Royal Southern Yacht Club July Regatta 2011 was held over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd July in Hamble, Southampton.
The regatta turned out to be a waiting game, but one that proved a winning strategy with ‘champagne sailing’ conditions on the second day. The ‘P’ flag flew from the Club’s flagstaff early on both days after race officers judged – even without the assistance of a damaged Bramblemet – that gradient wind conditions out in The Solent would not support racing.
The wait for the sea breeze paid off, but delivered some unstable and flukey conditions on the Saturday that were to prove decisive for some regatta hopes. In contrast, a solid breeze kicked in on Sunday and built to around 15 knots, putting broad smiles on many faces. One of those belonged to Paul Blowers, whose Patriot Games won the Impala Nationals, which was run alongside the big boat starts on the red line.
'Sunday was beautiful racing, fantastic,' said Blowers, who took the title with two wins and a second place from Saturday’s single race.
'We won the first race (on Sunday) by a reasonable margin, and then the breeze got up, the other boats got a bit closer, and three boats finished within four seconds of each other, which is fantastic racing.' Blowers took time out when accepting his prize to praise Ben Meakins, the owner of third place Polly, who is leading the way in regenerating the 32 year-old class.
As to the appeal of the Impala, Blowers explained: 'It’s a romantic thing. I grew up in Warsash sailing dinghies and I used to watch the Impalas coming up the river and thinking ‘what a great boat’.
'It’s a very, very beautiful boat, a very balanced boat, a very nice David Thomas design. He makes some great boats. I couldn’t afford one when I was 14!'
At the prize-giving Blowers was also presented with his class winning trophy from the recent J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, an outing that damaged two Impalas so badly they were unable to race in this weekend’s regatta.
Consistency proved to be the winning way in IRC1 with Tim Harrington’s X34 Vortex taking the narrowest of wins with a succession of four second places. The class wins were shared equally between second placed Quokka 8 (4-1-3-1) and Tokoloshe, who were trapped by a succession of holes in race 2 and saw a clear lead turn into sixth and last place (1-6-1-3).
'I couldn’t really believe that we won it with four 2s,' admitted a delighted Harrington. 'It was hard work actually as both Quokka and Tokoloshe were faster boats than us, so to do anything different to them was quite challenging. There wasn’t anyone of similar size in our class, so we were sailing our numbers and going where we thought we had to go.
'Everyone found holes in the second race on Saturday, and there were several moments when boats on opposite tacks were going in the same direction, and sometimes it was a case of who could get out of the holes quickest and stay with the fleet,' he added.
In the final race, IRC1 and IRC2 started together, leading to the most contentious start of the regatta on the red line. With a clear view, Line Officer Stuart Childerley called all but two boats OCS, including all of class 2.
Mike Bridges’ Elan 37 Elaine was later given redress after establishing she had returned to restart and – with protests by Steady Barker and Extra Djinn later thrown out - won IRC2 (3-3-2-1) ahead of Steady Barker (1-2-1-7) and Stiletto (2-1-3-7).
By comparison, IRC3 was a clear cut affair with J’Ronimo taking the win, albeit as the only yacht in class on the second day.
'We were in a class with other boats, so we didn’t know no one else was racing us,’ said J’Ronimo’s David Greenhalgh.
He added, 'The first race saw a huge windshift and we were the wrong side of that, but on the leeward leg McFly lost out as we were all looking for the mark, and we caught right up with them – they only had us by five seconds on corrected. At one stage they had been well ahead.
'On the second race we didn’t have a great first leg but got it right on the second downwind to take the win. We had our fair share of luck. It was a great day even if the boats were a bit thin on the ground.' Like many taking part, J’Ronimo was gearing up for IRC Nationals later in the month.
In IRC4 Ursula and Richard Hollis’ X95 Crackerjax delivered an impeccable 1-1-1-1 scoreline to easily win the class ahead of Paul Waxman’s Imperator (2-4-2-4) and Timothy Corner’s Girolle (3-3-4-2).
Mark Stokes was similarly dominant in the competitive Laser SB3 class, taking victory in Eau No! (1-2-1-1-1) a clear 13 points ahead of Finitor 7 (3-7-4-4-8) and Sponge Bob (9-1-8-3-2).
Mike Lewis’ Jester was the only yacht to complete all five races in the J80 class, which he duly won (1-1-2-2-3) ahead of a late charging J2X (DNC-4-1-1-1) and Wairua (DNF-2-3-3-4).
The J109s only raced on the Saturday, with consistency again paying off in a very tight encounter for Jahmali (2-2) who pipped Outrajeous (1-4) and Jagerbomb (5-1) to the post.
Keith Jones’ Dizzy Di was the only constant Club Class competitor. Results
1 Patriot Games
2 Quokka 8
2 Steady Barker
1 Eau No!
2 Finitor 7
3 Sponge Bob
The fourth and final Regatta in the Royal Southern Summer Series takes place 10-11 September 2011 including J/109 and SB3 Series. Royal Southern Yacht Club website