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Warsash Spring Series Week 6 and Spring Championships Week 2 supported by Helly Hansen

by Chris Hughes 26 Apr 03:49 PDT 23-24 April 2022
Warsash Spring Series Week 6 and Spring Championship Final Weekend ©

Another excellent and well-supported (101 entries, 33 in White Group and 68 in Black Group) Warsash Spring Series and Championships event finalised in the second of the Championship weekends, providing some exhilarating and great racing for some 600-700 competitors.

White Group - Championships Weekend 2

A breezy weekend on the Meon Shore with 7 exhilarating races. Saturday's forecast predicted average wind speeds in the high 'teens. The average was right and the maximum gust reached 25 knots. The wind speed and NE'y lead to many short-lived shifts during the day. The gusts lead to many boats, including the leaders, having spectacular broaches. The entertainment was enhanced by the Black Group IRC boats having their windward laid mark close by and brushing the leeward end as they scorched downwind, frequently having their own issues when overpowered.

In the SB20s, Breaking Bod, Charles Whelan, continued their impressive performance to win the day with an almost perfect score of three firsts and a second. The rest of the fleet had more varied results with Carnage, Red Kite, #Gamechanger and Betty all having top three results.

In the J70s fleet, Jeepster, Max Clapp, continued their leadership of the fleet with a first and three seconds. Racing for the weekend, Geisha, Lutz Strangmann, joined the battle at the front with two first, but also showed the competition in the fleet with a third and fourth. Yeti, Jack Davies took the final first of the day and was in the top three for the rest.

Sunday was a little lighter and started at 8 knots but rapidly grew to into the mid-teens. The challenge factors were the shifts and occasional gusts of up to 20 knots which led to gains, loses and (again) many broaches.

After a first and a second, and no result worth discarding, Breaking Bod decided it was time for an early beer and take a DNC as their discard having won the series convincingly. Red Kite, #Gamechanger and Betty continued their battle for the remaining wins and places. At the end of the day Red Kite, Paul Hine, finished second in the 14 race series, three points ahead of Betty, Simon Berry, in third.

To add a bit of variety on the final day, Jumbo, Dominic Hurndall, joined the fun at the front with three thirds. Meanwhile, Jeepster continued their consistent performance with 1 first and two second to win the championship by 14 points from Yeti who had a 1, 2, 4 on the final day, and DSP, Doug Struth finishing in third overall.

Overall, the championship provided two breezy weekends with challenging conditions that provided excellent racing for both fleets.

Black Group - Championships Weekend 2

For Black Group, brisk conditions especially on the Saturday tested crew work to the full. Racing from near East Knoll up towards Royal Southern buoy, the wind on Saturday built from 14-18 knots in the first race to above 20 knots for much of the afternoon. With the Y-flag in operation, spinnakers were sometimes more than a little overpowering. In IRC 1 Championship leaders Dark'n'Stormy (GP42) the crew work aboard had appeared almost faultless, but in a rare lapse they suffered a "trawler drop" at the last mark. However they and most of the fleet most of the time revelled in the exhilarating and fast sailing.

The first race on Saturday was affected by several boats picking up the anchor line from the windward mark, which had been laid incorrectly with the rope too near the surface. With the race committee promptly accepting they had made a mistake, redress was requested and given to two boats in the protest room. The race team corrected the error for the subsequent races and no further entanglements were reported.

Sunday was slightly less windy but still brisk, in the mid-teens and gusting up to 22 knots occasionally. Again it was low water for most of the race period. Racing was in the same area but with two races compared with Saturday's three, the courses could be longer and with more variety, going down into Stanswood Bay and providing some navigational and tactical challenges along the way.

Dark'n'Stormy (Ian Atkins) scored five first places in the ten races of the Championship and won overall, 12 points clear of Chris Jones' Journeymaker 11 (J/111) which won the trophy for the Performance 40 "class-within-a-class." Two more J/111s took third and fourth (Cornel Riklin's Jitterbug followed by Jagerbomb, Paul Griffiths) with the Cape 31s Katabatic and Jiraffe net behind.

In the IRC 2 Championship, David Richards' J/109 Jumping Jellyfish dominated, including seven wins in ten races, and was also awarded the Commodore's Cup for the best overall achievement in Black Group. Elaine Again (JPK 1010, Mike Bridges) squeezed a single point advantage to take 2nd place, just ahead of John Howell's Archambault A35 in 3rd.

The IRC 3 Championship was headed by two quarter tonners. In week one, four quarter tonners had dominated, but by the end they didn't quite get it all their own way. Tiger (Tom Daniel) and Bullitt (Julian Metherell) had a great tussle which was only resolved ashore with the outcome of a protest against a third boat, after which they were tied on points and Tiger edged it on tie-break count-back with three firsts to Bullitt's two. They reported having had two weekends of great racing. Last year's winner Ian Handley (Banter, Mustang 30) also scored a couple of first places but weren't quite consistent enough and had to settle for third place in class this time, followed by James Crew and the half-tonner Quokka.

This was the 39th Spring Series, competed over 6 successive Sundays (ending with the 2 Sundays that also scored in the Championship) had seen a variety of conditions testing light and heavy weather skills, tactics and navigation, and not least - perseverance. Cape 31 Jiraffe (Simon Perry) came out on top of a thin IRC 1 where most boats had kept their powder dry until the final two Championship weekends.

The other two IRC classes were keenly contested. In IRC 2, J-boats dominated. Three J/109s took the podium places. Having come 2nd last year, Mike and Susie Yates' J/109 Jago won the class, as they had the Hamble Winter Series, this time by the much narrower margin of just 2 points after the eight races. Mojo Risin' (Rob Cotterill) was the runner-up, as last winter at Hamble, with Chris Burleigh's Jybe Talkin' third. The J/99 Jump 2 It (Kevin Taylor) was 4th and Dirk van Beek's J/88 Sabriel Junior 5th.

As in last year's event, IRC 3 saw a close tussle between the half-tonner Quokka (sailed by event Chairman James Crew) and David Greenhalgh's J/92 J'ronimo. J'ronimo pushed hard but never quite overcame the disadvantage of having not been ready for the first race back in March and having to use up one of the two discards for a DNC. The two boats ended tied on points, with Quokka taking the win on count-back with three firsts to J'ronimo's one. Beneteau First 31.7 Memory Maker (Don Foster) was 3rd and Allan Fraser's Sigma 33 Prosper of Hamble 4th.

Prize Giving

The Series and Championship prize-giving took place at Warsash Sailing Club at the end of Sunday afternoon, with a hundred or so competitors enjoying the sunshine on the terrace. Vice-Commodore Nigel Rennie, fresh from running the Black Group finish boat, gave everyone a warm welcome, thanked all the volunteers and competitors, and gave out two dozen well-received trophies and the welcome extra prizes of sailing gear provided by race partners Helly Hansen.

The Founders Salver, which is awarded to a non-IRC boat, was awarded to SB20 Breaking Bod, Charles Whelan for his impressive performance in the 14 race series over two weekends, scoring seven firsts with his worst results two thirds.

The Commodores Cup, which is awarded for the best overall achievement in Black Group, was won by David Richards' J/109 Jumping Jellyfish, for his dominating number of wins.

Warsash Sailing Club welcomes everyone back for next year for another exhilarating event, and for those that have never taken part before - come and join in a great start to the season.

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