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No comfortable leads after first weekend of Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship

by Louise Nicholls 25 Apr 2018 16:26 BST 21-22 April 2018
IRC1 rounding the windward mark © Clockhouse Photography

Points are tight after the first weekend (21/22 April) of the 2018 Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship, with none of the class leaders finishing the two days of racing with a comfortable lead.

Last year's Black Group IRC1 Championship Winner Nifty (King 40 – Roger Bowden), is leading the P40 class and IRC1 class overall. During the first race on Sunday she suffered in a wind hole as her deep draft (2.5 metres) meant she couldn't creep in the shallow to avoid the tide. Sailplane (Beneteau First 40 – Rob Bottomley) is just 1-point behind in second place, and Cobra (King 40 – Mike Blair) lies in third place.

In IRC2 Bengal Magic (J/35 – Knight Build Ltd) has taken the lead after the first weekend, with Assassin (Prima 38 – Mark Brown) close behind in second place. IRC3 sees Elaine (Elan 37 – Mike Bridges) with just a 1-point lead over Blackjack II (J/97 – Andy Howe) in second place.

2017's J/109 Championship and Series winner's Jiraffe (Simon Perry) and Jukebox (John Smart annd Chris Copeland) are tussling for first place, with Jiraffe currently on a 1-point ahead.

Black Group competitors raced four short sharp windward-leeward courses for all the classes, mainly around laid marks, in Saturday's rather misty conditions. Leg distances ranged from 0.8NM to 1.2NM according to the wind strength, which was mostly between 6-10 knots, at the time of each race, and with the faster boats getting the longer courses. The wind direction was 125 degrees for most of Saturday, with 150 degrees for the final race.

Black Group starts on Saturday and Sunday were from near 4W Goodall Roofing in the Solent and tidal tactics were vital as the beats were quite long and against the tide, and the breeze was unreliable. On the Sunday there were two races, again mainly windward-leeward courses using fixed and laid marks. The wind was mainly at 240-250 degrees with 7-9 knots but dropping to 2-4 knots for a while during the first race and improving to 10-12 knots during the second race.

Peter Bateson, Series Chairman "We were distinctly grateful that the weekend thunderstorms took place on Saturday night and not when we were out racing!"

Continual wind shifts in the misty conditions and adjustments to the course made of a taxing Saturday for the White Group race committee and competitors alike on the Saturday.

The Quarter Tonners and SB20s got away for their first race but the J/70 start was delayed after a dramatic wind shift to the left which left the SB20s with a very biased course. The start was reset in a new location to the give the J/70s a decent beat and finally the fleet were able to start their first race of the day.

Race starts on the Saturday were strained by a distinct 'lack of start practice' this early in the season for the J/70 fleet! The Papa flag was used for practice starts, moving to Uniform for the preparatory flag; the black flag made only one appearance. By Sunday the fleet had the starts licked and had a good days racing, with the great planing downwind as the breeze built through the day.

Sarah Norbury, former editor of Practical Boat Owner and racing on the J/70 Peggy said "It was a fantastic weekends racing, with great sailing conditions on the Sunday. We've really enjoyed racing in what is a high-quality fleet with numerous sailing champions competing including Lawrie Smith, Rob Larke and others".

Lawrie Smith (Alfie) finished the weekend in fourth place behind GBR1290 (Philip Rees Bryn), Soak Racing (Marshall King) and Calypso (John Calascione).

Louise Morton's Bullet leads the Quarter Tonner fleet, where racing was close until the first leeward mark of the trapezoid when the handicaps started to kick in and the fleet began spread out more. In the SB20 fleet Reach Around (Christian Sutherland) leads with a 7-point lead over Sweaty Betty (David Atkinson).

The Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship concludes this weekend 28/29 April.

The prize draw was presented by Tom Milne from Doyle Sails on the Sunday afternoon at the Warsash Sailing Club. The lucky winners were Erik the Red who won a Helly Hansen Duffel Bag, Carnage who a won the Crewsaver Wet/Dry 75lt Holdall each, and JDream who won the Doyle Sails holdall. All those class winners present at the Warsash Sailing Club after racing received a bottle of champagne from Doyle Sails.

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