The Royal Ocean Racing Club was determined to open the IRC National Championship in style and three excellent races on challenging windward-leeward courses was the result offshore of Portsmouth. With virtually no wind forecast for the central Solent, as well as tidal and depth issues, the Race Committee decided to take the fleet east in search of a decent breeze and the result was a magnificent day on the water.
In IRC Three James Chalmers' J/35 BENGAL MAGIC was fast out of the blocks and after three races led their class by one point. Reigning RORC IRC National Champion, the JPK 10.10, Strait Dealer, scored one race win today to claim third place. That was quite an auspicious start for the classic J/35 against the latest IRC machines off top European designer's drawing boards!
The top performer of the day was Nick and Adam Munday's J/97 INDULJENCE, scoring three straight wins in IRC Four. In light airs getting a good start and into clear air was the telling factor and INDULJENCE started every race with great anticipation. Richard Sparrow's J/92 WHO'S TO NO was second.
For the second day of sailing the RORC P.R.O chose Hayling Shoal as the combat zone. With five races now completed, battle lines were emerging for the three classes J's were racing. Day Two was another light winds affair with the 54 strong RORC fleet heading once again to the best sailing grounds available. With the wind speed barely reaching 10 knots, starts were important and getting into clear air gave a distinct advantage. However, some yachts were over-eager with several general recalls and a number of boats were called over the line on individual recalls. Only two of the scheduled three races were sailed, however the race management team were roundly applauded for getting in two good races with difficult weather conditions.
In IRC Two, Cornel Riklin's JITTERBUG had posted three finishes in the top five (3-4-4) but had an 8th in race 5 to hurt their chances for the podium. Her sistership, Andrew Christie's J/111 ICARUS, sailed like her namesake, not melting her wings as she streaked to the front of the fleet, posting a bullet to her scoreline.
In IRC Three J/35 BENGAL MAGIC's fantastic championship efforts continued. James Chalmers and his crew from Weymouth scored a win and a second place today to lead the class and had the lowest net points score overall for the entire fleet. "We have put in a lot of preparation for this event," commented Chalmers, skipper of Bengal Magic, and we are proud to say we are a Weymouth boat and would love to take the silverware back to Dorset but we will have to see how things go tomorrow."
Nick and Adam Munday's J/97 INDULJENCE had a perfect scoreline in the morning but the Hamble based crew were over the line at the start of the first race of the day and had to go back and the error cost them dearly. However, INDULJENCE were still leading the class, but discarding an eighth place meant one more slip up would see them move down the leaderboard. Tied on points for second place was Richard Sparrow's J/92 WHO'S TO NO. "My son Adam put in a lot of hard work getting Induljence race prepped and we have all been sailing through the cold winter months to enjoy this weekend's beautiful sunny weather," commented Nick Adams. "We are delighted to be doing so well and it really is all down to preparation but we still have one more day to go."
For the final day of racing on Sunday, the crews faced a fairly grim forecast-- next to no or little wind was on the cards and it would be difficult for the RORC committee to get the ball rolling and have a "fair" race for all. As it happened, all classes got away off Gillkicker Point, but a substantial shift in the light breeze was too much to provide fair racing and the race was abandoned shortly after the start.
Consequently, Cornell Riklin's J/111 JITTERBUG snatched a fourth place in IRC2 having sailed a solid series in the middle three races. Chalmers J/35 BENGAL MAGIC took IRC honors. "It has come as a complete surprise to win our class!" commented an ecstatic Chalmers. "We have been racing against some well sailed boats but now and again everything clicks together and that has been the case this weekend. We are absolutely thrilled to be national champions. I have just spent a fortune with Spinlock, so I am delighted to hear that we will be receiving some prizes from them, as well!"
National Champion in IRC Four was awarded to Nick and Adam Munday racing J/97 INDULJENCE who won three of the five races sailed. Richard Sparrow's J/92 WHO'S TO NO took second place and Charles Ivill's J/97 JIGGERY POKERY took fifth in class. Thanks for contribution from RORC/ Louay Habib. Sailing Photo credits- Paul Wyeth- http://www.pwpictures.com For more RORC IRC Nationals Championship sailing information