Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Challenging conditions for the Warsash Series

by Flavia Bateson on 7 Apr 2014
Problems for IRC3 when Kolga dropped her spinnaker in the water at the leeward mark Iain Mcluckie
An exhilarating day’s racing was completed for the fourth gathering of the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series on 6th April 2014. Competitors come from near and far for this early season contest and journeying through the driving rain to their boats early on Sunday morning, the sailors might well have been thinking an indoor sport could have been a better choice. During the racing however the visibility cleared, the deluge stopped giving way to glimpses of warm sunshine.

The weather forecast had suggested a brisk south-westerly in the 14 to 20 knot range but with, unusually, the possibility of double that in the gusts. The Black Group committee boat set up station at Bart’s Bash buoy just above the North Channel. Courses were set, largely cross-tide, cascading east with windward legs towards the Isle of Wight shore, giving protection from the heavier seas building up from the Western Solent. Nonetheless, flag 'Yankee' was hoisted requiring life jackets to be worn. IRC1 and IRC2 shared a course and completed 15 miles. J/109 and IRC3 had a similar designed circuit of 12.5 miles. Tacticians were kept busy at times hugging the shallower water to avoid the worst of the rising tide on windward legs. Given the strong winds, there was many a spinnaker trawled in the water. This happened to the British Keelboat Academy Farr 45 Kolga whose kite not only landed in the Solent but came adrift. Warsash Sailing Club member Iain Mcluckie, the Club’s photographer, multitasked to rescue the sail after which Kolga retired. But they were certainly not the only ones in trouble rounding the leeward mark. There was close racing in all classes with many boats nip-and-tuck on the beats - altogether an exhausting but rewarding day’s racing.

In IRC1 Local Letterbox Zero II (Mills 39 - James Gair) chalked up their second win although J-Dream (J/111 – David and Kirsty Apthorp) holds a five point class lead in the Series. The First 40 Tarka also gained another first place in IRC2. This boat is on charter from owner Guy Prest by Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish Yacht Club and part of the three-boat Irish team in practice for the Commodore’s Cup. Commuting from Dublin, there was no chance of taking their winner’s champagne back on the flight so ... well the bottle just had to be emptied there and then! The consistently good performance of Peter Morton’s Salvo, never dropping below second place, gives them top spot in the Series. The heavier conditions suited Mike Moxley’s HOD35 Malice, now on level points with Starspray (Dehler 36) and one point below Mike Bridges Elaine in IRC3. The Ramsgate-based boat Stiletto (First 35 – John Barrett) still heads the Series podium places. IRC4 had a separate start on the White Group line and true to form produced a fourth different winner in four races. This week it was David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’Ronimo which gained a good lead over second placed X-Tosea (X-332 – David Hunt). In the J/109s Iain Mackinnon’s Tigh Soluis II, out for the first time, took first place by 10 seconds from Just So (David McGough). When a discard cuts in next time, there could be changes in the leadership, especially of classes IRC1 and IRC3.

The White Group racing area was closer to the Meon shore. It was a blustery day and misty initially; sometimes the committee boat could make out the shape of the Isle of Wight, at other times they were pushed to see the windward mark. Although the visibility improved the wind was on the edge of 25 knots so again life jackets needed to be worn.


The forecast doubtless resulted in some sportsboat skippers deciding to stay ashore. With racing off the lee shore, there was definitely a more cautious approach to the leeward mark, many opting for an early but safe drop, which at times led to changes of position as later boats threw caution to the wind and gained places with good boat handling and mark rounding. As expected, given the conditions several boats took the opportunity to 'rinse their spinnakers', including one of the J/70s whose keel was seen briefly to break the surface before returning to the more normal broach pose to recover and sail on.

The J/80s had competitive starts with the fleet on the line and individual recalls in both races as boats pushed that little bit too hard. In the first, Betty (Jon Powell) recovered to win. Several boats were not able to finish. Jester (Michael Lewis) battled spectacularly for several minutes having lost control of the A spinnaker. Jenga 8 (Andrew Barraclough), out for the first time, won in the J/70s ahead of Just4play (Simon Cavey). Whyaduck (Tom, Richard and James Clay) chose this day to start their 2014 season, and headed the SB20s.

The two-lap second race saw the wind building to 25 knots and the visibility closed in again. There were plenty more spinnaker incidents; Mistral in particular headed towards the end of the course in horizontal motion. This time Joyride (Ian Wilson) beat Jenga 8 in the J/70s. Betty again needed to return after starting early and took second place leaving the win to Boysterous (Ali Hall). Only two SB20s boldly stayed for the second race and after 38 minutes Flutter (Aron Wellband) finished 38 seconds ahead of Crewsaver Racing (Greg O’Brien). With the wind at 30 knots, Peter Knight decided to call it a day after two hard races. It had been a white knuckle ride all round for everyone.


