Spring Solent Double - Close racing and gusty conditions

Royal Southampton Yacht Club - http://www.rsyc.org.uk
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The first inshore Corona Extra Double Handed race of the 2013 season was a soggy affair. The rain made its arrival just in time for the start and got heavier during the day as the wind increased and the expected front came through. In the S - SSE wind, the race team selected Sunsail Racing as the windward mark and South Coast Sailing as an ODM. As the visibility closed in, all five classes got away cleanly and soon disappeared into the mizzle.

Rounding Sunsail Racing to starboard, all classes reached across to the Cowes Radio mark in the Western Solent. The brave attempted kites, with the majority waiting till close to Gurnard to hoist. A few smaller boats who attempted spinnakers earlier were caught out by the strong southern wind funneling down the Medina off Cowes. Well before the mark all kites were away and on rounding classes 1, 3 and Multi-hulls headed for the Saltmead buoy, while classes 2 and 4 hardened up for the elephantboatyard.co.uk racing mark on the Isle of Wight shore.

From there, all classes converged on South Coast Sailing and a run up to the finish. With a target race time of 3hrs, the race management team considered shortening at Coronation, but decided to let it run.

First to finish was Class One Wee Bear (Projection 920), in 2hrs 48:22, who also kept their place at the top of the podium on corrected time. Second was Elaine (Elan 37) and third was Malice (HOD 35), which had to beat back up Southampton Water having initially missed the finish mark.

Edith (Elan 333) was the first boat in Class 2 to finish, but on handicap Jiminy Cricket, a Contessa 26, took first place pushing Edith into second. Hydra (Beneteau First 33.7) was third. In this closely fought class only 16 seconds separated Connie (Folkboat) and Eskymo (Smokey 25), and a mere seven seconds between Google Eye (Trapper 300) and The Flying Fish (Laser 28).

In Class 3, Arc (Arcona 400) led on the water and on corrected time. Jammin (J/92) was second on handicap by under a minute and Azygos (Dufour 40) took third place.

Squander (Westerly Typhoon 37) took the honours in Class 4, from Aquarius Ventures (Maxi 34), and Deep Thought (Dehler 35).

In the multihull class, Cold Fusion Reloaded was first on the water and on corrected time.

Racers debated and discussed tactics back in Royal Southampton’s Ocean Village Clubhouse and many stayed for a competitively priced hearty racing supper.

RSYC has been running Double Handed racing for more than 30 years. The next race of the 2013 Corona Extra Double Handed Series will be the Weymouth Double, starting from the Central Solent on 4th May. Early entry discount deadline is 24th April 2013.

Class 1 boats cross the start line into the mizzle.
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