Monday, March 25, 2013

Challenging Start For Warsash Spring Series

J/97 sailing Warsash Spring Series J/70s, J/80s and J/IRC Love Fickle Solent Conditions
(Warsash, England)- The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series got underway on 17th March 2013 with a tough trial for competitors, race officers and especially foul weather gear! It was certainly a cold wet start to spring. In the eastern Solent, the wind, initially at 25 knots, died to 5 knots and moved from easterly through to south then north westerly. In such a changeable situation, it was not an easy day for the course setters; neither did they want to keep crews waiting on a chilly damp day. Nonetheless, most of the day’s program of racing was completed with time for everyone to relax and warm up at Warsash Sailing Club’s Shore House afterwards for results, day prizes and FREE beer for competitors!!

J/80s sailing Warsash spring series, EnglandThe Black Group committee boat, running three classes for IRC handicap and J/109s, anchored near Universal Marina buoy. The tide was east going until 1300 and sea state smooth. Showers affected the breeze and conditions were very localized. Courses were set using South Ryde Middle and then West Ryde Middle as a weather mark. As the breeze shifted around, the planned runs sometimes turned to shy spinnaker reaches, beats to fetches and vice versa, but each leg offered a challenge in finding the best breeze and using or avoiding the tide. After the start of IRC3 the wind started to die on the first beat. Those taking the Brambles route gained an advantage over those heading out towards Ryde Middle. The decision over whether or not to shorten, as the wind diminished and then picked, up left PRO David Greenway and his race team on tenterhooks, but finally the set courses of 12 to 15 miles were allowed to run, with boats in all classes able to finish.

This year several J-Sprit designs are included in IRC3 and the course clearly suited them. The J/97 Jiggery Pokery helmed by Paul Heys took line and handicap honours followed by two more bowsprit boats: Indulgence (J/97) and J’Ronimo (J/92). Skippers in the J/109 one design class may well have listened to the miserable forecast and decided to keep warm at home, as only half the competitors were racing. Runner-up in last year’s event, David McLeman and Offbeat took a clear win over Tigh Soluis II and Jynnan Tonnyx.

J/70 RAF Spitfire- sailing Warsash spring seriesOn Peter Knight’s White Group sportsboat line, close inshore conditions were similarly fickle with the wind varying from 0 to 15 knots, sleet and very occasional sunshine. The RC team was determined to get some racing despite the lack of stable conditions.  Averaging 5 knots the breeze swung from north-east to south, nearly to the west before settling briefly at south-west. The committee boat first set up station at Meon buoy, moved offshore due to a left shift, then back again. The J/80 and new J/70 classes got underway but the wind was beginning to die and many finished close to the hour target time. As the wind died away again, the second race was shortened to a single lap. The light and variable conditions did have the benefit of encouraging no one to be over the line. The J/80 fleet looked close on the water with the bulk rounding marks together. Jon Powell in BETTY came to the fore. In both races Ian Atkins ( dominated the newly introduced J/70 fleet.    Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie   For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information