Royal Southern Yacht Club's June Regatta has witnessed the second day of action amid weather which again proved the old racing adage, to finish first, first you have to finish.
Class two winner Hot Rats' Co- skipper, Robbie Robinson, sums it up by stating that: 'Our success was due to other people’s failure – it was a bit of a war of attrition.' It was a story repeated through the fleet, where a combination of good seamanship, smart boat handling and attentive crew work brought its own rewards.
Saturday’s weather conjured up The Solent at its most unpleasant, with high winds and a short, steep sea that made for uncomfortable conditions for both racing crews and committee boat and mark-laying teams. Some crews elected not to leave the dock, and many others, having sampled conditions in Southampton Water and further out in The Solent, elected to race another day and headed back. Those who completed their single races – which counted towards the IRC Solent Series – were happy to be heading home before the full effect of wind over tide kicked in.
Principle Race Officer on the Red Line, Simon Hand, said: 'The wind was quite strong, so knowing that the tide was going to turn, we wanted to get a quick race. Sure enough, when the tide turned towards the end of the first race we knew it was going to get extremely rough out there and the wind was still building, so we decided against a second.'
On the Green Line for the J80s and SB3s, as well as the J92s, whose National Championships were running in conjunction with the June Regatta, line squalls and torrential rain were the order of the day, and PRO Philip Gage decided not to start any races.
In the IRC classes only the Class three J97s Jika Jika and Fever had the confidence and chutzpah to set spinnakers, and even they prudently elected not to try and gybe them in wind speeds that were gusting over 30 knots.
Sunday promised better conditions, and though the breeze built to produce lumpy conditions when the tide turned, the smaller boats were given three races and the IRC classes two, albeit with a number of retirements ahead of the second.
Class one saw a much anticipated match between two of the bigger new boys on the block, the Xp44 XS Moment and the Club Swan 42 Magical Mystery Tour. Edward Leask’s Swan harried the Xp around the course but had to give best to their lower rated rival, losing by two minutes on corrected time before deciding to call it a day rather than risk gear and sails in the second race.
XS Moment when on to record her third win out of three. Skipper/helm Guy Jackson welcomed the competition on the demo yacht’s first ever weekend of racing.
'It was good. We had some stiff competition. The Swan was also new, and in our one race against them it was close, but we were able to stay ahead. It’s given us a good idea how the boat is going to perform.' The newcomer’s impressive performance was only marred at the end of the final race by a spinnaker drop that turned into a trawl.
'The kite was pretty much back in the boat, then I looked back and it was out of the back,’ said Jackson. 'We ripped the kite but we can repair it. Bit of a shame, a bit of a downer, but you’ve got to look at the positives.'
Robbie and Lis Robinson admitted to being surprised to have won Class two with a 4-4-2 scoreline, but as the only boat to have completed three races they were ahead of immediate competition from Steady Barker and Elaine. 'We just went around in a seaman like manner, completed the races and came home,' said Lis.
It was a similar story in Class four where Timothy Corner’s Girolle won, thanks to 2-3-3 with no other yacht putting three scores on the doors. By comparison, Fever added to her May Regatta victory with another win in Class 3 (2-1-1), despite strong competition from fellow J97 Jika Jika (1-2-4) and the First 34.7 Madraco (3-3-3).
Skipper Grant Gordon said: 'We have a great team of guys. Saturday was really testing stuff and I’m really glad they put in a race, albeit it was over 25 knots. Everyone sailed a safe race, which was a credit to everyone out there. 'We’re getting set for our Nationals,' he added. 'They do a great job at the Southern. It’s great training and a great regatta as well.'
In the J80s, Robert Larke’s crew on J2X went one better than their second at the recent Nationals, winning with a perfect scoreline. Their only regret is that they didn’t get a chance to add to it.
'We didn’t get a race on Saturday, which was a bit of a disappointment,' said Larke. 'I can see that the SB3s might have struggled, but we’re not really a small sportsboat but a small keelboat. 'On Sunday the breeze got up to around 30 knots and it was fine. I think that’s been taken on board.'
The winner of the SB3 class, Mark Stokes, with a 1-1-2 scoreline aboard Eau No!, had no complaints about Saturday’s cancellation, and said his crew reveled in Sunday’s conditions, even recovering from an OCS in the second race to come back and win.
'It was the first time out in heavy winds but we knew what we were doing – we seemed to go well in it,' he said. Results
1 XS Moment
1 Hot Rats
2 Steady Barker
2 Jika Jika
2 Jumpin Jenga
3 Team Baltic
1 Eau No!
3 I Maximus
The third Regatta in the Royal Southern Summer Series takes place 2-3 July 2011.
Royal Southern Yacht Club website