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Champagne Charlie June Regatta sponsored by Charles Heidsieck at the Royal Southern Yacht Club

by James Ripley 8 Jun 2023 17:44 BST 3-4 June 2023
Champagne Charlie June Regatta sponsored by Charles Heidsieck © Paul Wyeth /

56 teams competed in Round 2 of the Royal Southern Summer Series - the Champagne Charlie June Regatta sponsored by Charles Heidsieck on 3-4 June.

Appropriately, the conditions made for 'champagne' sailing with gusty and shifty winds from the North East, and plenty of sunshine. Shoreside, the Club ran one of it's most popular evenings in memory with live music from the Yacht Rockets - a star studded band which includes members from Procol Harum and Dire Straits.

On Saturday, three races were held for Black Group - two windward-leewards followed by a Round the Cans. Course Race Officer Paul Jackson IRO looked after the 44 boats split across 5 classes. In IRC 1, Ian Atkin's Dark'N'Stormy won the two windward-leeward races, with Cobra taking the honours in the RTC. In IRC 2, Adam Gosling's JPK 'Yes!' won races 1 and 2, with race 3 going the way of Happy Daize.

IRC 3 was the largest class with 16 entries and it was very tight at the top. J'ronimo won race 1, John Allen's AntiX took race 2, whilst the honours in the final race of the day went the way of Ian Handley and his team on Banter. In the one-design J/111 class, JourneyMaker II, skippered by Louise Makin, dominated proceedings taking three bullets. In comparison, the HP30 class was extremely tight at the top. Farr 280s won races 1 and 2 - Moral Compass and then Pandemonium. The Fareast 28 Resolute took race 3.

In White Group, Course Race Officer Charlie Stowe NRO and his team did a great job of running 5 sprint races each for the two classes. In the J/70s, William Edwards and his Sardonyx Xi team took three race wins with the other two going the way of Jelly Fish and Woof respectively. In the SB20 class, both James Neilson and Simon Berry on Betty took two race wins each with Tan Gwyllt taking the other victory.

The boats then headed ashore and competitors were greeted to street food including pizza and Purbani Indian. Lucia Philips and her band Tripleseven were performing in the marquee which helped create a great atmosphere enjoyed by hundreds of sailors, members, and visitors across the Club's three bars and restaurant including our newly reopened Britannia Bar.

Later in the evening, the Club hosted one of it's most memorable events in history with an exclusive performance from the Yacht Rockets. A band made up of legendary performers - Josh Phillips (Procol Harum), John Illsley (Dire Straits), Richard Studholme (Pro Guitarist), Craig Alexander (Top Session Drummer), and Sam Tanner (Rock's Finest Piano Player).

After a great night, Sunday brought more glamourous but challenging conditions. Dark'N'Stormy took a clean sweep of race wins to secure IRC 1 class win. Cobra was second overall with the Cape 31 Jiraffe in third. In IRC 2, two race wins for Yes! was enough to secure overall victory and allow them an early trip home. Happy Daize took the final round the cans race to secure second in class, with Arcus sailing a consistent series to complete the podium.

In IRC 3, just a single point separated the top three overall. Race 3 went to quokka 9 who finished third overall. Frank 3 took victory in the second race of the day but some high scores elsewhere in the series meant she finished outside the podium overall. Banter won the final race of the day and second in class.

Despite not taking a victory since race 1, David Greenhalgh and his J'ronimo team kept it consistent to take overall class win by a single point. In the J/111s, Paul Wollmann in Frequent Flyer took victory in race 4 - the only win not to go to Journeymaker who unsurprisingly wrapped up the class. The Club's Event Director, Dirk van Beek and his Sabriel team was second overall with Jitterbug in third. The HP30 class remained tight until the end despite Jester taking 3 from 3 on the second day. Moral Compass was a point behind in second overall with Pandemonium another point back to complete the podium.

In White Group, Sardonyx took a clean sweep on race wins in the J/70 class to secure overall victory. Jelly Fish was second overall, and Woof third. In was tighter in the SB20s with victories on the second day going to James Neilson (regatta winner), and Phil Tilley (third in class). Simon Berry kept it consistent to finish runner up.

Shoreside, title sponsors Charles Heidsieck had lined up plenty of bottles of Champagne for the prize winners. Royal Southern Rear Commodore Sailing Demian Smith thanked the Principal Race Officer, Tanya Robinson, the Course Race Officers and those who had lent their boats as Committee Vessels. He then spoke about all of the volunteers who had worked so hard to make the event a success before announcing the prize winners.

The Royal Southern Yacht Club look forward to welcoming sailors back in less than one month time for the next event in their flagship Summer Series - the Salcombe Gin July Regatta on 8-9 July.

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