Sunday, March 12, 2017

HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series Preview

J/70 sailing Helly Hansen Warsash series (Warsash, England)- An important annual rite of passage in the English springtime is about to take place on the Solent this coming weekend!  Dust off those boots, toss the boat in the water, get some new gear from HELLY HANSEN and get ready for the insanely popular spring sailing event known as the HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series.  For six weekends, Londoners, Welshmen (and women), a few Scots, a smattering of Irish, and even a few intrepid Dutch, French and Beneluxers head to the Southampton Water to test their luck and skills navigating around the tricky waters of the infamous Solent.

Host to this bacchanalian affair is the Warsash Sailing Club, famous for their post-race social festivities and their daily awards ceremony.  Hundreds of passionate J/Sailors will be participating over the six Sundays- March 12-19-26 and April 2-9-23.  In fact, nine J/teams make up 31% of the IRC fleet and the 32 J/one-design teams help make up for an amazing 60% of the entire armada heading out each Sunday morning down the Hamble River.

On offer for those adventurers are four IRC divisions, J/109 and J/88 classes in the Black Group and J/70 and J/80 classes in the White Group. For Black Group there will be one race a day around the cans for the first four Sundays, then two races a day on the last two dates. White Group sports boats will enjoy three races on laid courses each week.

All classes included in the Spring Series can enter the CREWSAVER Warsash Spring Championship that will run on the two weekends of April 8-9 and April 22-23. In addition, there is a Mixed Sports boat Class for J/70 and J/80 sailors to collect even more pickle dishes for the mantelpiece!

J/88 sailing Warsash seriesSeries Chairman, Peter Bateson, commented, "The Warsash Sailing Club (WSC) is looking forward to welcoming everyone for what should be another great Series of racing out in the Solent. Our 110-strong experienced RC/PRO teams will be aiming as always to provide first-class, well-run racing afloat and a friendly welcome ashore combined with good value for money for competitors!  Plus, we again welcome aboard, and greatly appreciate, our sponsors for both events- HELLY HANSEN of Norway and CREWSAVER of the United Kingdom.”

Starting this weekend on the Black Group division is the IRC, J/88 and J/109 classes.  In IRC are nine J/crews participating, including the pretty new J/122E JUNO sailed by Chris Daniel, three J/111s (Paul Griffiths’ new JAGERBOMB, Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG, & Simon Bamford’s KESTREL), two J/92s (Brian Malone’s BLUE DIAMOND DODJER & David Greenhalgh’s J’RONIMO), two J/97s (Helen Hofmann’s JASLAN & Rachel & Robert Hunt’s JUMBLESAIL 2) and the new J/112E skippered by Peter Symons.

With their largest turnout as a one-design class so far, the nine J/88s will certainly be having a rip-roaring good time if the breeze is nuking down the Solent against a 4.5 kts current!  Ready to send it down the track are both veterans and some newcomers.  This year’s teams include Paul Ward’s notorious EAT SLEEP J REPEAT, David & Kirsty Apthorp’s fast J-DREAM, Paul Heys & P Tait’s JENGA, Richard Cooper’s colorful JONGLEUR, Alistair Ray’s JUMUNU FIVE, Tim Tolcher’s RAJIN’ BULL, Dianne & Dirk Van Beek’s SABRIEL JR, and Gavin Howe’s TIGRIS.

Still popular with the cruising set is the wonderfully comfortable, and fast, J/109 class.  Seven teams will be dueling on the line, including a number of past Hamble Winter, Warsash Spring, Cowes, and Round Island Champions!  Leading the charge could be Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX, but they will be chased hard by Robert Stiles’ DIAMOND JEM, Susie & Mike Yates’ JAGO, Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE, David McGough’s JUST SO, Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN’, and Rob Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN’.

Over on the White Group starting area is the so-called “Sportboat” course.  Here we find, not surprisingly, the largest turnout of J/teams in the J/70 fleet- a dirty dozen strong group of blood-thirsty pirates ready to go to war for a pint’s worth of bragging rights at the WSC bar afterwards.  Avast, ‘ye mateys!  They are sure havin’ fun!  Back at it again with some newbies sprinkled into the mix are teams like Simon Cavey’s JUST4PLAY, Dave Mcleman’s OFFBEAT, Ian Wilson’s SOAK RACING, Patrick Liardet’s COSMIC and Graham Clapp’s JEEPSTER.  For the J/80s, the leading teams should include Jon Powell’s BETTY and Terry O’Neill’s AQUA-J.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright and Paul Wyeth.  For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.