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31.7 class in the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island

by Andy Phelps 7 Jun 2006 07:42 BST 3 June 2006

The start of the 75th Round the Island race saw 12 31.7s up early enjoying the pre-race spectacle of 1600 yachts trying not to hit each other.

Manaru and Kurketrekker had good starts and made the early running towards Hurst, with the 31.7s spread out across the Solent.

Plain Sailing, Aquilo, Electra and Sonic Boom kept to the Northern Shore, Manaru and Whistler opted for the deeper water in the centre, while Kurketrekker was seen to take the Island Shore. Kurketrekker reached Hurst first, however the lighter wind compressed the fleet together and it was then a slow sail towards the needles, with the 31.7s sailing high angles downwind to keep the boats moving.

Arriving at the needles as the wind died in the company of the tail end IRC 4 boats the 31.7s found themselves right in the thick of the Needles pile up with fenders put to good use. Kurketrekker found themselves being pushed towards the usual hazards in that area and were forced to use their engine for safety’s sake and so retired.

Electra and Whistler tried to duck below the melee and lost all wind. Electra was forced to anchor as she was pushed towards the rocks and for a while it looked like Whistler may have become a victim to the tidal gate, however she found some wind and just made it though in time. Manaru escaped first and made inshore to lead the way to St Catherine’s point, closely followed by Sonic Boom.

The wind then filled in allowing Electra to move again and she headed offshore for St Catherine’s finding favourable tide and wind and arrived at St Catherine’s well in the lead.

Meanwhile Black Jack racing in ISC suffered like so many others on the day and failed to make the tidal gate at Hurst, managing to pass Yarmouth twice, once forward and once backwards, and was eventually forced to retire.

The wind from St Catherine’s round to Bembridge proved to be consistent for the majority of the 31.7s, however Plain Sailing sailed into a wind hole and had to watch the other boats sail away from her.

The rounding at Bembridge was uneventful with the wind a promising 12 knots, however this was not to last and the fleet compressed again just to the South East of the Forts.

Araluen and Tai Pan caught Electra and the boats then drifted together for what seemed like an age.

Eventually a gust came through allowing Electra to escape and make for the mainland shore while the rest of the fleet worked their way towards the finish in the deep-water channel.

The Northern route proved to have more wind allowing Electra to take line honours, however it was Windjammer who claimed the win by 15 seconds on corrected time. Well done to Jeremy Bygrave and the crew of Windjammer for this close fought victory over the 50 mile course.

31.7 Results Class Extract and Overall Results:

Class ExtractOverallBoat NameSail NoSkipper
1227WindjammerGBR9448TJeremy Bygrave
2231ElectraGBR8198TAndy Phelps
3247Sonic BoomGBR9563RSimon Brady
4256Tai PanGBR6991TDavid Jobson
5258ManaruGBR6993TTony Dickin
6310WhistlerGBR7592TMark Lloyd
7327AraluenGBR7558TRobert Baker
8356AquiloGBR9290TSimon Mitchell
9390Plane SailingGBR6601TScott Mcdonald
11RTDKurketrekkerGBR7906TStephen Parry
11RTDBack JackGBR6900TPhilippe Rigollet
12NODPapillionGBR6953TSimon Davey

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