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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Warsash Spring Championships Second Weekend

by Peter Bateson and Peter Knight 26 Apr 2023 06:13 BST 22-23 April 2023

The Saturday of the final weekend of the Warsash Spring Championship saw the Black Group start area just west of 4H East Knoll buoy, trying to race in a fickle east - south - southeast breeze. Optimistically, four races were planned.

After an hour's delay waiting for the forecast breeze to arrive, Race 1 was achieved in a 5-6 knots ESE breeze with 40-50 minute windward-leeward courses for the different classes. Seven out of ten Cape 31s sailed the wrong course, perhaps feeling it would be quicker to use a shorter course involving the inner leeward mark (East Knoll buoy) which was set for the slower classes whereas their own mark was the outer leeward buoy, an inflatable laid mark. The three boats that got it right were happy to occupy the podium places.

Race 2 was started in similar conditions but half way through, the wind died completely. After letting boats drift back on the tide for a quarter of an hour whilst nobody seemed to kedge, the race committee took pity on them and abandoned. After another hour, a little breeze returned, from the south, so new marks were laid and new courses set. Then the breeze returned to the ESE and seemed to have settled. The race committee reverted the courses to that direction and the renewed race 2 got going. After the Cape 31s and IRC1 had started, the breeze swung back to the south; IRC2 were also allowed to start in the hope the switch was temporary.

IRC 3 were held back and as the windshift declined to change back again, were given a fresh windward-leeward course based on the southerly. They were the lucky ones as the breeze held in the south for the duration of the race, while the other classes fetched and reached up and down. At least they got a result, as time was running out and if the race had been abandoned again it would simply have been lost - and as it was, the planned 3rd and 4th races could not happen.

In Saturday's two races the winners were:

  • Cape 31 class: Jiraffe (Simon Perry) and Shotgunn (Michael Wilson)
  • IRC 1: Cobra (King 40, Hannah Stodel) won both races
  • IRC 2: Jukebox (J/109, John Smart) and Hot Rats (Beneteau First 35, Robbie and Lis Robinson)
  • IRC 3: BLT (Fauroux Quarter Tonner, Mark Richmond) won both races

On Sunday, with a start area chosen inshore of 4V Hamble Yacht Services, the forecast was for 5 knots westerly backing southwest and increasing to 8-10 knits during the race period. As Warsash Commodore Nigel Rennie commented afterwards, weather forecasts are indeed only forecasts not guarantees - and sometimes seem more like betting tips. At any rate for 2 hours after the scheduled start time there were occasional puffs of as much as 3-4 knots but nothing that could be raced in, especially in the strong cross tide. At 1230, with the tide on the turn and relatively slack, and just in case something turned up, the race committee announced with no enthusiasm that they would wait another half an hour before going home.

At 1245 a light air appeared across the Solent and ten minutes later a start sequence was under way. The classes got going in about 5 knots of breeze which built to 8-9 knots and gave good sailing to provide a pleasing end to a sometimes frustrating weekend's racing. The courses were again short windward-leewards, to and fro across the North Channel around laid inflatable marks. Nick Phillips' Chaotic took the win in the Cape 31 class. Journeymaker 11 (J/111, Chris Jones) won IRC 1 by over 2 minutes in a 50-minute race. Hot Rats was 1st in IRC 2 and BLT again won IRC3.

The race also scored in the Spring Series (6 Sundays) and for this the IRC 1 winner was Jiraffe (Cape 31); the J/109 Jenie (Rosie Berry) won IRC 2; and Quokka was 1st in IRC 3.

The end of the weekend brought the end of both parts of the 6-week event.

Spring Series Results:

1st Jiraffe, Simon Perry, Cape 31
2nd The Bodfather, Charles Whelan, Cape 31
3rd Khumbu, Christian Hamilton, Cape 31

1st Triarchy, Ollie Reynolds and Faith Burns, Arcona 38 (who won by a single point)
2nd Jybe Talkin', Chris Burleigh, J/109
3rd Mojo Risin', Rob Cotterill, J/109

1st Quokka, James Crew and Peter Rutter, Half Tonner
2nd Betty, Jon Powell, Seaquest SJ320
3rd J'ronimo, Dab=vid Greenhalgh, J/92

Spring Championship Results:

Cape 31 class
1st Jiraffe. Simon Perry
2nd Bullitt, Simon Metherell
3rd Chaotic, Nick Phillips

(a clean sweep by J/111s)
1st Jagerbomb, Paul Griffiths
2nd Journeymaker 11, Chris Jones
3rd Jitterbug, Cornel Riklin

1st Jukebox, John Smart, J/109
2nd Jago, Mike and Susie Yates, J/109
3rd Hot Rats, Robbie and Lis Robinson, Beneteau First 35

1st Quokka, James Crew and Peter Rutter, Half Tonner
2nd Expressly Forbidden, Lulu Wallis, Albin Express
3rd Banter, Ian Handley, Mustang 30

Over in White Group the situation was much the same, light or no wind, wind fading and shifting, time passing under hours of AP, but in the end the persistence of the race team managed to get all the races started.

The first race on Saturday got away on time and ran to completion. The second was not so lucky, the wind faded and almost disappeared leading the RC to shorten to it to one lap - the first 6 J70s finished but the rest of the class were not so lucky as the 15-minute finishing time limit expired leaving one boat 10 metres from the line and the rest spread back up the run. The SB20s, which had almost reached the windward mark, were not so luck, getting close to the windward mark, before drifting away on the strengthening adverse tide! Their race was abandoned. It was reported that some drifted back at 2 knots without moving through the water.

The J70s also had this weekend as part of their Grand Slam series leading to some changes in the front runners. Charles Thompson (Brutus II) showed his dominance in the four races with three firsts and a third. The rest of the top three slots were widely spread between Andrew Barraclough (Jenga8), Jonathan Calascione (Calypso), Martin Dent (Jelvis), David McLeman (Offbeat), Paul Barnett (Panther) and Jemima Lewis showing the competition at the front.

In the SB20s, Mark Gillett (Twenty), took two firsts and a third, with the other places being shared by Chris Sproat, Phil Tilley (Tan Gwllt) and Sarah Kemp (Great White Lies).

The forecast for Sunday was light but reasonably steady, but the wind gods were playing up again. No wind at all for the first hour, and then a zephyr from the south that built to allow three short races to be run in a strengthening breeze. Brutus II and Twenty both continued to show their dominance with two firsts and a second, and three firsts respectively.

Overall, the J/70 Championship was won by Tim Collins (EV Experts) followed by Andrew Barraclough (Jenga8) and Finlay Dickinson (Jellyfish). In the SB20s, it was unsurprisingly Mark Gillett who won counting nine firsts, a second and a third, and discarding a third, followed by Chris Sproat and Phil Tilley. In the J/70 Grand Slam weekend, it was a clear win by Charles Thompson (Brutus II) counting five firsts and a second, discarding a third, followed by Calypso and Jelvis.

In spite of testingly light conditions on several race days, back at the Warsash Club this year's event was rated a success by competitors and the 50-strong race team alike. Many are planning on returning for the 40th anniversary of the Spring Series in March and April 2024.

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