After a complete blow out to week one, race 3 kicked off for the Garmin Hamble Winter Series. The J/109 fleet carefully navigated their way through thick mist to find an unstable, light easterly breeze.
Racing started promptly, despite the Race Officer barely able to see one end of the line to the other and the J/109 fleet beat its way to the south east against an increasing tide.
Johnny Blue II (Jeff Dakin/Bruce Jubb/Mike Flood) took half of the fleet towards the eastern shore, whilst Offbeat (David McLeman) and Zelda (Ben Richards/Michael Ewart-Smith) took the middle ground and Stalker (Steven Tapper) went right, into the mist.
Those who had gone left looked good for a while until the wind died and Stalker emerged out of the mist to lead the fleet towards the windward mark, Burgess Salmon. The windward mark proved to be a tidal gate which caught out the majority of the fleet, allowing Stalker to extend her lead, followed by Offbeat, Audajious (David & Barbara Jobson), Juno (Tony Dawson) and Beth of Five Star (Guy Knight) with the rest of the J/109s spread out behind them down the run.
The mist cleared to reveal a beautiful cloudless sky and as the wind stabilised, a perfect day for sailing began and winter sailing gear was being thrown away, in preference for shorts and tee-shirts; sun screen being more important than hot coffee.
J-Dream (David & Kirsty Apthorp), Zelda and Firestorm (Jon Perry) having learnt their lesson at the windward mark, judged the leeward mark rounding perfectly and moved up through the fleet.
The final beat to the finish line proved tricky against a strong tide and saw Offbeat cross the line first, closely followed by J-Dream. With close tactical racing in the J/109 Class, third to fifth places were split by less than 30 seconds. J/109 - Race 3
1st Offbeat – David McLeman
2nd J-Dream – David & Kirsty Apthorp
3rd Stalker – Steven Tapper Two races are scheduled per day at the Garmin Hamble Winter Series and the J/109 fleet, were keen to assist the race team and promptly returned to the starting area.
The wind had built to 12/14 knots which would make for a quicker race four in the brilliant sunshine. A quick lunch and the PRO set the same course. Against a slightly weaker tide J-Dream and Jumunu Two and a Half (Alistair Ray/Paul Heys) were on the line together with Munckenbeck (Alfred Munckenbeck) and again headed towards the eastern shore.
This time the wind held and J-Dream rounded the windward mark, hoisted the spinnaker and enjoyed the long run back to Universal Marine. Meanwhile Jumunu Two and a Half held off Outrajeous (Richard & Valerie Griffith) whilst Firestorm and Just So (David & Mary McGough) battled it out for 4th place, with Firestorm victorious by 8 seconds. J/109 - Race 4
1st J-Dream – David & Kirsty Apthorp
2nd Jumunu Two and a Half – Alistair Ray/Paul Heys
3rd Outrajeous – Richard & Valerie Griffith