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Royal Southern North Sails May Regatta

by Louay Habib 9 May 16:11 BST 7-8 May 2023
Royal Southern North Sails May Regatta 2023 © Martin Allen Photography

A record number of 84 teams competed in the first regatta of the Royal Southern Yacht Club's Summer Series. The North Sails May Regatta was held Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday to avoid clashing with King Charles III's coronation.

A Light to moderate gradient breeze provided calm conditions, but the competition was as fierce as ever. A southerly breeze gusting over the Isle of Wight made reading the changes in speed and direction the keys to a winning performance. Ashore, the Royal Southern's Clubhouse on the banks of the Hamble River was regatta central with well over 300 sailors enjoying the hospitality of the famous club.

Three race areas were set in The Solent for the North Sails May Regatta: Black Group for three IRC Classes, J/111 One Designs, and the HP30 Class. White Group for J/70 and SB20 One Designs, and Red Group for Cape31 One Designs. North Sails experts were not only racing but also out on the water observing and recording the action for an after-racing debrief, including drone footage.

The Prize Giving for the North Sails May Regatta was hosted by Royal Southern YC Rear Commodore Sailing Damien Smith and Jeremy Smart from North Sails, prizes included merchandise from North Sails. Damien Smith thanked North Sails for their continued support of the May Regatta, as well as Club members and staff which had worked tirelessly all weekend to deliver a successful regatta, on and off the water.

Black Group - PRO Peter Bateson

The 12-strong IRC One Class was won by Ian Atkins' GP42 Dark 'N' Stormy, scoring three race wins. Top in the Performance 40 (P40) sub-class and a close second in IRC One was Ed Bell's JPK 1180 Dawn Treader, scoring five podium finishes, including two race wins. Tim Webb's Swan 45 Luna was third in IRC One and second in P40. Michael Blair's King 40 Cobra was third in P40.

"That was intense, just 10-20 seconds in each race, which kept us on our toes, and it was great fun," commented Dark 'N' Stormy's Ian Atkins. "We were desperate to see the results for the last race, there were probably just 50 metres in it for the whole weekend in terms of corrected time. It all came down to a little surf across the finish line. Dark 'N' Stormy is a good all rounder in any conditions but perhaps in heavier air we can get on the plane and it's all over. A couple of races this week, the breeze got up after we finished and that played into the hands of other boats, so it all hinged on when the puffs of wind came through. On corrected time, we were never short of the 'where are they now' moments."

Louise Makin and Chris Jones racing JourneyMaker II won all six races in the J/111 Class. Tony & Sally Mack's McFly was second, just a point ahead of Paul Griffiths' Jagerbomb. Seven J/111 were in action and despite JourneyMaker winning every race, the finish times were very close right through all six races.

We had great competition this weekend, we had some good fights out there. It took a great crew that managed to do the things we set out to do, very well" commented JourneyMaker's Louise Makin. "Sometimes it all comes together, but as always, we have had fierce competition; every boat in the fleet is well prepared. We have always been good in part, but I think that we have a more consistent crew, which really helps to string things all together."

Jerry Hill's Farr 280 Moral Compass scored five race wins and a second place to romp home in the HP30 Class. Lucian Stone's Fareast 28 Vendetta was second, two points ahead of Jamie Rankin's Farr 280 Pandemonium in third.

"For our first regatta of the season it went well," commented Moral Compass' Jerry Hill. "On the first day we were a bit rusty at times but we got better, and a lot of fun was had by all. It is good to see big fleets out on the Solent racing with the 'Southern, especially a lot of young sailors which the sport and the club needs. I think the Club is getting stronger and stronger which is great to see. We will be back in June for the Champagne Charlie Regatta and we hope to be as successful, but we will see how we go then."

James Chalmer's J/112 Happy Daize scored six straight bullets to dominate IRC Two. Second was Edward Mockridge with JPK 1010 Elaine Again. A close battle for third was won by Tim Octon's Corby 35 Njos, just a point ahead of Gordon Craigen's J/105 Jacana.

With 12 teams racing in IRC Three, the class proved to be highly competitive with close racing throughout the regatta, including a tie for first in Race 5, between Frank 3 and Quokka. Oliver and Sam Love's SJ320 Frank 3 won the class from Ian Handley's Mustang 30 Banter with Peter Rutter's Half Tonner Quokka 9 taking third.

"It was good fun, the whole team really enjoyed it," commented Frank 3's Sam Love. "Oliver and I have been racing at the Royal Southern's Summer Series ever since it started and we have had some good results but the competition this year is really strong and they all in different boats which will make it interesting in different conditions through the season. We all sail our own race but it is very close on corrected time. This weekend we used our new J1 which is a bit bigger, so our IRC rating has gone up, but it makes such a difference in light breeze."

White Group - CRO Tom Rusbridge with Tanya Robinson

Sixteen J/70s competed at the Royal Southern North Sails May Regatta. Doug Struth's DSP, with Tom Mallandine on the helm was the winner. DSP won only one of the nine races held, with five teams winning races, proving the high level of competition in the J/70 Class. Martin Dent's Jelvis was second by a single point from Max Clapp's Little J. Jonathan Calascione's Calypso was just four points off the podium.

"A really good regatta, thoroughly enjoyable," commented DSP's Doug Struth. "It is nice to back on the boat with the DSP crew for the first time since last year. We were a bit rusty, except from Tom (Mallandine) who has been out racing with Brutus in Miami. The regatta was pretty close, we had three seconds on Day One so it was nice to win a race on the last day. We had some good and not so good starts and it's hard to catch up when you don't get off the line well. With this short course format, we had to be good at manoeuvring around other boats."

Eight SB20s raced at the Royal Southern North Sails May Regatta. Liam Pardy's SBW Racing came out on top, scoring all podium finishes including five race wins. Second was Charlie Whelan's Breaking Bod. Third was Mark Gillett's Twenty, just a point ahead of Robin Kirby's Absolute Carnage.

Red Group - CRO Paul Ward with Peter Saxton

12 Cape31s raced at the Royal Southern North Sails May Regatta, billed as Round Zero of the Cape31 Race Circuit. Mike Bartholomew's Tokoloshe 4, with son David on the helm, won four of the six races to take the regatta win by a handsome margin. Simon Perry's Jiraffe was second, just two points ahead of James Howells's Gelert.

"It has been a good weekend, in fact the Cape31s have been out four weekends on the trot either practicing or racing, so the level even this early in the season is very high," commented Tokoloshe's David Bartholomew. "The Southern regattas are always well organised and the racing this weekend has been incredibly close; boat for boat on the water positions are changing all the time, which makes the racing exciting as well as really good fun. The Cape31 Class has been growing consistently and in the UK we are looking over 30 boats racing, which is phenomenal for a boat of its size."

The Royal Southern Summer Series continues with the Champagne Charlie June Regatta to be held 3-4 June. Charles Heidsieck Champagne will be providing the prizes. What better way to finish a sparkling day on the water than dressing up for the Champagne Ball on Saturday evening, held at the Royal Southern Yacht Club.

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