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Warsash Spring Series Week 5 and Spring Championships Week 1 supported by Helly Hansen

by Chris Hughes 11 Apr 10:28 PDT 9-10 April 2022
Warsash Spring Series Week 1 ©

Black Group

Saturday 9 April

The Warsash Championship kicked off out on the water on a bright day after a frosty start, with some 350 people aboard over 40 entries in Black Group alone. Low water in the middle of the day meant the usual Plateau and Bank areas were too shallow for the deeper-draft entries, so in the 5-10 knot NW breeze, the start was on the Ryde Middle bank - a long way for competitors from the River Hamble but providing a good race area. Three windward leeward races were set.

The start line and leeward marks were SE of North Ryde Middle buoy, with windward marks laid in the deep water south of YachtDataBank and Ancasta race marks, and a short fetch to the finish a few hundred metres from the start.. Course lengths for the first two races were between 4.8 miles (IRC 1 and 3.7 Miles (IRC 3). The breeze remained in the NW until three-quarters of the way through race 2, when it switched to the west so that the penultimate run became a fetch for the latter part of the fleet, and the final short fetch became a beat. For race 3, the courses were reset along the Ryde Middle bank at about 5.2, 4.5 and 4.0 miles for the different classes.

In IRC 1, Ian Atkins' GP42 Dark'n'Stormy was the highest-rated and led on the water in all 3 races, but was pipped to the top spot on corrected time in races 1 and 2 by Russell Peters' Cape 31 Squirt, each time by less than a minute. In race 3, Dark'n'Stormy took the win by 3 minutes. Two other Cape 31s Fanatic (Johnny Cooper) and Tokoloshe 4 (Michael Bartholomew) took the 3rd places. Paul Griffiths' J/111 Jagerbomb was the best of the Performance 40 "class-within-a-class" just 1 point ahead of sistership Jitterbug, Cornel Riklin.

IRC 2 saw several boats doing well in some races and not quite so well in others. A dominant start by David Richards' J/109 Jumping Jellyfish with two bullets was followed by OCS in race 3 and although she returned to re-start safely, the result was a 5th place, whilst Geoff Poore and his Fareast 28R Mako were happy to take advantage and a 14-second win. Second places were taken in the different races by Arcus (Archambault 35, John Howell), Hot Rats (First 35, Robbie & Lis Robinson) and GoWest (Fareast 28R, Alain Waha).

IRC 3 included four Quarter-tonners who dominated throughout, although sharing the spoils between different boats. Tiger (Tom Daniel) headed the day's scoring one point ahead of Duncan Pearce's Pacifist. Non Quarter-tonners Imptish (Barney Smith's Impala) and Event chairman James Crew's half-tonner Quokka were each allowed a brief look-in for races 2 and 3 where they scored 2nd places, but it was the Quarter-tonners' day.

Sunday 10 April

Another bright day, although again starting cold. The breeze had done an about-turn and was mostly in the SE, albeit rather variable and sometimes SSE, ranging from 4 knots early on to 11 knots. The smaller boats in IRC 3 had a first start from the White Group committee boat nearer to Hamble at Willliam buoy, and for the rest of the fleet the start area was near Hamble Yacht Services buoy, with the finish again set up a few yards from the start. Using both fixed and laid marks, the race committee opted for a mix of windward-leeward and triangular courses, aiming not to be caught out too much by the wind shifts, and most of the time this worked out well. Each class had 2 races, with beats, runs and spinnaker reaches mainly in the area between North Ryde Middle, East Bramble and Royal Southern buoys.

IRC 1 did 6.0 miles in the first race and then 9.0 miles. Jitterbug scored best on the day with a 2nd and a 3rd, showing that consistency can pay even without a win. Dark'n'Stormy secured another first in the first race but 5th in the second. Journeymaker 11 mirrored Dark'n'Stormy with a 5th and a win. Squirt was 3rd in race 1 but at the start of race 2 she was OCS and tangled with the ODM; after sorting herself out, taking a penalty turn and starting correctly she was 8th, a score she was no doubt relieved to discard. After 5 races and at the end of the first of the two Championship weekends, the single discard kicked in, following which Dark'nStormy leads IRC 1 by one point over Squirt, with Tokoloshe 4 nine points behind on 16 points and Journeymaker 11 and Jitterbug each on 17.