Tired but elated sailors gathered at Warsash Sailing Club after racing, well deserving the free beer! Tracey Gray, Investment Manager from Brooks Macdonald, presented the weekly champagne prizes to class winners and Douglas Struth of the J/80 DSP won the jacket donated by SLAM UK. Next week the pace hots up, with the start of the Spring Championship on 12th-13th April. 80 boats are already entered and more are welcome in all classes. The second weekend of the Spring Championship follows on 26th-27th April. There will be a party at Warsash Sailing Club on the two Saturday nights (12th and 26th April) with live music, food and a friendly bar available. The Spring Series continues on 13th April, then takes a break over the Easter holidays before reconvening for the grand finale on 27th April.

Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series

Provisional Class Winners Day 4 – 6th April 2014

IRC1: Local Letterbox Zero II-Dream (James Gair – Mills 39)
IRC2: Tarka (Guy Prest - Beneteau First 40)
IRC3: Malice (Mike Moxley – HOD35)
IRC4: J’Ronimo (David Greenhalgh – J/92)
J/109: Tigh Soluis II (Iain Mackinnon)
J/70: Race 1 Jenga 8(Andrew Barraclough) Race 2 Joyride (Ian Wilson)
J/80: Race 1 Betty (Jon Powell), Race 2 Boysterous (Ali Hall)
SB20: Race 1 Whyaduck (Tom, Richard and James Clay), Race 2 Flutter (Aron Wellband)

Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Southern Spars - 100Mackay Boats

Related Articles

RORC Caribbean 600 race kicks off tomorrow
The light air forecast is not good news for the Italian ocean racing trimaran which is designed for much stronger winds. Soldini’s men have been monitoring the weather situation closely after the formation of a low-pressure storm system far to the north of Antigua disrupted the normal strong trade wind conditions.
Posted today at 6:00 pm
Vendée Globe – Roura to finish Monday morning with Super Superbigou
Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race. Seven solo racers were still at sea this Sunday afternoon. Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race.
Posted today at 5:40 pm
Spectacular opening for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
The highly acclaimed Antigua Band 1761 took to the stage and lit the blue touch paper. Sailors enjoyed a traditional Caribbean welcome with the Panache Steel Orchestra opening the musical entertainment, complimentary drinks and fine Caribbean fayre.
Posted today at 5:05 pm
Krabi waters deliver a spectacular Day 3 of the Bay Regatta 2017
Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls / multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for 2017 The Bay Regatta Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls and multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for the 2017 The Bay Regatta, getting the boats off early and enjoying the good breeze and eye-candy that is the Andaman triangle of Phuket-Phang Nga-Krabi.
Posted on 18 Feb
Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story
Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February.
Posted on 18 Feb
Vendee Globe - Under a square head jury rig and storm jib - Day 104
Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail to reach the finish line of the Vendee Globe. The single handed sailor is attempting to become the first competitor in the eight editions of the solo non-stop round the world race to complete the course using only natural energy. He has 200nm under the makeshift rig
Posted on 18 Feb
Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story - 11th place
Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place in the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne Journalist and solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place in the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February. His excellent finish represents the culmination of a dream to take part in the famous solo ocean race around the world. Sailing Newrest-Matmut Amedeo's elapsed time for the course is 103 d 21h 1 m.
Posted on 18 Feb
EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour - Douillard avenges upset with victory
French sailing star Thierry Douillard avenged shock last-minute defeat in opening stage of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour French sailing star Thierry Douillard avenged a shock last-minute defeat in the opening stage of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour by snatching victory in round two of the Gulf classic on Friday.
Posted on 18 Feb
J Class to race its first ever World Championship this year
Just over one hundred years on from the advent of the Universal Rule, the J Class will get to race World Championship. Just over one hundred years on from the advent of the Universal Rule, to which they were originally built, the J Class will this year get to race its first ever World Championship.
Posted on 17 Feb
Spain’s Xabi Fernández to skipper MAPFRE in Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18
Xabi will return to the Volvo Ocean Race after finishing his work for Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup campaign. The 40-year-old Xabi, who has taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race four times, won Olympic gold in Athens 2004, and followed that up with a silver in 2008 – both times alongside his long-term sailing partner Iker Martínez.
Posted on 17 Feb