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Helly Hansen Spring Series at Warsash Sailing Club - Day 4

by Andrew Adams 10 Apr 2019 11:33 BST 7 April 2019

Black Group

IRC4 were started off Meon Shore on time at 1000 from the White Group line in a very light easterly breeze. As on the previous Sunday, the main Black Group start was set up near QXI International buoy on the south edge of the East Knoll bank. With the forecast of 6-8 knots starting off in the ENE and swinging to the SE during the racing period, but then dying away to nothing by late afternoon, the race team were considering the difficult question of timing the moving orientation for course setting when the breeze died away almost completely. With more hope than expectation about any return of a sailing breeze, a postponement was announced and the boats and the race team sat and waited. Happily by about 1030 a light breeze of 4-5 knots arrived from the SE and with suitable courses quickly set, the start sequence got all classes away between 1050 and 1110 on a series of beats, runs and reaches between the Ryde Middle bank and the East Knoll area, with courses of 8-10 miles. Light sunshine and the gentle breeze made for enjoyable racing and testing tactics over the spring tide.

In IRC1, Sailplane (First 40, Rob Bottomley) didn't manage to sustain her previous string of three 1st places but her 4th place on Sunday still leaves her as the clear leader on overall points at this stage. Passion missed line honours in IRC2 by just26 second but took the win on corrected time and with two firsts and two seconds in the Series so far has a good points lead. Simon Perry's Jiraffe (J/109) had a disappointing 9th place on Sunday which she'll hope to discard when enough races have taken place next Sunday, but even so she held onto second place overall. It was good to see RYA chairman Christopher Preston out racing with J/109 Jubilee, his crew including Cowes Week regatta director Laurence Mead, and they scored a creditable 5th place in this 21-strong class. Everyone was also glad to see the new J/99 Jenga 99 competing for the first time, raced by Mark Richmond and his team and finishing a few seconds behind Jubilee Jenga would have been raced by Paul and Marie-Claude Heys, sadly prevented by Paul's recent untimely death in Florida.

The X-99 2XS (Aindriu McCormack) and SJ320 Scarlet Jester (Jamie Muir) are enjoying a ding-dong contest in IRC3 where they are tired on points each with two first places, a second place and a third place. Sigma 38s don't usually like such gentle breezes and for Light (Richard Kem) that was certainly true this week as she dropped to 5th place.

Stan the boat (Sigma 33, Toby Gorman) was toppled off the top spot in RC4 for the first time this week. The Mustang 30 of Ian Handley and Tim James took a close encounter in the North Channel in their stride and took the win by just 18 seconds, closing the gap on sister boat Erik the Red (Bernard Fyans) to just 2 points.

The J-sprit class continues to be dominated by the J/88s and by Tigris (Gavin Howe) in particular as she took her fourth win in four weeks.

Next weekend, in addition to the Spring Series racing, the Spring Championship begins with 6 races over 2 days on 13th-14th April and a week off over Easter, followed by a final two intensive days on 27th-28th April. Over 60 boats are already entered for the Championship and entry remains open up to each race day via

White Group

The forecast for the day was not exciting, E to SE, 4-7 knots. This eventually turned out to ENE to S and the back to ESE, with 3-5 knots for most of the day and reaching nearly 8 knots for the last half of the last race of the day.

IRC 4, as is normal, was got away on time at 1000 for their round the Solent cans course, but the swing to the right started immediately and the start of the combined sportsboat fleet was postponed. After an hour, during which the wind went right round to S before settling at SSE, the fleet finally got away. Paul Ward's J/70 and Sam Cox's Melges 24 continued their close racing with the Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat leading the way home by 25 seconds from Liquidity Risk, with Blackjax taking third on the water about a minute behind the leader. With the handicaps applied, the J/70 took the first three places, and the Melges slipped to fourth.

In the second race, with a relatively stable breeze, Liquidity Risk took line honours ahead of the J/70s ESJR (sorry Paul), Jenga8 and Aqua J, but the time advantage was not sufficient for Liquidity Risk to stay in the top three.

For the third race the wind was back to its old tricks which needed the course shifted left before the start, and 25 degrees further left during the race. The ongoing shift shook things up somewhat; Liquidity Risk managed to finish sufficiently ahead of ESJR to finish second behind them on corrected time, with the SB20, Trouble and Strife of Radley College finishing third.

That finished the Sportsboat 4 day, 12 race series with all races completed. ESJR finishing a clear winner by 25 points from Liquidity Risk, with Trouble and Strife finishing third. The final two weekends bring the Sportsboat Spring Championship with class racing for the J/70s and SB20s.

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