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31.7s at Royal Southern Yacht Club May Regatta

by Andy Phelps 10 May 2006 12:32 BST 6-7 May 2006

The May focus event for the Solent 31.7s was the first Royal Southern Yacht Club Regatta weekend for 2006.

Held over two days, the regatta provided the 31.7s with some great competitive, light-air racing, with the Saturday being somewhat showery and damp while Sunday offered frustrating wind but some very welcome sunshine.

For both days the committee boat stationed itself near to Saturday saw a slight postponement while the wind filled in. With a stable breeze the race committee set a windward-leeward course across the channel to North East Ryde Middle to provide the competitors with a few tidal “problems” to solve around the best way to cross the channel.

The early racing proved to be very close with all the 31.7s in close company, however, it was Electra that got the break to finish clear ahead for Race 1.

For Race 2 the wind had backed slightly and so the start was positioned more to the West with the race committee setting a deep .vs. shallow tidal problem along the northern edge of the channel. Tai Pan made all the running in Race 2, and despite a valiant catch-up effort by Electra, Tai Pan, with some great boat-on-boat tactics luffed her at the finish line to win by 3 seconds on the water and 17 seconds on corrected time.

The weather on Sunday proved to be sunnier, but, with much less wind, racing was postponed for nearly one hour.

The 31.7s amused themselves during the postponement with competitive man-over-board practice on a Danish Pastry, with much vocal support for the successful and creative attempts at recovery.

When the wind filled in the race committee laid a mark 1 mile to windward to give the fleets some racing in the light conditions. With the light airs, the approach into the start was very crowded. Manaru and Papillon got great starts, with Tai Pan close behind.

Barging at the startline, Sonic Boom and Whistler were forced to tack off and go round again, while Electra had a close call with the committee vessel but negotiated her way to the startline and then tacked off for the shallow water towards the mainland shore.

The fleet then separated with Manaru, Sonic Boom and Papillon heading for Ryde bank and the last of the flood tide, while Whistler, Tai Pan and Electra headed for shallower water to punch the ebb tide. With the wind dropping and shifting and the tide running, progress to the windward mark was painfully slow.

Promises of wind filling in from Cowes to benefit Tai Pan, Whistler and Electra proved false, and so with the wind filling in from the South-East it was Sonic Boom and Manaru that benefited from the new wind to round the mark well ahead of the other boats.

A close fought battle into the finish then ensued, with Sonic Boom and Manaru racing head-to-head, right to the line with Sonic Boom holding on to win on the water and even more so on corrected time.

All-in-all, a fantastic weekends class racing for the 31.7s and great results in IRC5 to match. Congratulations to David Jobson and the crew of Tai Pan for winning both the 31.7 Class Extract and being first overall in IRC5.

31.7 Results Class Extract:

1st Tai Pan GBR 6991T David Jobson
2nd Electra GBR 8198T Andy Phelps
3rd Manaru GBR 6993T Tony Dickin
4th Whistler GBR 7592T Mark Lloyd
5th Sonic Boom GBR 9563R Emma Couling
6th Papillon GBR 6953T Stephen Armitage

31.7 Results in IRC5:

1st Tai Pan GBR 6991T David Jobson
2nd Electra GBR 8198T Andy Phelps
5th Manaru GBR 6993T Tony Dickin
6th Whistler GBR 7592T Mark Lloyd
7th Sonic Boom GBR 9563R Emma Couling
10th Papillon GBR 6953T Stephen Armitage

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