly entertaining.”
On Sunday the breeze had increased and there was no problem completing the last three races giving 11 results to count for the two-weekend championship. Craig Burlton (Gill Race Team) was the runaway SB3 winner on 28 points with Geoff Carveth second on 52 points. Russian Oleg Zherebzor came third with Champagne Blonde while Sponge Bob and Selden Mast were equal on points, but Sponge Bob took fourth on countback.
The J/80s completed 12 races over the course of the Spring Championship, each of between 40 and 60 minutes. Again there was a distinct winner in John Cooper’s Oi!, which had never dropped below fifth place. Terry Palmer’s Just Do It and Steve Chappell’s Jango Fett were only five points apart, coming second and third.
Triallists for the Rolex Commodore’s Cup joined the Black Group section of the Spring Championship over the final weekend. Cracklin Rosie (Corby 40), Artemis (Grand Soleil 43) and La Reponse (Beneteau First 40) raced with the Big Boat class and the 10 boats trialling for Class 3 of the Commodore’s Cup raced alongside the First 40.7s. Six races were completed over the weekend.
On Saturday with the wind ESEerly in the 10-12 knot range, the committee boat set up station between Universal Marina and East Bramble buoys. The windward/leeward courses used a mixture of laid and fixed marks. Farr 45s and the Big Boat classes were the first two away using a six mile course. Remaining classes’ courses were slightly shorter and the tide had turned halfway through the scheduled programme.
Fraxious and Rebel shared the Farr 45 honours, both winning two races by the end of the day. Guy Prest sailed consistently well in the 40.7s posting four wins in Tarka. Johnny Vincent’s TP52 Pace only dropped one win in the Big Boats to Peter Morton and Andrew McIrvine's new boat, La Reponse, which bodes well for the RORC's Commodore. Among the smaller it was Jim Macgregor who proved to be on top form with his Elan 410 Premier Flair. His nearest challenger was Steve Northmore and Chris Arscott’s A35 Waterjet.co.uk which took the first race of the day.
Sunday’s breeze was stronger, with gusts to 18 knots. The Spring Championship competitors enjoyed two races sailing in their relevant IRC class. IRC1 saw a burst of over enthusiasm causing a general recall and a start delayed until IRC2 were underway. This added zest to the procedure as the two classes became amalgamated with a wall of spinnakers chasing their way from South Bramble to a laid mark between Hamble Yacht Services and Fastnet Insurance buoys.
Although Fraxious was again on good form in the Farr 45s, scoring a first and third, this was not enough to beat Jerry Otter’s Werewolf which had performed better over the first weekend of the Spring Championship.
In the Big Boats Pace again pulled out all the stops ending the Championship on a high with two further pullets and 34 points ahead of her nearest rival, Nick and Annie Haigh's Dark and Steamy. Tarka was taken to task by Portia (Andrew Iyer) and Encore (Steven Anderson/Jane Curwen) but nonetheless had secured a five point lead in the Championship.
Jim Macgregor and Premier Flair continued their enviable scoreline ending up on five wins from six races, to top the Rolex Commodore's Cup Class 3 triallists.
Seven J/109s competed. Although J/Dream (Kirsty and David Apthorp) counted six first places, Adam Wright in Velvet Elvis had not dropped below second place and took the Championship trophy by two points.
Provisional results – Warsash Spring Championship
Farr 45 Werewolf Gerry Otter
Big Boats Pace Johnny Vincent
First 40.7 Tarka Guy Prest
J/109 Velvet Elvis Adam Wright
CC3 Premier Flair Jim Macgregor
J/80 Oi! John Cooper
Laser SB3 Gill Race Team Craig Burlton
Warsash Spring Series – Sixth Day
At 0830 when the committee boats left the Warsash Sailing Club pontoon for the final day of racing in the Warsash Spring Series the day was grey and drizzly, with poor visibility. It seemed very unlikely that the superb conditions of the Spring Championship the day before would be repeated but slowly, as the first start time approached, the rain died and by 1000 the southwesterly breeze was starting to fill. By midday the Solent was basking in sunshine and the breeze was up to 15 knots – a perfect way to finish the country’s premier early season racing event.
The Black Group race team had a particularly complex day’s racing. Not only was there the normal schedule for the Spring Series, but the Spring Championship, including the Rolex Commodore’s Cup triallists, was also to be concluded which meant two races for Spring Championship entries in IRC1 and IRC2. The steady wind direction made course setting reasonably straightforward and all classes could share the initial legs on a beat to South Bramble with the tide followed by a gybe at Flying Fish and run to a laid mark. Finishing was also at a common mark and the overall length of course was adjusted as appropriate to the time scale. Going into the final day, only a few classes, including IRC2, IRC4 and the J/109s, were a foregone conclusion and even then final places further down were still in contention.
IRC1’s first start was subject to a general recall and postponed until after IRC2 whilst other classes got away cleanly. The Farr 45s proved to be the fastest boats round the course in IRC1. In the morning race Jack Pringle’s Fraxious took line honours, but behind him there was little to separate the other 45 footers. However, it was Michael Bartholomew’s King 40 Tokoloshe that won on handicap, repeating this success in the afternoon. The overall series winner was Commodore’s Cup triallist Paul Turner in Artemis over Ian Matthews’ Jinja.
