The Black Group team set up station near Flying Fish buoy in a constant NNE force 4-5 - ideal sailing conditions except for the temperature. The west-going tide combined with the NE wind helped keep boats back from the line, allowing all starts to get away cleanly. No one wanted to have the delay of a general recall. Courses of 13/15 miles were set basically of a windward/leeward pattern, using permanent and laid marks and with a finish close to Calshot buoy. The boats with slick sail handling did well. It was not easy for crew members to move nimbly wearing so many layers of clothing and with numb fingers. Competitiveness was to the fore, resulting in some hairy moments. Four sailors went overboard: three, all sensibly wearing lifejackets, were caught out when a lifeline snapped. For both incidents, neighboring boats quickly stopped racing and went to their assistance. Everyone was soon back on board, with no adverse effects and the Protest Committee is being asked to award redress to those boats that stood by.
The J-Sprit designs sailing in IRC3 continue to rule the roost. The J/97 JIGGERY POKERY helmed by Paul Heys took a 3rd this past weekend to maintain overall leadership by one point. Nick & Adam Munday's J/97 INDULJENCE was 5th and lies 3rd in fleet. David Greenhalgh & John Taylor's J/92 J'RONIMO is sitting in 5th after taking a 6th.
In the J/109 class, only six seconds separated OFFBEAT (David McLeman) from JAHMALI (Mike and Sarah Willis). Notching up another first means OFFBEAT is on its way to establishing a healthy lead on the fleet. However, just behind them it's an absolute horse-race for the top five spots. Currently, JAHMALI has jumped into second position, followed by Owain Franks & Jean Lockett's JYNNAN TONNYX in third, David McGough's JUST SO in fourth and Ian Mackinnon's TIGH SOLIUS II in fifth.
Peter Knight’s White Group for sportboats was closer inshore where the wind varied between 15 and 19 knots with gusts to the low 20s. The windward/leeward course was set between hamblewinterseries.com and Meon buoys. The breeze was slightly shifty and by the last race the course was moved 15 degrees left. The J/70s and J/80s all enjoyed three races around 40 minutes each. The fleets so far have been well behaved, with only one boat starting early. In the first race BETTY (J/80 – Jon Powell) jumped the gun right by the committee boat but promptly returned, sailed well to recover and take second place followed by two wins in the subsequent races. BETTY has a five point lead over ROCK & ROLL (Gillian Ross) after five races, followed by Mark Baskerville's MISTRAL in third. Others fared not so well, taking a wide or very wide route round the leeward gate with spinnakers getting wrapped round the forestay or not coming down as quickly as the crews would have liked.
In the smaller new J/70 class North Sails (Ruairidh Scott) was competing for the first time and took two firsts and one second places to move into 3rd position overall. But, Ian Atkins in Boats.com heads on series points counting three 1sts and two 2nds to date.
The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series takes a break over the Easter holiday and returns on Sunday 7th April, by which time spring must surely be in the air. In the meantime, the annual RORC Easter Regatta is being held from 29th to 31st March. Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information