Ian Atkins helmed his J-80 boats.com to victory
Entries for the sportsboat section of the Raymarine Warsash Spring Championships came from three classes. The J/80s and Hunter 707s raced under the care of Jon Spencer, WSC’s Rear Commodore Sailing, whilst the 48 Laser SB3s had Commodore Peter Knight as their Chief Race Officer.
The J/80s were the first away. Julian Bates’ BjornSlippy rounded the top mark on the inside of Ian Atkins’ Boats.com, took a wider line to the bottom mark but dropped a few places as the fleet got hit by a gust at the gybe point. Atkins sailed a deeper course, took the lead and was never headed for the next four races.
Behind him, Liz Savage in Savage Team Sailing, recorded four second places and then sailed as well in Sunday’s three races to hold second place overall at the halfway stage in the Championship. Sunday’s weather was far more fickle and whilst Atkins was always in the top three, there were race wins for Savage, Stephen Chiverton (Just Chilling) and Robert and Jonathan Fox on Jevan.
The large SB3 fleet surprised the race team with exemplary starting behaviour on Saturday. All four races got away cleanly. Could this be the effect of a no discard series? David Cummings (Rumbleflurg) had a great start to the day. He led the fleet until a poor spinnaker drop at the penultimate mark let Geoff Carveth on Palava in for the win.
With the wind touching 33 knots in the gusts, it was always going to be a test of early season seamanship, but there were no major calamities. No overall lead was established at the end of Saturday.
On Sunday the wind was mainly north-easterly and subject to large shifts. Instead of the start discipline so evident on the previous day, the fleet reverted to their old bad habits and the black flag had to be invoked to ensure all the races scheduled were completed.
Jono Shelley (Team Touareg) missed the first race but took the last two and moved into fourth place behind Carveth, Colin Simmons (Doolali) and Ian Southworth and Nigel Smith (Chilli Chaser).
The Spring Championship for sportsboats will be completed next weekend when a further seven races are programmed.
Raymarine Warsash Spring Championship for Sportsboats
Provisional leaders at the half-way point
1st Hunter 707 Beaver Hunter Paul Grady
1st J-80 boats.com Ian Atkins
1st Laser SB3 Palava Geoff Carveth