The fleet arrived in the start area off Lee-on-Solent in a fresh SW 15 knots which provided perfect conditions for a frisky day of autumn racing. There were enough gusts to keep the trimmers sharp, great visibility and patches of warm sunshine. The PRO got the J/109 fleet away on time for a zig-zag course back and forth across the tide between the mainland shore and Ryde Bank.
A keen start by Just So (David & Mary McGough) saw them have to return to cross the line, whilst the majority of the J/109 fleet promptly tacked off to the right hand side of the course to keep out of the strong east-going tide. The J/109 fleet then started to spread out as boats made a break across the tide, with those going early being rewarded with a left-hand wind shift.
From Sunsail, Shiva (Matthew Boyle), Joyride (Michael Jones) and Aria (Luca Rubinelli) led the fleet for a pleasant run back across the channel to East Bramble and Joyride got into the lead for the beat back to South Ryde Middle. The breeze built to 20 knots by the second windward mark and the kite-hoisting leaders had to avoid a cruising catamaran, much to everyone’s 'amusement'.
By now the tide was easing and the second run saw boats spreading out across the course looking for good breeze and covering their nearest competitors with Shiva having regained the lead. Offbeat (David McLeman) and Firestorm (Jon Perry) had overtaken J-Dream (David & Kirsty Apthorp) and Beth (Guy Knight) had overtaken Aria and Joyride. The leeward mark rounding saw the J/109s encounter the Class 2 fleet, which made for a bit more excitement before the beat to the finish at Mackley Construction. Then it was a quick breather for sandwiches before headsail changes in the building breeze and on to the next race.
Result Race 5:
1st – Shiva (Matthew Boyle)
2nd – Beth (Guy Knight / Five Star Sailing)
3rd – Aria (Luca Rubinelli)
The second race of the day (Race 6 of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series) started in the early afternoon with a freshening wind and slackening tide, placing more emphasis on slick crew work and helming, than navigation.
A port-bias on the line was missed by some. J-Dream was quick off the line and led a pack off to the right. The wind had built to 23-25knots and was gusty, requiring the J/109 crews to hike hard. At the windward mark, North Ryde Middle J-Dream was closely followed by Aria, who had a lead of a couple of boat lengths from Beth and Shiva.
The exhilarating downwind charge back to Fastnet Insurance saw a few broaches and some kite wraps in the gybes J-Dream and Aria retained their healthy lead from the fleet. Shiva gained ground on the second beat and had moved into second place with Aria and Beth close behind.
Aria had a disappointing spinnaker hoist and could only watch as the fleet zoomed past downwind. A few minutes of all hands tugging wet nylon out of the sea and Aria found herself at the back of the fleet – a single error is very costly with such close racing.
J-Dream got tangled up with the ship, which had been moored but had now started to move, allowing Shiva to gain the inside line for the leeward rounding. Shiva held J-Dream off to the finish to take their second race win of the day.
Result Race 6:
1st – Shiva (Matthew Boyle)
2nd – J Dream (David and Kirsty Apthorp)
3rd – Beth (Guy Knight / Five Star Sailing)