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26th Waller-Harris Two-handed Triangle Race at the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club

by Bill Harris 10 Jul 2023 09:14 BST 1-3 July 2023
Arctic Tern and Jabot 3 during the RCIYC 26th Waller-Harris Two-handed Triangle Race © Bill Harris

The 26th edition of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club's classic Waller-Harris Two-handed Triangle Race, held over 1st to 3rd July, was blessed with plenty of breeze albeit westerly and 'on the nose' over the first two days. This year's itinerary saw the fleet leaving Jersey for St Cast on the Saturday, St Cast for Binic on Sunday, returning to Jersey on Monday; a round trip of just over one hundred miles.

The lively conditions that greeted the eight-strong fleet early on Saturday morning led to the start line being shifted to the calmer waters of the western side of St Aubin's Bay. Setting off downwind on starboard tack, under leaden skies, boats had a short run southeast-wards to the Hinguette buoy before hardening up for a very wet and bumpy ride to the thirteen-mile distant northwest Minquiers buoy where, to the relief of all, sheets were eased for the twenty two miles broad reach to the finish line at the Bourdinots buoy off St Cast-le-Guildo.

In IRC 1, with 'white sail' ratings in effect, line honours went to Phil Burton and David De Carteret on the Arcona 410, Arctic Tern, with Rhys Perkins and Bob De la Haye's Archambault 35, Abracadabra, close on her tail. Alan Stevens and Bill Harris on the First 44.7, Zanzibar, doubling as the committee boat, returned the shortest elapsed time. This race saw the first win for Abracadabra that went on to complete the hat trick, eventually winning all three legs. Robin Jenkins and Tom Vallois sailing the First 31.7, Jack Rabbit, took the race from Deborah Hutchings and Chris Fritot's Dehler 39, Mystique of Jersey, in IRC 2, racing with spinnaker ratings. With just two minutes separating the three YTC class boats, it was Daniel Le Marquand and Alistair Castle on the J35C, Jabot, the only boat opting for its spinnaker rating, who pipped Nick Bailhache and Malcolm Coles' Moody 31, Fillipene, on corrected time. James Wilding and Chris Deahl on the Oceanis 393, Divergence, were a very close third. That evening's celebrations were held in the P'tit Mousse restaurant on the St Cast Marina where all dined very well.

Sunday saw the fleet assembling for the race to Binic, bright and early, off the Bourdinots buoy start line, the strong winds ever from the west. Starting shortly after nine o'clock boats were quickly away on port tack for a broad reach to the Banchenou buoy, due north of St Cast. Most of the fleet stood out on the ebb before tacking onto a course to take them directly to the Les Landas buoy, the Rohein beacon and onwards to the finish line off the Caffa buoy, east of Binic. This leg saw Arctic Tern taking line honours in a little under four hours but giving way to Abracadabra on corrected time. IRC2 line honours and the race went to Mystique having beaten Jack Rabbit by less than half a minute. Jabot took line honours in the YTC class but, as the only boat racing with her spinnaker rating; fell back to third on corrected time. The day went to Divergence finishing two minutes ahead of Fillipene on corrected time. Once again, this was a very close call. Having arrived off Binic, the body of the fleet anchored in the lee of the land to enjoy a restful interlude before the marina opened later that afternoon. Once secure inside, crews assembled in the Nord-Sud Restaurant for an excellent meal and another bout of the famed Triangle companionship.

Monday dawned bright with seemingly light westerly winds. Following the eight o'clock start off Binic harbour, boats, now homeward bound, headed eastwards to the Caffa buoy, the boats that had elected to sail with their spinnaker ratings making the most of the opportunity. Conditions remained relatively benign until boats lost the lee of the land as they headed for the Bay of St Brieuc wind farm western limit buoy. By now the breeze had returned and was gusting to well over twenty knots as boats rounded the buoy and set course for the distant Hinguette buoy with rolling seas adding to the fray. This was to prove a very fast leg for all but one boat. The three IRC 1 boats were flying but, initially, Mystique, with spinnaker aloft was well up with the leaders. Jack Rabbit, a little way behind, mastered her spi after early difficulties and settled down for a long surfing run to the Hinguette. Sadly for Mystique, the wrap genie came out of the bottle and put paid to her hopes, resulting in a long motor home after a valiant recovery effort. Zanzibar came into her own on this leg to return the fastest time but, again, giving way to Abracadabra on corrected time to give her a very well merited third win. It was Jack Rabbit, however, that was star of the show having carried her spinnaker the whole way to the Hinguette to take overall line honours off the East Rock buoy some five minutes ahead of Abracadabra to win IRC 2 and the class overall. Jabot was well clear of her competitors in the YTC class but had to settle for third in the final outcome, Fillipene having beaten her by a wide margin on corrected time. Divergence was second.

The event was judged to have been very successful both on the water and ashore. The RCIYC is pleased to thank the marina authorities of St Cast and Binic and the Police Aux Frontières for their help throughout.

Overall Results: Leg 1 + Leg 2 + Leg 3 (Overall)

Class 1 (IRC white sail)
Abracadabra - Rhys Perkins & Bob De la Haye - 1+1+1 (3)
Zanzibar - Alan Stevens & Bill Harris - 2+3+2 (7)
Arctic Tern - Philip Burton & David De Carteret - 3+2+3 (8)

Class 2 (IRC spi)
Jack Rabbit - Robin Jenkins & Tom Vallois - 1+2+1 (4)
Mystique of Jersey - Deborah Hutchings & Chris Fritot - 2+1+RTD (6)

Class 3
Fillipene - Nick Bailhache & Malcolm Coles - 2+2+1 (5)
Divergence - James Wilding & Chris Deahl - 3+1+2 (6)
Jabot - Daniel Le Marquand & Alistair Castle - 1+3+3 (7)

The detailed results are available through the RCIYC website,

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