Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series - Pace steps up

J/70 (Ian Atkins) won five races over the weekend.
Iain Mcluckie
For Black Group, Sunday’s wind at the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series started in the north and went light before switching eventually to the west, then south-west at 10/12 knots.

Two races were planned for each class and the committee boat anchored near Flying Fish buoy. A 10 mile course was set for IRC1 and IRC2 with shorter courses for the remaining classes. Boats in IRC1 pushed their start, with many over the line early. Several collided with each other and the committee boat. After a general recall, the restart, subject to the 'Z flag', meant an extra penalty for being early and this time the class got away.

There were individual recalls for several classes but all boats returned to start correctly. By the time IRC3 got underway, IRC2 were coming downwind close to the line. One of the many temporary wind shifts meant that for a couple of classes the first leg became biased with little tacking to the windward mark at Wilson Covers. This was where IRC4 joined the parade, having started earlier from a separate line. Most skippers went for a white sail reach to the spreader mark at Hill Head buoy, though a few sailed high hoping to use their kites. After that all the spinnakers went up, followed by a game of tactics – whether to gybe and stay out of the tide or go straight to Sunsail. The majority stayed on the bank but there was more wind in the main channel, where some made significant gains.

Aiming to complete two races, the start sequence for IRC1 began as IRC3 was crossing the finish, so a certain amount of dodging was necessary. Courses involved a couple of windward-leeward legs then a long tactical downwind leg against the tide when all the boats hugged the Lee-on-Solent side before crossing south to North Ryde Middle. The breeze picked up and backed on the way across. There was then another tide versus wind decision before the finish just west of Bart’s Bash.

In IRC1 Local Letterbox Zero II (James Gair) took the first race whilst Tokoloshe II scored another win in the second, leaving her one point ahead of Antix in the Spring Championship. Salvo (Peter Morton) is steaming ahead on Series points in IRC2 and will take some catching. At this stage, when one discard applies, Stiletto (John Barratt) was able to discard a fourth place to score nothing below third and leads IRC3 in the Series. Newcomer Aguila (Sam Laidlaw) broke the trait for a different winner each week in IRC4 by posting two wins but Toby Gorman holds the top spot in the Series skippering Stan the Boat. There will be a right royal tussle next week between J’Ronimo (David Greenhalgh) and Menace (Tim Rees, Derek and James Morland) for the remaining podium places.

White Group experienced shifty conditions too with the breeze moving through 110 degrees during the day and ranging between 10 and 15 knots. The first race had to be abandoned for all classes after one lap but with some nifty relaying of courses, all three races were completed. CRO Peter Knight felt competitors had coped admirably well at the starts given the wind against tide situation, most boats were on the line every time with no need for general recalls.

In the SB20s Jerry Hill in made it a clean sweep with seven wins from seven races over the weekend. Going into the second week of the Spring Championship, he holds a 10 point lead over Whyaduck (Tom, Richard and James Clay). Ian Atkins’ run of success in the J/70s was halted by Django (Malcolm and Tristan Jaques) in two races. There was close racing in the J/80s and a dead heat between Betty (Jon Powell) and Boysterous (Ali Hall) in the first race, each scoring 1.5 points, with Juicy (Allan Higgs) only 24 seconds adrift in third place. Jasmine (Douglas Neville-Jones) came to the fore in Race two and Rock and Roll (Gillian Ross) in Race three.

It was a good sunny day to enjoy Warsash Sailing Club’s riverside garden after racing where Jonathan Broad, Investment Manager from Brooks Macdonald, presented champagne to the weekly class winners and WSC member Aron Wellband from the SB20 Flutter won the jacket donated by SLAM UK. The event now takes a break for the Easter holiday and returns on 26th-27th April for the grand finale of both the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series and the Spring Championship.