The 2013 Dubarry Womens Open Keelboat Championship was hosted by Hamble River Sailing Club over the weekend of 7-8 September. The sixth edition of this event was sailed in two classes, IRC and J/80.
Saturday morning served up 3 knots or less, which led to the AP hoisted, but limp for one and a half hours as the teams waited, alongside the rest of the regattas on the Solent, for the wind to fill in. By midday a gentle SW 7-8 knots developed and Race 1 got under way, from a line situated in the area of the South Coast Sailing buoy. The short courses were a mixture of windward-leeward and round the cans across the tide in the North Channel testing both sailing and tactical skills.
Race 1 was led from start to finish by Journeymaker 5 sailed by Laura Dillon, who also won the IRC Class on handicap from Annie Kelly’s Blackjack and Sophie Chudziak’s Wee Bear in third. Julie Fawcett’s team on Dexterity came fourth in what was to be her best result of the weekend. Debbie Steel’s Rioja was first J/80 home with Peloton, sailed by Sally Prideux and Lucy LeRoy in second and Cressida Robson’s Juicy in third.
By Race 2 the breeze was a useful south-westerly force 3-4 and occasionally force 5. Journeymaker 5 led the fleet home again, but was unable to gain enough time on the fleet as Gazelle pipped her on handicap. Wee Bear came third for the second time. In the J/80s Rioja, Peloton and Juicy was the repeat result. Race 3 saw Wee Bear up tosecond place in the IRC Class, Journeymaker 5 back in first and a new name on the podium as Neilson Redeye, sailed by Katie Beney, which secured third. The J/80 Class had another Rioja, Peloton, Juicy repeat.
Saturday night saw the fabulous Frocks and Flip Flops party at HRSC. The guests from the fleet, sailing club and those others in the know enjoyed a bubbly reception courtesy of sponsors, Dubarry of Ireland and a delicious hog roast. The WOKC team organised a raffle of prizes, donated by many local and sailing businesses, raising £1300 for Breast Cancer Care and the Hamble Life Boat.
The breeze settled more quickly on Sunday morning, generally from 255°, but with enough oscillation to keep things interesting. The first beat of Race 4 contained a very wet, short squall to test the crews recovery from the night before. Journeymaker 5 posted another first both on the water and on handicap. Neilson Redeye posted their best result so far in second, and Blackjack returned to the podium after some interesting spinnaker work had ruined her chances in Race 3 the previous afternoon. Juicy, clearly better in the wet, stormed home to win the J/80s and upset the form book. Rioja kept the overall win well in sight by posting a second, with Peloton in third.
The breeze was 4-5 occasionally 6 by the start of Race 5, and this clearly affected Juicy who, having won the previous race, was horribly late on the line. Peloton however enjoyed the extra breeze and romped home in first place, with Rioja adding another second place to her three bullets. Journeymaker 5 was making no mistakes in the IRC Class making it four firsts and one second, with the improving Neilson Redeye second again and Blackjack in third.
With the strong wind conditions continuing into the last race, Neilson Redeye's steady improvement was sadly cut short as they lost a crew member overboard in a large gust at the last rounding of the leeward mark. They quickly recovered the swimmer, who was no worse for wear, and managed to finish the race. Fifth was the best they could manage after the mishap, but the Seamanship Prize was in the bag. Journeymaker 5 had to cut a spinnaker halyard away which led to small diversion and second place, whilst Blackjack posted their best result – a first place. Peloton was given redress for standing by Neilson Redeye while recovering the crew member, as she was leading at the time round the last leeward mark. So, both Peloton and Rioja had points for first with Juicy having two points.
Special mention must be made of Lucinda Allaway and her mixed forces crew on Red Arrow who battled round all weekend in 7th place and won a beautiful Dubarry purse as the Spirit of the Event award.
The overall results, determined by PRO Peter Bateson from a formula accounting for consistency and fleet size, saw Journeymaker 5 take the championship trophy followed by Rioja in second and Peloton in third. Prize winners were the recipients of a range of prizes provided by Dubarry of Ireland, including their well-known sailing boots and beautiful handbags.
The provisional date for next year’s championship was announced as the weekend of 6-7 September 2014.
Class Results Overall:
IRC - 1 Journeymaker 5 (Laura Dillon), 2 Black Jack (Annie Kelly), 3 Wee Bear (Sophie Chudziak).
J/80 - 1 Rioja (Debbie Steel), 2 Peloton (Sally Prideux & Lucy LeRoy), 3 Juicy (Cressida Robson).