Nab Tower solo
Sunday’s forecast for more breeze than was experienced in Saturday’s Royal Southampton doublehanded Nab Tower Race was spot on. 25 solo skippers set-off downwind from Gurnard at 8am in ten to fourteen knots from the west, although much stronger gusts were seen at the starting line. The rhumb line on starboard gybe close to Osborne bay initially looked favorite but as the wind dropped to well under ten knots the favored route over Ryde Middle (as the tide book predicted) paid off.
Marco Nannini on his UniCredit Class 40 and Rob Craigie on Jbellino spotted this and gybed across to join the leading the pack including Ding Dong and the leading class two boats in particular: Juliette, Malice, Truant and Voador. Once they reached No Man’s Land Fort they then headed up fifteen degrees for the Nab Tower. The wind started to build as the fleet close reached under spinnakers then as leaders approached the Tower the breeze cranked up to over twenty knots plus and backed making close reaching under spinnakers impossible. This forced unplanned drops and un-prepared jib hoists and all boats had to turn hard to port onto a run to drop spinnakers (essential shorthanded in a breeze) this took many well low of the rhumb line and forced many boats to beat bare headed back up to round the Nab Tower to port.
The 60deg fetch back to the finish at Royal Southern buoy was a drag race in a steady 18 knots of wind. UniCredit was first boat home finishing in 3 hours 54 minutes closely followed by the J/122 Jbellino and Ding Dong. When the IRC numbers were crunched and emailed to competitors later that evening Jbellino had won class one, Voador class two and SORC virgin Simon Judge class three in the GK29 Growling Kougar just ahead (11 seconds) of last year’s overall winner Martin Biggs in Beneteau 32.5 Blustery day who edged Chris Flewitt's Contessa 28 Tringa out of second by only two seconds – close racing!
Overall IRC was comfortably won by Simon Curwen in his J/105 Voador, second was Rod Knowles in J/105 Juliette, third Stephen Thomas in HOD 35 Truant.