In IRC 2 (5.2 and 7.6 miles) Jumping Jellyfish maintained her form of the first races on Saturday and clocked up two more bullets. Hot Rats pushed hard to secure two seconds, with Arcus missing out on 3rd place by 2 seconds in the first race of the day and gaining 3rd place by 2 seconds in the second. Those three boats occupy the first three slots at the half-way point in the Championship.

IRC3 (6.0 miles each race) the Quarter Tonners continued their dominant position and at the end of the weekend, Tiger had scored 3 firsts and one second, whilst discarding a 5th, to take the lead, five points ahead of Tom Hill's Belinda. Elizabeth Wallis's Albin Express Expressly Forbidden led "the others" with 19 points, 3 points ahead of Quokka.

The Sunday races also scored in the 6-week Spring Series. Few boats in IRC 1 had done many of the races on the previous Sundays but long-time Spring Series supporter Simon Perry leads the scoring at present. In IRC2, three J/109s and a J/99 are tussling for the lead. Jago (Mike and Susie Yates) had been at the top but missed this Sunday, so drops to 4th although could recover when a second discard kicks in on the last day. Mojo Risin' (Rob Cotterill) has replaced her in first place and with just 2 races to go will be hard to catch. J/99 Jump 2 It (Kevin Taylor) lies second, 13 points behind Mojo. In IRC3, James Crew's Quokka leads, with Jeronimo (J/92, David Greenhalgh) second. The Sigma 33 Prospero of Hamble (Allan Fraser) and Beneteau First 31.7 Memory Maker (Don Foster) are just a point apart in 3rd and 4th places respectively.

White Group

Saturday 9th

The beginning of the season for the competitors and the Race team but a great weekend's sailing. Both started cautiously, and then settled down to business as usual with the regularly over eager starting returning with UFDs for two J70s in the third of the day's four races.

In the usual location near William and the wind in the NW, the courses were run into the entrance to Southampton Water. Swings of up to 40 degrees were seen but always returning to the longer term average, resulting in only one significant change to the course orientation as there was a trend to the north. With the strength varying between 5 & 10 knots the race times varied from that intended at the start. This led to several of the J70s goose-winging down wind; it definitely seemed to pay off, although the majority stuck to soaking down as much as possible, none of the SB20s took the hint and they continued to play the angles.

The third race was set for three laps, during which the wind became even more variable with a hole at the leeward gate catching many boats while the lead J70s sailed away up the beat and nearly lapping the last of the SB20s who had started 5 minutes behind them.

At the end of the day Jelvis (Martin Dent) and Brutus (Sam Carter) jointly held the lead with ten points each, and 3 firsts between them, followed by Calypso (Marshall King) and DSP (Douglas Struth) both on 15 points; Calypso taking the other first of the day.

In the SB20s consistency was beginning to show at the top as many boats had a mix of good races and not so good races. Breaking Bod (Charles Whelan) led the day with 9 points (1, 3, 2, 3) Betty (Simon Berry) and Red Kite (Paul Hine) sharing the other firsts but also count lower results.

Sunday 10th

A complete reversal! The wind had switched to the SE and was a lot more consistent in strength giving (chilled) champagne sailing with occasional planning downwind, but still some J70 goose-winging to be seen.

The racing was close with the majority of both fleets appearing at the leeward gate within a minute - spectacular, but a bit of shouting could be heard! As expected, by the second rounding boats were a bit more spread out, but occasionally some shouting was heard.

Confidence was returning in both fleets, in the second race the J70s tried too hard and achieved the first general recall, but settled back with a good clean black flag start. The SB20s not wanting to be left out managed two UFDs in the last race of the day.

Brutus continued her dominance of the fleets with two firsts and a third, to win the day and lead the championships at the end of the first weekend. Brutus took the second race and now lies in second overall. These two have a clear lead from DSP and Calypso who both had a mid-fleet result but are only separated overall by one point.

In the SB20s, Breaking Bod clearly won the day with two first and a second, and now has a six point lead in the series from Betty who is two points ahead of Red Kite who won the final race of the day.

The event concludes in two weeks' time on 23-24 April (after a break over Easter) with the second weekend of the Spring Championship and the 6th day of the Spring Series, and the overall main prize-giving at Warsash Sailing Club at the end of the Sunday afternoon.

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