Spring has sprung
The weather certainly took a turn for the better in the opening races of the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series on 16th March 2014. With a clear blue sky and temperature soaring to 18°C, the River Hamble suddenly became alive with keelboats making their way to the Solent start, dinghies competing in the Hamble Warming Pan event, plus cyclists and walkers on the riverside path.
The breeze however had tricks to play. Forecast to come largely from the WNW, the wind started at NNW and swung round to the southwest, making life very difficult for the course setters. Black Group’s committee boat set up station at Flying Fish buoy laying an inflatable mark for the initial windward leg for all four classes near Calshot buoy. As the J/109s and IRC3 approached, the breeze backed, turning the next leg from a run to a fetch across to Wight Vodka buoy close to the Bramble Bank. The wind was often fickle and patchy. All boats made slow progress against the tide towards Middle Bank. At the penultimate mark the race committee sensibly signalled a course change so that the final leg returned to a true beat.
In IRC1 seve,n J/111s were vying for position. Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug leded the class with Local Letterbox Zero II (Mills 39 – James Gair) over a minute adrift on corrected time. Third place was also taken by a J/111: Simon Boadle’s Munkenbeck. Peter Morton in Salvo (JND35) came to the fore in IRC2 ahead of Ino (Corby 36 – James Neville) in a race lasting nearly three hours.
IRC3 included a mixture of asymmetric and conventionally-rigged designs. The course suited Nick and Adam Munday’s IndulJence (J/97) which stole an enviable three minutes on handicap over Cor Blimey (Corby 29 – Giles Redpath) with John Barrett from the Royal Temple Yacht Club taking third place 11 seconds behind in Stiletto.
A range of boats entered IRC4 from the lowest rated GK24 Doom Bar up to the X-332 X-Tosea. In the event it was a tried and tested Sigma 33 which held sway with Toby Gorman’s Stan the Boat. There was a smaller than usual turnout of J/109s where Paul Griffiths’ Jagerbomb and podium place winner last year stole a march on Jynnan Tonnyx.
White Group under CRO Peter Knight completed three races for each of the J/70, J/80 and SB20 classes. The first group enjoyed good clean starts all round with a couple of late arrivals just making it to the line in time. After a one hour race for the first three J/70s, a 100° wind shift caused some tactical quick-thinking for the J/80s and SB20s. Wins were posted for Just4play, Boysterous and Crewsaver Racing. The committee boat then moved close into the Meon shore.
Race 2 saw single individual recalls for both J/70 and J/80 classes as the wind became more variable, shifting south to SSW and dropping. The J/70 Joyride retired after one lap with equipment issues. Just4play went on to another, win but with Django just seven seconds behind, probably caused by returning to restart although not in fact OCS. Race 3 saw a very gentlemanly start by the SB20s – none across the line within 10 seconds of the gun. Crewsaver Racing chalked up her third win of the day as did Just4play in the J/70s. Betty put a halt to Boysterous’ chance of a hat trick in the J/80s.
Back at Warsash Sailing Club, it was an ideal day to relax in the clubhouse garden watching the many craft on the river. Grainger Thomas from Brooks Macdonald presented champagne to the weekly class winners and Winston won the free draw for a Force 1 jacket donated by Slam UK. After the weeks of wet and windy weather competitors and race officers agreed it had been a challenging and highly enjoyable start to this year’s series which continues next Sunday.
Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series
Provisional Class Winners Day 1 – 16th March 2014
IRC1: Jitterbug (Cornel Riklin – J/111)
IRC2: Salvo (Peter Morton – JND35)
IRC3: IndulJence (Nick and Adam Munday – J/97)
IRC4: Stan the Boat (Toby Gorman – Sigma 33)
J/109: Jagerbomb (Paul Griffiths)
J/70: Races 1, 2, 3 Just4play (Simon Cavey)
J/80: Races 1, 2 Boysterous (Ali Hall), Race 3 Betty (Jon Powell)
SB20: Races 1, 2, 3 Crewsaver Racing (Greg O’Brien)