David Palmer star performer
What a difference a fortnight makes – from near Mediterranean conditions at the start of the 175 Regatta sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, to a more typical early summer in The Solent with grey skies at its culmination in the June Regatta held this weekend.
Luck, however, did not desert the regatta entirely, as the storm force conditions seen along the south coast earlier in the week abated sufficiently to allow racing to go ahead on the Saturday. All classes lost a race from the programme as the breeze built again in the afternoon, but the competitors were earlier able to test themselves in the heavy airs.
Sunday saw a full programme of racing from three start lines in the eastern Solent, with the wind defying sub-10 knot forecasts to stay in the 13-20 knot range for most of the day. The predicted rain, for the most part, also stayed away.
As so often the case, winners in one set of conditions retained the ability to keep the winning habit in others, and boat handling skills – or lack thereof – saw places won and lost at mark roundings. Real dramas were kept to a minimum, though a J/109 needed the assistance of the inshore lifeboat to get off the beach at Hill Head after running aground on Saturday, and tight racing in IRC2 on Sunday saw a minor collision and a flurry of protests.
The star performer of the weekend was XOD sailor David Palmer, who produced a perfect performance across five races to carry on where he left off in the May Regatta. Starting this year with only one win in the previous two seasons, he has found the form – and crew aboard Princess Jalina – to up his game.
"We were certainly going fast this weekend and I had a very, very good crew," Palmer said. "Andy Shaw won the Captain’s Cup and won Cowes Week last year against 153 other Xs with a day to spare, so he’s a fantastic sailor. He’s the top under-25 match racer in the country, so he’s real class – he was playing tunes on my mainsail. I’ve just never seen anything like the mainsheet trimming that was going on today.
"We were so fast because we were making the mainsail work in a way that nobody else was. Andy’s a good man to have on your side, but we won’t having him again as this was just a one-off," he added, with a statement that will no doubt come as a relief to the XOD opposition.
Other yachts too were delivering perfect scorelines, notably Mike Bridges’ Elan 37 Elaine in IRC2, Mike Holmes’ J/97 Jika Jika in IRC3, Brett Aarons’ Quarter-Tonner Aguila in IRC4, Fenton Burgin’s immaculate Sioma in the 6 Metre Class, J Goodwin’s Harlequin in the J/109s, and Mike Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe in IRC1 – all of whom delivered an unbroken string of bullets.
"The crew is clicking and the boat’s going fast, it just all seems to be going really well at the moment," said Mike Bartholomew, who races with an Anglo-South African crew. "We had 28 knots on Saturday and Sunday was a steady 15 to 20 knots, though the wind was more tricky and I think we used eight different sails – so it made the boys work hard for it. Most of them enjoyed it, despite the majority being at the Mount Gay Rum Red Cap party on Saturday night."
John Powell’s Betty edged Paul Gray’s Beaver Hunter for the 707 Class top spot by a single point in what was one of the tightest of fleets over the weekend.
At Sunday’s prizegiving, Brewin Dolphin's Executive Chairman, Jamie Matheson, made special note of the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s enormous hospitality and professionalism in running such an important regatta. He then made presentations to all the winners and runners up and thanked everyone on the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s Race Management team and all the organisers for their hard work. On behalf of the competitors, Champion of Champions winner XOD sailor David Palmer, also thanked the huge efforts of the Royal Southern Yacht Club.
Results June Summer Series Regatta
Tokoloshe (King 40)
Shmokin’ Joe (J111)
Jeez Louise (J111)
Elaine (Elan 37)
High Tension (J109)
Alaris (Dehler 36 SQ)
Jika Jika (J97)
Aguila (Quarter Tonner)
Imptish (Hunter Impala 28)
QTpi (Quarter Tonner)
Hunter 707 Class
6 Metre Class
The next key racing event in the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s 175 Anniversary year is the Brewin Dolphin British Open Metre Regatta taking place over 27-29 June.