Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sunny Start to HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series

J/70s sailing Warsash (Warsash, England)- Glorious sunshine heralded the first Sunday of the six week Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series on Sunday 13 March.

The breeze was shifty, as expected with a northeasterly coming off the mainland shore and it was swinging up to 45 degrees and quite variable in speed; average 10 knots that occasionally dropped to seven knots and rose at times to 13 knots. There was generally enough breeze to run against the strong spring tides, although this did mean each downwind turning mark opened up big tide gates in some fleets.

The White Group classes and Black Group IRC4 class were kept close to ‘home’ with their courses starting and finishing at buoy. Black Group classes were started on the Ryde Middle Bank and raced predominantly windward leeward legs, finishing near the north channel off Hill Head.

J/88s sailing Warsash spring seriesSeveral ‘race rusty’ White Group competitors were caught out by the strong easterly going tide, combined with the north easterly breeze, and were over the line at the start for race one. By race three of three they were back in the swing of it with a clean start.

Racing was tight with significant overlaps between the classes making for some exciting boat-on-boat competitive sailing. The White Group saw the J/70s and J/80s enjoy three races on the day.

At the end of the day, the J/70 COSMIC (Patrick Liardet) was leading the J/70 class, with INJUNCTION (Steve Venables) in second place and Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8 sitting on third after a tie-breaker.

In the J/80s, last year’s series champion, BETTY (Jon Powell) is leading the J/80 class followed by JUMBLESAIL (Rachel & Robert Hunt) in second and AQUA-J (Terence O’Neill) in third position.

J/109 sailing Warsash spring seriesThe J/109 class sailed one race with Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE taking the lead, with Owain Franks’ jolly crew on JYNNAN TONNYX taking silver and Dave Mcgough’s JUST SO in the bronze.

The IRC handicap world saw good performances across the board in the shifty, streaky conditions.  In IRC 1, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG took 2nd place.

The IRC 2 class has five J/88s racing each other for one-design honors.  First home was Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT followed by David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM in 2nd, Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR in 3rd, Gavin Howe’s TIGRIS in 4th, and Dirk Van Beek’s SABRIEL JR in 5th place.

The racing is close and competitive in the 28-32 footer class of IRC 3.  Leading the charge for J/teams this weekend was David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO, taking 2nd in class.  Andy Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK crossed the line in 6th and Natalie Jobling’s J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS cruised home in 12th place.

J sailors enjoy spring Warsash seriesThere was a good crowd back in the clubhouse after racing to collect the winners’ champagne prizes, presented by Annabel Shove from race partners Rolly Tasker Sails. The week’s free draw for a Helly Hansen Salt Power jacket was won by Jon Powell (Betty, J/80) - although with two Betty’s racing in the Series there was an undignified scramble as the two crews raced to be the first Betty to pick it up!

The Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series is sponsored by Helly Hansen and supported by race partner’s Crewsaver and Rolly Tasker Sails.

The Warsash Sailing Club runs Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series and for the White Group Combined results is using the Warsash Handicap System which has been developed from the 2015 Championship results.  For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series sailing information