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31.7 Class in the JOG Cowes to Weymouth Race 2006

by Lorna Fallace 11 Jul 2006 11:45 BST 9 July 2006

The start of the JOG race to Weymouth saw the welcome return of Baby Blue and surprise late entry of Papillon, taking the 31.7 fleet entry to five - the highest number of same model boats in the event.

With the sun shining and a light, 5-6 knot breeze class five got away to a clean start with Tai-Pan and Electron getting the jump on the rest of the 31.7s - Electra stuck to tradition and brought up the rear a minute or so later.

Sticking close to the island shore, Electra soon made up for the poor start and found a band of favourable tide, conveniently marked by a line of floating weed. Probably a good thing HM Customs weren't around to hear the cry's of "where's the weed?", "get back to the weed!". Electron opted for a more northerly route with Papillon and Baby Blue taking a similar line. Tai-Pan split the difference somewhere between Electron and Electra, keeping Electra firmly in her sites.

Passing Yarmouth, the breeze built to 12-13 knots and concerned this may continue once passed the needles, Electra peeled down to number 2 genoa. What started as a slick peel (their first in anger) ended with the gib car adjuster being winched into the gib sheets and moving the car position - oops. The ensuing kurfuffle to straighten out the knitting allowed Tai-Pan to significantly close up the gap on Electra, with close tacking past Hurst towards the Needles.

Electron, sailing well as ever and gradually eating up the distance between themselves, Tai-Pan and Electra, picked up a riding turn just past the needles and were seen for a while heading South for France to avoid flogging their new sails while the problem was resolved. This of course caused panic amongst the crew of Electra as they wondered what clever tactical trick Electron had up their sail bag!

The forecast for a wind shift to the South saw boats heading offshore for the favourable tide and possible spinnaker run into Weymouth. Tai-Pan going furthest offshore, Electron inside them with Electra opting instead to head straight for St Albans Head. Unable to lay the big lump of rock, Electra tacked out. Worried that Tai-Pan and Electron may have had the right idea, Electra were very relieved to find they had consolidated their lead over Tai-Pan to three minutes.

Once around St Albans Head it was a drag race to the finish, with Electra holding off Tai-Pan to take line honours - despite Tai-Pan's attempts at remote VooDoo! Electron followed hot on the heels of Tai-Pan to finish just under five minutes behind after over seven hours of racing. Baby Blue and Papillon had their own battle, finishing a mere sixty-one seconds apart with Baby Blue just beating Papillon on corrected time.

All agreed a fantastic day's sailing and very happy to see the 31.7's not only the largest number of one model in the JOG fleet, but also taking three of the first five places in Class 5, and line honours.

31.7 Results Class Extract:

1st Electra GBR 8198T Andy Phelps
2nd Tai Pan GBR 6991T David Jobson
3rd Electron GBR 7016T Paul Harding
4th Baby Blue GBR 8243T Brian Almond
5th Papillon GBR 6953T Stephen Armitage

31.7 Results in Class 5:

2nd Electra GBR 8198T Andy Phelps
4th Tai Pan GBR 6991T David Jobson
5th Electron GBR 7016T Paul Harding
15th Baby Blue GBR 8243T Brian Almond
16th Papillon GBR 6953T Stephen Armitage

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