Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New J-DREAM Leads Frostbite Sailing

J/111 sailboat- rounding windward mark setting spinnaker (Southampton, England)- Since the Royal Southampton YC started its Doyle Sails Frostbite Series on 8th January, it's been apparent the Apthorp's have not lost their winning touch sailing their latest J-DREAM, a magnificently fast new J/111.  "A boat that slips through the water so fast and so quietly that she hardly seems like she's touching the water", a familiar refrain heard in Newport's Candy Store, Key West's Green Parrot and England's King & Queen.

This past weekend, the vagaries of the wind were challenging both the RC/PRO and sailors alike.  It was a bright morning with a steady 11 knots of breeze from 260 degrees when the committee boat set up adjacent to Hover 2 and set a course cascading down Southampton water for race 3 of the frostbite series. As yet, no sign of frost with another mild day in store and gentle wind, or so we thought.

With the minimal tide all classes had good starts even though the wind had started to freshen a little after the warning signal and one or two were shortening sail. By the end of the starting sequence the wind gradient was up to 22 knots and a solid force 6 with some stronger gusts.  What the heck!?  What forecasted this?!  It sure made it lively for the Class 1 boats running back to Hover 2 from the windward mark off Solent Refit at Hythe. The wind started to back and increased further as the race progressed resulting in some spectacular broaches and as the committee boat positioned herself for the second race we were reaching a near gale with a gradient of 30 knots and the gusts blowing dogs off chains from the Pitcher & Piano and across our bows!  Well, the decision was easy- NOT! The decision not to continue racing was never in doubt with such conditions especially as the highest reported wind speed was in excess of 40 knots.

Class 1 was won by Kirsty and David Apthorp’s new J/111 J-DREAM which hit 19 knots on return to the Hamble. Their record of 3-1-1 is giving them a clear lead in Class 1 division, leading by five points with a total of five points!

In J/Class it was the J/80 J'AI DEUX AMOURS owned by Stewart Hawthorn who took the bullet, making their tally of 1-2-1 look pretty strong.  The J/92 BOJANGLES is now in second with a score card of 4-1-6.  Third is JAMIN, John Cooper and Ian Townsend’s J/92, with a 2-4-6. So, other than first place, the racing is close indeed for the 2 to 5 slots on the leader board, only four points separating BOJANGLES, JAMIN, JUST ENOUGH and J'RONIMO.   For more Royal Southampton Frostbite Series sailing information