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Warsash Spring Championships 2021 - First Weekend

by Chris Wozencroft 21 Apr 12:13 BST 17-18 April 2021
Warsash Spring Championships 2021 first weekend © Parker Adams Boat

The forecast was for light and shifty winds over the whole of the weekend, with the possibility of no wind for racing on Sunday, so the Race Committee set out to get as many races completed on the first day as possible, but a race officer knows they are in for a challenging day when the competitors sail past the Committee Boat wishing them good luck, for in the north Solent, when the wind is in the North East there are always big unpredictable shifts that make course setting as hard as it could ever be.

On Saturday, the first White Group Sportsboat races for J70 and SB20s classes got away with clean starts and then the race became a game of snakes and ladders as the breeze favoured particular parts of the course. With one race in the bag AP was raised whilst the fleet waited for the wind to settle and essential adjustments to the course made before the second set of races could get under way. As the races progressed the wind faded. The first four J70s managed to finish, but unfortunately the time limit expired before for the remaining boats could cross the finish line. An attempt was made to shorten the SB20 class at the leeward gate but with the fleet drifting on the tide away from the gate their race was abandoned.

Black Group had set up near East Knoll buoy racing up towards the Hill Head shore. The set of races were started, set up on an axis of 060 degrees but half way through the race the wind backed to the South West so that the final run became a beat for the five classes that had courses ranging from 3.8 to 5 miles long. There was just time to attempt a shorter second race before the entire fleet paused to take part in the silence to remember the life of H.R.H. Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh at 3pm but unfortunately the breeze died so all classes except IRC1 were abandoned leaving half of the IRC1 competitors failing to finish within the time limit triggered by the first boat crossing the finish line. After the silence both Black and White Groups attempted to start races but after twenty minutes looking for the breeze the fleet returned to harbour.

On Sunday, the forecast was for little or no wind but undeterred Crackerjack, the White Group Committee Boat, proceeded to the race area where a very light north-easterly breeze matching forecasts from several different sources was detected to be followed by a gentle south-easterly breeze that was steady by 11:00, just sufficient to get the first races under way. Both J70s and SB20s got away clean and as the breeze got stronger the fleet were informed of the decision to try to get four races completed to make up for Saturdays disappointment.

The second race of the day got away with the J70s being a little over eager in the middle of the line, which resulted in them coming back for a U flag start. This time they got away cleanly and had a good race. The following two races got away cleanly in 5 to 9 knots of breeze and only slight shift. All sailors had a good day in the bright sun but a lightly chilly breeze.

Black Group enjoyed similar conditions and two races were competed for each class but running an hour behind white group to allow crews more time to get to their boats each day due to COVID 19 regulations the opportunity to complete a third race was lost as the wind died during the starting sequence forcing a postponement and as the wind then failed to settle it was decided that the two races had been enjoyed and it was time to raise AP over A and head back to harbour.

In spite of the frustrating wind conditions over the weekend, the general feeling was one of delight to have got back onto the water and restarted yacht racing from the Hamble River.

Race results are available at

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