'Zero II Local Letterbox took IRC1 with four straight victories despite shifty wind conditions - AVEVA September Regatta 2013'
© Michael Austen
AVEVA September Regatta at Royal Southern Yacht Club saw shifty conditions upset the pecking order on a few occasions, and final results in two classes required protest room judgements, but the regatta put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces, with handsome trophies for the successful.
The season finale was blessed with sufficient breeze to ensure a full programme of races, though final races on both red and green lines were shortened.
Some of the tightest racing of the weekend came from the J80s, with wins across the six races shared between the top four boats. However, Patrick Liardet's Aqua-J took the lion's share with three successive victories to take the class by two points from Mike Lewis' Jester, with Colin Hall's Boysterous filling out the podium.
A delighted Patrick said: 'It's been a good fun regatta. The great thing about the J80s is that the boats are really evenly matched so it's really about the boat handling, so going round the corners well means you can win or lose a little bit, and in the tacks as well.'
Though sailing without its normal crew, Aqua-J was able to fight back from an early set back.
'We were OCS on the second race and had to go back and never got back in to the fleet,' said Patrick. 'We won the last race on Saturday and on Sunday just got really in phase upwind so made some really good gains.
'In the final race the fleet split downwind and Colin Hall went left and got some good pressure and good tide.'
Consistency brings its own rewards
That consistency can bring its own rewards was demonstrated in the always competitive J109 class, which was won by Iain Mackinnon's Tigh Soluis II with a string of top-three finishes though no race wins.
Mike Wallis' Jahmali took second, with one victory to her credit, and Tony Dickin's Jubilee third. Jubilee took four wins but her regatta was marred by a collision which put her out of two races.
Mike Flood’s J7T won the J70 class with four wins and two second places - AVEVA September Regatta 2013 - © Michael Austen
The J70s also saw a tight tussle for top spot, with Mike Flood's J7T edging Simon Carvey's Pheebs - by four wins to two - with Ian Wilson's Joyride third.
Elliott Motherwell helmed Dux to victory in the XOD class - AVEVA September Regatta 2013 - © Michael Austen
Meanwhile, youth for once got the better of long experience in the XOD fleet with 31 year-old Elliot Motherwell's Dux getting the better of second and third place boats whose skippers' average age was 80.
Elliott - with a mere 20 years in XODs - took four wins before a 'navigational error' saw them give best in race five to Philip Almeida's Fantasy, which took second overall. Gerry Golding's Pepper was third.
'They've got the experience,' conceded Elliott, adding: 'There was good racing but when you get out in front it's always easier to cover them. The start lines were very square and the courses were good. It was very shifty but that's what you need for a good regatta.'
IRC1 was won with a string of bullets by Cowes-based Zero II Local Letterbox, taking part in her first Royal Southern regatta. Skipper James Gair paid tribute to the way his crew dealt with sometimes tricky conditions. 'It was great, though really shifty conditions - we had everything from sub-10 to over 20.
'We had a really good team with different guys doing tactics each day, but they played the shifts perfectly and it worked out really well. I'd sailed with two people on the boat before, but everyone else was brand new and had never sailed the boat before, but they gelled really well - a good rapport, good banter.'
And he added: 'The courses were absolutely brilliant and the race management was first class. It's the first time we've raced from the Southern, and we'll be back.'
IRC3 was also won with a perfect scoreline, with Adam Munday, 21, sharing driving duties with his father Nick on the J97 Induljence.
Adam said: 'I drove on the Saturday and my dad on Sunday. It was very shifty and we won the third race by nine minutes - we just came out the right side.
'We've been sailing for about six years, and dinghies before that, so we get on pretty well. The boat gets used a lot - I think we've done 40 races this year, so we get out most weekends and that means the crew gels together really well.'
David Greenhalgh's J92 J'Ronimo pipped Neville Hodkin's X362 Xtra Djinn for second place on countback.
In IRC2 Peter Morton's Corby 33 Salvo emerged as class winner after taking two wins on Sunday, ahead of Robbie and Lis Robinson's First 35 Hot Rats and Mike Bridge's Elan 37 Elaine. The latter had looked set for better with two wins on Saturday, but steering failure ruled her out of both races on Sunday.
NHC Club Class was won by Dudley Stock's X302 Xtract ahead of John Rutherford's Sigma 30 Degree of Latitude and Daniel Anthony's Grand Soleil 39 Malaika.
Gary Baker's Trio narrowly won bragging rights in the SB20 class with four straight wins to finish a point ahead of Natalie French's Turbulence Too.
IRC4 was won unopposed by Lucy Wood's Quarter-tonner Rum Bleu, as was the 1720 class by Steph Merry's Midnight Cowboy.
Tigh Soluis II emerged the winner in the hotly contested J109 class - AVEVA September Regatta 2013 - © Michael Austen
1 Zero II - 4 points
2 McFly - 8
3 Cracklin Rosie - 13
1 Salvo - 6 points
2 Hot Rats - 11
3 Elaine - 16
1 Induljence - 4 points
2 J'Ronimo - 10
3 Xtra Djinn - 10
1 Xtract - 6 points
2 Degree of Latitude - 8
3 Malaika - 10
1 J7T - 8 points
2 Pheebs - 10
3 Joyride - 23
1 Aqua-J - 11 points
2 Jester - 13
3 Boysterous - 17
1 Tigh Soluis II - 14 points
2 Jahmali - 19
3 Jubilee - 24
1 Trio - 10 points
2 Turbulence Too - 11
1 Midnight Cowboy
1 Dux - 6 points
2 Fantasy - 9
3 Pepper - 17
by Phil Riley
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9:51 PM Sun 29 Sep 2013GMT
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