IRC2 was augmented by the Class 3 Commodore’s Cup boats and one of these, Poole-based Jim Macgregor, returned to the Solent showing he had lost none of his touch for sailing in these waters. He made a perfect pin end start in Premier Flair in the morning, was first to the windward mark and had a lead of five minutes at the finish line. Four boats – two First 40.7s and two Reflex 38s – had been at the head of the class all series. Andrew Iyer’s Portia had established a winning lead but there was a fair amount of rivalry between Sailing Logic’s two Reflex 38s. These two kept close company for most of the race and it was not until they split gybes on the penultimate run that Phillippe Falle’s Visit Malta managed to draw ahead of Jaguar Logic, with Tim Thubron helming. Visit Malta’s third place in this race was enough to guarantee runner up in the series, two points ahead of Encore (Steve Anderson/Jane Curwen).
It was a topsy-turvy day in IRC3. The only leading contender to record a decent finish was the new First 35 Stiletto (John Barrett/Paul Woodward) in fourth place. The race was won by Mike Bridges in the Elan 37 Elaine and this result pulled him up to fourth overall in the series. The pre-race leaders Juno (Charles Wittam) and Jika-Jika (Mike and Jamie Holmes) finished well down the fleet, but were able to retain first and second places overall. Stiletto was unlucky to finish on the same points as Jika-Jika only to lose out on countback. The perfect final score went to Warsash Sailing Club members Derek Morland and Tim Rees in Menace counting four wins in IRC4. Due to the delay at the start for IRC1, the smaller boats in IRC4 rounded South Bramble at the same time and the combined fleets made a spectacular sight running back east. The chasing pack of Hobby Horse and the two Sigma 33s Prospero of Hamble and Sigress finished in the same order they had started that day for the more minor placings.
In the J-Boat one design classes, J-Dream had already secured the series win going into the day but she had a real tussle with Velvet Elvis (Adam Wright) for the first half of the race before pulling out a four minute lead at the line. Offbeat managed to overtake Velvet Elvis for second place. The first three boats in the J/105 class had been separated by a single point so Rob Dornton Duff’s second consecutive win in Java ahead of Journeymaker 5 (Chris Jones) was sufficient to take the series win. Paul Griffiths’ Fay-J did not compete on the final day, but finished third overall. Jammin won the last J/92 race, but a second place for Rory and Cathy Staunton on Jaya secured them the series title.
On White Group things went straightforwardly with course setting in the steady wind. The Laser SB3s had two general recalls on the first race and another in the middle race when two boats were black flagged. By the last race, a number of boats had decided not to compete, so the start was clear. It was a clean sweep for Craig Burlton in Gill Racing Team. Geoff Carveth sailed as consistently as ever with no result worse than sixth and won the class Spring Series title for the second time. Chris Cousins in Rumbleflurg improved to take second place ahead of Sarah Allan in Sailboat Spares.com with the Saxton boys fourth with Team Rola Trac.
In the J/80 class, competition has been very close. This weekend saw Ian Atkins back in action with O.N.B.i.P(Our New Boat is in Poland). They were sailing in a borrowed boat as their new J/80 had been delayed by six weeks. He proved not to have lost his touch with a 2,1,1 scoreline for the day. In the overall series John Cooper had a purple patch of four wins on the trot in Oi! and that was just enough for him to finish ahead of the RAF boat Team Spitfire and Terry Palmer’s Just Do It. The final class of SBR Sportsboats had entries only from Hunter 707s and the Officer Training Corps’ boat from Southampton University, Artificer, had the edge and the series in hand before the final day.
Provisional winners – Warsash Spring Series Final Day - 25 April 2010
IRC 1 – Races 7 & 8 Tokoloshe Michael Bartholomew
IRC 2 – Race 6 Premier Flair Jim McGregor
IRC 3 – Race 6 Elaine Mike Bridges
IRC 4 – Race 6 Purple Haze Tony Dodd
Sigma 38 - Race 6 Monet David James Cooke
J-109 – Race 6 J-Dream David & Kirsty Apthorp
J-105 – Race 6 Java Rob Thornton
J-92 – Race 6 Jammin Andrew Campbell
J/80 – Race 16 Aqua-J Patrick Liardet
J/80 – Races 17 & 18 O.N.B.i.P. Ian Atkins
Laser SB3 – All races Gill Race Team Craig Burlton
Sportsboats – Race 16 Scaramouche Katia & Baptiste Merle
Sportsboats – Races 17 & 18 Lutine Belle Lloyds Yacht Club
Provisional winners – Warsash Spring Series 2010 overall points
IRC 1 Artemis Paul Turner
IRC 2 Portia Andrew Iyer
IRC 3 Juno Charles Whittam
IRC 4 Menace III Derek Morland & Tim Rees
Sigma 38 Rapscallion Peter & Fiona Diamond
J/109 J-Dream David & Kirsty Apthorp
J/105 Java Rob Dornton-Duff
J/92 Jaya Rory & Kathy Staunton
J/80 Oi! John Cooper
Laser SB3 GBR 3053 Geoff Carveth
SBR Sportsboats Artificer Southampton University OTC/REME
Full results here