Monday, March 31, 2014

Wet & Woolly Warsash II

J/109 sailboats- sailing Warsash series on Solent (Warsash, England)- To say there was a distinct turnabout in conditions for the second spring series race would be an understatement for the intrepid teams that gathered together to go sailing on the capricious Solent. From the “shorts & shades” balmy weather of a week ago, “wellies, woollies & slickers” were the chosen armour on a chilly weekend that brought a mixture of sunshine and heavy rain or hail showers and a strong breeze. Inevitably this took its toll on boats, equipment and sailors but the race officers set tight challenging courses keeping all the crews busy – and warm. To the course setters’ delight, this week the wind remained constant allowing true beats and runs for all classes throughout the morning.

Given a forecast north-westerly of 13-20 kts with gusts to 26 kts and just two hours after low water at the starts, the Black Group committee boat took up station at North Ryde Middle buoy. IRC1 and 2 were given a 16 mile course with 11 marks, alternating long and short legs. Although many starts were close, with jostling on the line, they were all clear. Tidal tactics were important crossing the main channel between Peel Bank and South Ryde Middle. The sun appeared from time to time but so did the lively squalls accompanied by rain and hail.

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing Warsash spring series on SolentIn IRC 1 class, after nearly three hours’ racing, the J/111 J-DREAM sailed by David and Kirsty Apthorp finished 26 seconds ahead of sistership JITTERBUG sailed by Cornel Riklin. Notably, this tight finish was produced after JITTERBUG had paused to stand by an MOB situation where JITTERBUG, quite rightly, requested redress from the RC/ Protest committee.  With seven J/111s vying for position, the standings are getting interesting already. JITTERBUG is leading the class with a  1-2 for 3 pts and J-DREAM has now jumped into second position with a 4-1 for 5 pts.  The biggest gainer week over week was Will Naylor’s crew on BRITISH SOLDIER, taking a 7-4 for 11 pts.

J/109 and J/92 sailing Warsash series on SolentThere was a full turnout of entries in the J/109 class although again two boats failed to finish. Paul Griffiths’s JAGERBOMB again performed well to chalk up a second win followed by David McLeman’s OFFBEAT. Third on the day was Dave Mcgough’s JUST SO.  As a result of this weekend’s performance, it looks like the JAGERBOMB crew have the “magic dust”, sailing fast and staying out of trouble in the corners.  Chasing them hard for the series is OFFBEAT with a 3-2 for 5 pts, now lying in second overall.  Just behind in third is Marcus Wilson’s RED ARROW team with a steady 4-5 for 9 pts.

In IRC 3 division, Nick and Adam Munday’s J/97 INDULJENCE continue to lead their class by just one point after posting 1-4 scores for 5 pts.  And, in IRC 4 class, David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO is sailing a consistent series with finishes of 3-4 for a series total of 7 pts, just 4 pts out of first.

On the White Group sportsboat division for J/70 and J/80 the wind built from 14 to 20 knots in the half hour before Race 1.  Competitors stayed well back from the line, helped by the first of the flood tide.  All the same they were too close for comfort from the committee boat which weighted the anchor chain down and laid an inner distance mark. At times during the squalls visibility dropped considerably so that the committee boat lost sight of the windward mark at one point. At the latter part of the morning the wind dropped equally suddenly from 26 to 9 knots, making it all quite challenging.

J/70 sailing the Solent- Warsash spring seriesAt the J/70 start (Ian Atkins) impeded JOSEPH’S COAT (Marie-Claude Heys) and so took a two-turn penalty but nonetheless went on to win this and the remaining two races. DJANGO (Malcolm and Tristan Jaques) took second in Race 1 and then Joseph’s Coat took seconds in Races 2 and 3.  The top three boats are quite close in the series standings, separated by only two points!  Simon Cavey’s JUST4PLAY still leads with a 1-1-1-5-3-3 scoreline for 14 pts.  Tied for second at 16 pts each are DJANGO with a 2-2-2-2-4-4 tally and JOSEPH’s COAT with 3-3-3-3-2-2 in six races.

J/80 sailing on Solent- Warsash seriesThe J/80 BOYSTEROUS had spinnaker trouble right at the final turn of Race 1 and was swept down towards Lee-on-Solent in a broach, gallantly struggling with sheets wrapped around the rigging for several long minutes before making it back to the committee boat to finish fifth. Another J/80 JASMINE decided to call it a day having completed Race 1. BETTY (Jon Powell) gained a hat trick of wins despite being over the line and needing to return in Race 3. At this stage, BETTY has surged to a 5 pts lead with 5-2-1-1-1-1 scores for 11 pts total.  Behind them, it’s a jumble with teams trading places back and forth race-by-race.  Mike Lewis’s JESTER is currently second with 3-4-2-3-2-2 for 16 pts and Patrick Liardet’s AQUA-J is lying third with 2-3-3-2-4-3 for 17 pts.

After a tiring but exhilarating morning competitors were pleased to swap stories in the Warsash Sailing Club bar later where Jonathan Broad from Brooks Macdonald presented champagne to the weekly class winners. The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series returns on 30th March with a reminder for competitors that British Summer Time starts that day too.  Thanks for contribution from Louay Habib.  For more Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series sailing information