Double win for Noonmark
The race started at the Royal Thames buoy in a fresh westerly. In class 3, Faze 3 had a cracking start and was well heeled over, leading the charge down the Western Solent. The fleet was soon joined by a large number of competitors in the JOG race to Guernsey and there was some close and competitive tacking through the Needles. The channel was picturesque with masses of red, green and white lights criss-crossing each other.
Dawn greeted most of the fleet in the vicinity of Portland Bill with winds easing and boat speeds tumbling. The forecast was for light and variable winds, but held out a glimmer of hope of an easterly later in the evening. The Swan 56, Noonmark VI made it to Brixham to claim line honours in time for lunch, well ahead of the second finisher, Noonmark V who crossed the line some five and a half hours later. The remainder of the class 1 finishers, Audacious and QII didn’t quite finish in time for supper and hospitality at the Brixham Yacht Club.
The Class 2, 3 and multihull, fleet was stretching out in the light patch conditions in Lyme Bay and trying some deep water kedging as the tide turned. Just before midnight, Garnele crossed the finishing line, followed by The Flying Fish, some 50 minutes later to complete the race. The only Class 2 finishers.
First home in class 3 in the early hours of Sunday morning was Faze 3, followed by the only multihull finisher, Backlash. Debanessa crossed the line just before dawn to claim the Class 3 win on handicap, and there was a huge round of applause for A Day At The Races as she came in at 0939 to complete the race, only 20 minutes before the cut-off time.
The forecast easterly wind arrived too late to be of use to the competitors, except as a headwind for those returning to the Solent. Some yachts continued on to the Torquay and Dartmouth regattas whilst others used the opportunity to cruise the West Country at a more relaxed pace.
With only one race to go in the series, Audacious, Garnele, A Day At The Races and Tigger are leading their classes, with some of the minor places still being hotly contested.