Pace steps up for Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series

Close company at the mark in IRC1 - Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series 2014
Iain Mcluckie
It was a busy time for Warsash Sailing Club on 12th-13th April with racing on both days for the opening of the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship and the fifth Sunday of the Spring Series.

As the weather became warmer, entry numbers have increased so that some 140 boats were out to enjoy the full schedule of racing. During the two days, the race officers ran over 50 separate races – a challenging but rewarding weekend all round.

Saturday 12th April – day one Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship

Michael Bartholomew's new Tokoloshe II - Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series 2014
Iain Mcluckie

For Black Group, the south-westerly breeze started light but built by the end of the afternoon to a brisk 17 knots. Four races were scheduled and completed, largely using windward-leeward courses.. Royal Southern YC member Michael Bartholomew was last year’s winner of the top-prized Brooks Macdonald Trophy, having won both the Spring Series and Championship in his Mills 40 Tokoloshe. This year he is campaigning Tokoloshe II, a GP42. Although the boat had been out practising on previous weeks, whilst awaiting a new keel and rudder, this was their first taste of competition and they started well, winning the second and third races in IRC1. Race one went to Antix (Ker 39) skippered by Anthony O’Leary, who will head the Irish team in the Commodores’ Cup, and Race 4 to Hooligan V11 (Ker 40 – Edward Broadway). It was an excellent day for Adam Gosling’s Yes! (Corby 36) which, after a disappointing initial race, finished with three wins.

In 2013, Warsash Sailing Club decided to open the Spring Championship to all IRC handicap classes. Although entries were modest for the smaller boat classes last year, IRC3 and IRC4 entered excellent fleets this time. A clutch of Sigma 38s came to join IRC3 and Nigel Goodhew’s Persephone was pleased to count two wins; the others going to Malice (HOD 35 - Mike Moxley) and Diamond Jem (J/109 - Robert Stiles) which finished the day with a two point lead. The ratings in IRC4 ranged from the GK24 Doom Bar at 0.814 to La Nef, John Noe’s X-332 at 0.974. Honours were shared between Illegal Immigrant (Quarter Tonner - William McNeill) and Whooper (Laurent Giles one off sloop - Giovanni Belgrano). Iain MacKinnon’s Tigh Soluis II headed three of the four races for the J/109s with Jubilee (Tony Dickin) taking Race one.

J/70 (Ian Atkins) won five races over the weekend - Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series 2014
Iain Mcluckie

The White Group committee boat set up station in what might be regarded as their usual spot near Meon buoy close to the entrance of Southampton Water. The weather did not turn out as forecast with a shifty breeze reaching 20 knots at times. The stronger wind caused some equipment failure. The SB20 Slinky broke a spreader resulting in a very bent mast and Juicy (J/80) finished flying their mainsail from the head and clew only when the tack and bolt rope gave way. Nonetheless, four races were completed. It was a clean sweep for Ian Atkins, out for the first time in the J/70 class, with and for former SB20 World Champion Jerry Hill in In the J/80s Aqua-J (Patrick Liardet) and Betty (Jon Powell) each took two wins.