Despite the gorgeous day, the breeze had tricks to play. It was forecast to come largely from the WNW, the wind started at NNW and swung round to the southwest, making life very difficult for the course setters. Black Group’s committee boat set up station at Flying Fish buoy laying an inflatable mark for the initial windward leg for all four classes near Calshot buoy. As the J/109s and IRC3 approached, the breeze backed, turning the next leg from a run to a fetch across to Wight Vodka buoy close to the Bramble Bank. The wind was often fickle and patchy. All boats made slow progress against the tide towards Middle Bank. At the penultimate mark the race committee sensibly signaled a course change so that the final leg returned to a true beat.
In IRC1 seven J/111s were vying for position. Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG headed the class with third place also taken by a J/111- Simon Boadle’s MUNKENBECK. Third J/111 was David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM. Rounding out the top five for a good showing in their inaugural regatta as Louise Makin & Chris Jones on JOURNEYMAKER II.
IRC3 included a mixture of asymmetric and conventionally-rigged designs. The course suited Nick and Adam Munday’s J/97 INDULJENCE, which stole an enviable three minutes on handicap over their class. In fact, starting out the new season at the head of the class, just like they left it after the Hamble Winter Series!
In the IRC 4 class, past winner J’RONIMO, David Greenhalgh’s J/92, sailed well and stayed out of trouble to start off the series with a third in class.
There was a smaller than usual turnout of J/109s where Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB and podium place winner last year stole a march on their friends on JYNNAN TONNYX sailed by Owain Franks & Jean Lockett. Taking third on the day was David Mcleman’s OFFBEAT with the RED ARROW crew, helmed by Marcus Wilson in 4th. Fifth was Dave Mcgough’s JUST SO.
White Group under CRO Peter Knight completed three races for each of the J/70 and J/80 classes. The first group enjoyed good clean starts all round with a couple of late arrivals just making it to the line in time. After a one hour race for the J/70s, a 100 degree wind shift caused some tactical quick-thinking for the J/80s. In the J/70s, Simon Cavey’s JUST4PLAY led around the course followed by DJANG (Malcom/ Tristan Jaques) and Marie-Claude & Paul Heys on JOSEPH’s COAT. Amongst the J/80s, Ali Hall’s BOYSTEROUS took the gun ahead of the fast-closing BETTY (Jon Powell) and Patrick Liardet’s AQUA-J. After this first round, the committee boat then moved close into the Meon shore.
Race 2 saw single individual recalls for both J/70 and J/80 classes as the wind became more variable, shifting south to SSW and dropping. The J/70 JOYRIDE retired after one lap with equipment issues. JUST4PLAY went on to another win but with the Jaques’s DJANGO just seven seconds behind, probably caused by returning to restart (although not in fact OCS). Race 3 saw JUST4PLAY “three-peat” in the J/70s, chalking up another win for the day to be leading the series. In the J/80s, BETTY finally put a halt to BOYSTEROUS’s chance of a hat trick by taking the last race.
Back at Warsash Sailing Club, it was an ideal day to relax in the clubhouse garden watching the many craft on the river. Grainger Thomas from Brooks Macdonald presented champagne to the weekly class winners. After the weeks of wet and windy weather competitors and race officers agreed it had been a challenging and highly enjoyable start to this year’s series which continues next Sunday 23rd March 2014. Sailing photo credits- Ian McLuckie. For more Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series sailing information