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Beneteau First 31.7 Solent Regatta

by Andy Phelps 5 Jul 2006 15:49 BST 1-2 July 2006

With nine boats entered for the 31.7 Solent Regatta, the weather could not have been kinder and promised close and exciting racing. The format for the weekend was two round-the-cans races on Saturday with a longer pursuit race on Sunday.

To provide near one-design-racing the boats were all level rated and restricted to main, #1 and #3 genoas plus one all-purpose spinnaker. In addition the regatta was set in Southampton Water to ensure it was crew work and tactics rather than sail inventory that dominated the results.

The boats also benefited from on-the-water coaching provided by Jamie Collins of UK Sails and Prue Nash of Ancasta International Boat Sales.

Saturday Race 1

Although intended to be a warm up race, the start proved to be a full-on affair worthy of Cowes week. Electra, Kurketrekker and Aviva were all caught barging and were forced to go round, while Whistler had a cracking start midline and quickly escaped to the front of the fleet.

The first leg had all the boats in very close company with close boat on boat action and a crowded windward rounding. A shy reach and then a run to Moorhead saw Whistler was working hard to consolidate her lead with Tai Pan close on her heels and the fleet in hot pursuit.

The following cross-tidal legs around Deans Elbow and NW Netley split the fleet and allowed Kurketrekker to catch Tai Pan and move up to second place. Whistler maintained her lead and finished a clear ahead with Kurketrekker taking second and Tai Pan taking third.

Saturday Race 2

Race 2 was set as a windward leeward course between Hound and Moorhead with the start at Netley. The start again proved to be a tight affair, with the fleet getting away in close company with the majority of the boats going inshore to avoid the worst of the tide.

After the windward rounding it was the boats that gybed early into the deeper channel that gained the most and Electra rounded the leeward mark first in close company with Kurketrekker. Kurketrekker pushed all the way, but were unable to overhaul Electra and she hung on to take first place. Whistler managed to secure third place giving her the overall first for the regatta.

The fleet spent the night rafted in Port Hamble where the prize giving and BBQ sponsored by UK Sails and Ancasta International Boat Sales were enjoyed by all.

The next event for the Solent 31.7s is Cowes Week. See you there!

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