Jbellino takes season opener
Singlehanded Offshore Racing Club’s opening race of 2011 saw 25 out of 27 entries on the starting line, 22 yachts racing for the Carbon Pole Trophy under IRC and three Minis with their own start heading for the Nab Tower at 10.00 on Saturday. In previous years the season has started with the Round the Isle of Wight Solo - RIOW, but this year for variety and to give skippers a shakedown, the Nab Tower was the first. This was held in with perfect conditions, with a 10 knot easterly breeze and the flood tide making the main deep water channel the preferred route.
The IRC fleet set off from Gurnard all on starboard tack heading out into the stronger tide. Top rater in Class 1 was new recruit Ian Hoddle with the eye catching all-pink, modified asymmetric Figaro 2 Rare with an IRC of 1.105. He would have his work cut out, as veteran Chris Rustom on Ding Dong and three J122s – Jbellino, Oojah and Mint Julip all rating around 1.080, had raced Solo before and Peter Olden’s A35 Solan Goose at 1.032 would, as always, be chasing hard. Class 2 had two HOD 35s Malice and Comedy of Errors, the Dehler 36 Fantesea, four J105s - Oscar Mead on Juneau, Rob Knowles on Juliette, and the return of Andy Hill on Only Just and new to SORC Flawless J sailed by James Heald.
Ding Dong, Jbellino, Oojah, Malice and Solan Goose stretched ahead with the fleet soon spreading the full width of the favorable deep channel, wind shifts were few, the breeze steady and by the forts the cloud dropped down reducing visibility to a mile or less – no land in sight and often few other boats. Three boats, blushes spared, parked on Ryde Sands for prolonged periods.
First round the Tower was Ding Dong with Jbellino close behind, shortly followed by Malice ahead of Solan Goose. The return leg was a run all the way making the asymmetric boats work the angles while the symmetric boats were able to gybe once at Ryde and straight line it dead down wind. By the finish Jbellino had passed Ding Dong taking line honors and Peter Olden’s new 106sqm asymmetric configuration paying dividends passing Malice finishing third across the line.
Class three spread across 184 IRC points – so it was a case of place your bets!! This included new entrant Richard Breeze with Impro, a Hunter Sonata rating at 0.810 up to Carl Wilcox on the Projection 920 Wee Bear at 0.994. In between returning for more was the Maxi 1050 Geofon, Sigma 36 - British Beagle, Black Jack 31.7, Squander - Westerly Typhoon, Elan 340 - Nereid and Mike Saqui who has traded up to an Elan 333, Edith. Edith set off as windward boat by the shore and soon led the class as the handicap spread separated the boats.
On the return leg Carl Wilcox worked the asymmetric on Wee Bear to finish at speed on starboard two seconds ahead of Edith running square on port both boats within 50m of the finish mark Snowdon.
Mike Saqui’s Edith an Elan 333 went on to take first overall under IRC and in doing so won the coveted Carbon Pole Trophy, a great result given this was his maiden race on the boat.
The separate Mini start welcomed new Proto Mini Transat Mad Dog – built all in carbon and sailed by Jake Jefferis, Andy Oliver with Prim A’vel and Glyn Deakin with Crean. Crean was first to the Nab Tower but once round Jefferis’ lighter boat was faster finishing two minutes ahead after six hours of racing. We hope to build on this and Sunday morning saw a new face taking Mad Dog for a run.
When race officer David Giddings and Kirsteen Donaldson had crunched the numbers the results announced in the Anchor Pub were as follows:
Class 1 First Jbellino J/122, Second Solan Goose A35, Third Ding Dong- Stewart 37
Class 2 First Juliette J/105, Second Malice HOD 35, Third Flawless J/105
Class 3 First Edith Elan 333, Second Wee Bear Projection 920, Third Nereid Elan 340.
Overall IRC First Edith Elan 333, Second Jbellino J/122, Third Solan Goose A35
Mini’s Open First Mad Dog Jake Jefferies, Second Crean Glyn Deakin, Third Prim A’vel Andy Oliver.