Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blustery Cold Conditions @ Warsash IV

J/80 sailing on Solent(Warsash, England)- An exhilarating day’s racing was completed for the fourth gathering of the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series on 6th April 2014. Competitors come from near and far for this early season contest and journeying through the driving rain to their boats early on Sunday morning, the sailors might well have been thinking an indoor sport could have been a better choice. During the racing however the visibility cleared, the deluge stopped giving way to glimpses of warm sunshine.

The weather forecast had suggested a brisk south-westerly in the 14 to 20 knot range but with, unusually, the possibility of double that in the gusts. The Black Group committee boat set up station at Bart’s Bash buoy just above the North Channel. Courses were set, largely cross-tide, cascading east with windward legs towards the Isle of Wight shore, giving protection from the heavier seas building up from the Western Solent. Nonetheless, flag “Yankee” was hoisted requiring life jackets to be worn. IRC1 and IRC2 shared a course and completed 15 miles. J/109 and IRC3 had a similar designed circuit of 12.5 miles. Tacticians were kept busy at times hugging the shallower water to avoid the worst of the rising tide on windward legs. Given the strong winds, there was many a spinnaker trawled in the water. Warsash Sailing Club member Iain Mcluckie, the Club’s photographer, multi-tasked to rescue several boats. There was close racing in all classes with many boats nip-and-tuck on the beats- altogether an exhausting but rewarding day’s racing.

In IRC1 the J/111 J-DREAM sailed by David and Kirsty Apthorp holds a five point class lead in the Series. Trailing them in second for the series is Simon Boadle’s MUNKENBECK and in third is Charles Ivill’s team on ETB TYRES- JUST LIKE THAT!

IRC 3 saw the return of the J/97 INDULJENCE sailed by Nick and Adam Munday.  Reveling in the breezy conditions, their team took a second to climb back into sixth overall, counting a DNS in race 3.  When it’s all said and done, it looks likely the INDULJENCE team make take over the series lead once “discard” races are factored into the equation.

IRC4 had a separate start on the White Group line and true to form produced a fourth different winner in four races. This week it was David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO which gained a good lead and now lies in second, just one point back for the series lead!

J/109 sailing on SolentIn the J/109s Iain Mackinnon’s TIGH SOLIUS Soluis II, out for the first time, took first place by 10 seconds from JUST SO (David McGough). When a discard cuts in next time, there could be changes in the leadership.  At this time, the series lead is based on a tie-breaker!  The action has been “hotting up” at the top of the 109 class.  While Paul Griffiths’s JAGERBOMB is still the series leader, David Mcleman’s crew on OFFBEAT have sailed consistently well to vie for the lead- both boats are tied at nine pts each.  Third is Marcus Wilson’s RED ARROW team from the Royal Air Force Sailing Club.

The White Group racing area was closer to the Meon shore. It was a blustery day and misty initially; sometimes the committee boat could make out the shape of the Isle of Wight, at other times they were pushed to see the windward mark. Although the visibility improved the wind was on the edge of 25 knots so again life jackets needed to be worn.

J/70 sailing on SolentThe forecast doubtless resulted in some sportsboat skippers deciding to stay ashore. With racing off the lee shore, there was definitely a more cautious approach to the leeward mark, many opting for an early but safe drop, which at times led to changes of position as later boats threw caution to the wind and gained places with good boat handling and mark rounding. As expected, given the conditions several boats took the opportunity to “rinse their spinnakers”.

The J/80s had competitive starts with the fleet on the line and individual recalls in both races as boats pushed that little bit too hard. In the first, BETTY (Jon Powell) recovered to win. Several boats were not able to finish. JENGA 8 (Andrew Barraclough), out for the first time, won in the J/70s ahead of JUST4PLAY (Simon Cavey).

The two-lap second race saw the wind building to 25 knots and the visibility closed in again. There were plenty more spinnaker incidents. This time JOYRIDE (Ian Wilson) beat JENGA 8 in the J/70s. BETTY again needed to return after starting early and took second place leaving the win to BOYSTEROUS (Ali Hall). With the wind at 30 knots, Peter Knight decided to call it a day after two hard races. It had been a white knuckle ride all round for everyone.

Tired but elated sailors gathered at Warsash Sailing Club after racing, well deserving the free beer! Tracey Gray, Investment Manager from Brooks Macdonald, presented the weekly champagne prizes to class winners and Douglas Struth of the J/80 DSP won the jacket donated by SLAM UK. Next week the pace hots up, with the start of the Spring Championship on 12th-13th April. 80 boats are already entered and more are welcome in all classes. The second weekend of the Spring Championship follows on 26th-27th April. There will be a party at Warsash Sailing Club on the two Saturday nights (12th and 26th April) with live music, food and a friendly bar available. The Spring Series continues on 13th April, then takes a break over the Easter holidays before reconvening for the grand finale on 27th April.  For more Warsash Spring series sailing information