Competitors and officials alike had to contend with some very unpleasant conditions - sullen skies, a bitter driving rain and cold Force 5 to 6 north-easterly.
In the Big Boat classes, the 45 footers provided some very close on-the-water racing for the final of the Raymarine Warsash Spring Championship.
Boat handling and tactical skills proved often more important than boat design, which is the attraction of this type of racing level handicapped.
A good example of this was Tony Langley’s Atomic, which raced downwind without a spinnaker pole, picked up the gybe point to perfection and passed McFly within feet of the finish for ninth place.
This weekend, Simon Henning and his crew on Alice II were the masters of the fleet. They scored three wins, a second and a fifth from the five races completed. They were hard on the heels of Eamonn O’Nolan’s Freddie Freeloader, but O’Nolan had no result worse than a fourth over the two weekend series, so won by three points.
IRC1 provided a very interesting mix of boats topped by three TP52s, through a bevy of 40 foot designs and larger J-Boats, down to Peter Rutter’s new Quokka, a Corby 36.
On Saturday morning the young team from Volvo RYA Keelboat Sailing on their TP52 John Merricks II had round the world sailor Alex Thompson calling the tactics. They enjoyed a brilliant first race, finishing 10 minutes ahead of the rest, but after that Niklas Zennstrom’s Ran, also a TP52, proved unstoppable, taking the three following races on Saturday as well as a clean sweep of the two on Sunday.
The Irish boat Blondie IV, Eamonn Ronan’s very pretty King 40, was the next most consistent boat, collecting four seconds, a third and sixth in six races, although she did not compete on the first weekend. Had she done so, she would almost certainly have finished higher than her 11th place overall.
The First 40.7 Class was mainly a tussle between three boats - Tarka, tfs Philosophie IV and Portia. Although Steve Anderson and Jane Curwen in Encore scored a third and first on Sunday, they had missed too many races to break into the top ranks. David Richards’ Prime Suspect finished top of the table in the Commodore’s Cup Class 3 but a final decision as to who is finally included in the team rests with the RYA. Raymarine Warsash Spring Championship for Big Boat Series
Provisional Final Results:
1st Farr 45 Freddie Freeloader Eamonn O’Nolan 21 pts
2nd Farr 45 Alice II Simon Henning 24 pts
3rd Ker 46 Fair Do’s VII John Shepherd 42.5 pts
1st DK46 Dark & Steamy Nick & Anne Haigh 45 pts
2nd TP52 Poppy of Portland John Dean 51.5 pts
3rd First 45 John Merricks II Volvo RYA Keelboat 59 pts
1st Tarka Guy Prest 18 pts
2nd tfs Philosophie IV Nicolas Gaumont-Prat 22 pts
3rd Portia Andrew Iyer 24 pts