The return of winter
There was a distinct turnabout in conditions for the second meeting of the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series on Sunday. From the ‘T-shirts and shorts’ balmy weather of a week ago, waterproofs were to the fore on a chilly day which brought a mixture of sunshine and heavy rain or hail showers and a strong breeze. Inevitably this took its toll on boats, equipment and sailors but the race officers set tight challenging courses keeping all the crews busy – and warm. To the course setters’ delight, this week the wind remained constant allowing true beats and runs for all classes throughout the morning.
Given a forecast northwesterly 13-20 knots with gusts to 26 knots and just two hours after low water at the starts, the Black Group committee boat took up station at North Ryde Middle buoy. IRC1 and 2 were given a 16 mile course with 11 marks, alternating long and short legs. Although many starts were close, with jostling on the line, they were all clear. Tidal tactics were important crossing the main channel between Peel Bank and South Ryde Middle. The sun appeared from time to time but so did the lively squalls accompanied by rain and hail.
In IRC1 James Gair’s Mills 39 Local Letterbox Zero II retired after losing its mast man overboard during a gybe. He was quickly retrieved, suffering no harm, although Solent Coast Guard arranged a paramedic to meet the boat on arrival in Cowes.
After nearly three hours’ racing, J-Dream (J/111 - David and Kirsty Apthorp) finished 26 seconds ahead of sistership Jitterbug (Cornel Riklin) on handicap. This was after Jitterbug had paused to stand by the MOB for which the race committee has asked the protest committee to give redress.
Peter Morton in Salvo (JND35) notched up a second win in IRC2 by the narrower margin of 16 seconds from Puma Logic (Reflex 38). Starspray (Dehler 36 – Bateson family and friends) led round the course in IRC3 but lost first place on handicap to the lower-rated Elaine (Elan 37 – Mike Bridges) with John Barrett’s First 35 Stiletto third.
Two boats retired in IRC4 leaving the quarter tonner Menace to win, crewed by Warsash Sailing Club stalwarts Tim Rees, Derek and James Morland. Last week’s winner Stan the Boat was second followed by Prospero of Hamble.
There was a full turnout of entries in the J/109 class although again two boats failed to finish. Jagerbomb (Paul Griffiths) again performed well to chalk up a second win followed by Offbeat (David McLeman).
On the White Group sportsboat division for J/70, J/80 and SB20, the wind built from 14 to 20 knots in the half hour before Race 1. Competitors stayed well back from the line, helped by the first of the flood tide. All the same they were too close for comfort from the committee boat which weighted the anchor chain down and laid an inner distance mark. At times during the squalls visibility dropped considerably so that the committee boat lost sight of the windward mark at one point. At the latter part of the morning the wind dropped equally suddenly from 26 to 9 knots, making it all quite challenging.
At the J/70 start Boats.com (Ian Atkins) impeded Joseph’s Coat (Marie-Claude Heys) and so took a two-turn penalty but nonetheless went on to win this and the remaining two races. Django (Malcolm and Tristan Jaques) was second placed in Race 1 and Joseph’s Coat in Races 2 and 3. The J/80 Boysterous had spinnaker trouble right at the final turn of Race 1 and was swept down towards Lee-on-Solent in a broach, gallantly struggling with sheets wrapped around the rigging for several long minutes before making it back to the committee boat to finish fifth. Another J/80 Jasmine decided to call it a day having completed Race 1. Betty (Jon Powell) gained a hat trick of wins despite being over the line and needing to return in Race 3.
Many of the SB20s had perhaps read the forecast and stayed ashore. Aron Wellband’s Flutter came out to join the second race which was shortened in 20-24 knots of breeze. Race 3 saw a big wind shift driven by storm clouds. Crewsaver Racing (Greg O’Brien) winner of the first two races, retired with a broken boom after crossing the start line, leaving Flutter with a class win.
After a tiring but exhilarating morning competitors were pleased to swap stories in the Warsash Sailing Club bar later where the draw for the Force 1 jacket donated by SLAM UK was made and Jonathan Broad from Brooks Macdonald presented champagne to the weekly class winners.
The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series returns on 30 March with a reminder for competitors that British Summer Time starts that day too.
Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series
Provisional Class Winners Day 2 – 23rd March 2014
IRC1: J-Dream (David and Kirsty Apthorp – J/111)
IRC2: Salvo (Peter Morton – JND35)
IRC3: Elaine (Mike Bridges – Elan 37)
IRC4: Menace (Tim Rees, Derek and James Morland – Keltic 25 quarter tonner)
J/109: Jagerbomb (Paul Griffiths)
J/70: Races 1, 2, 3 Boats.com (Ian Atkins)
J/80: Races 1, 2, 3 Betty (Jon Powell)
SB20: Races 1, 2 Crewsaver Racing (Greg O’Brien), Race 3 Flutter (Aron Wellband)