Monday, April 22, 2013

Warsash Series Swings Into Spring Sailing- Finally!

J/70 one-design speedster- sailing Warsash spring series(Warsash, England)- After three weeks of freezing weather, a hint of spring was in the air on 14th April 2013 for the fourth Sunday in the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series. With the temperature rising to double figures, the thermal layers could be left behind and there was no ice to clear from the decks. Although the forecast promised 16-20 knots from the south with gusts to 30 knots, these did not materialize and the full program of racing could be completed for all classes.

The Black Group committee boat took up station at Flying Fish buoy. After a short postponement, a light south-easterly set in sufficient to design courses between 11 and 15 miles, using a mixture of laid and fixed marks. Despite the east-going tide, all classes got away cleanly. The early classes started with a beat to a laid mark east of North Ryde Middle in a very light breeze of 3-6 knots. IRC3 had an initial beat to South Ryde Middle in a 10-12 knot breeze. Wind over tide produced a slight chop which slowed some. Others were regretting leaving their light weather sails ashore in view of the forecast! As the morning drew on, the wind backed to the south-southwest and increased, producing short sharp gusts which caused some broaches and wraps as well as stunning downwind racing. Spinnakers were used on the legs designed as such, but later these sometimes turned to shy reaches from true runs.

Conditions suited the bowsprit designs in IRC3 with JIGGERY POKERY (J/97 – Charles Ivill) taking a win from sistership INDULJENCE ((Nick and Adam Munday). As a result, JIGGER POKERY is now leading the IRC3 division for the Spring Series. INDULJENCE has also closed the gap on the leaders and is currently lying third just three points out of first!  The racing is coming down to the wire amongst the top three teams with just two weekends of sailing left on the series!

In the J/109s DESIGNSTAR 2 (Roger Phillips), competing for the first time this series, took the lead from JYNNAN TONNYX (Owain Franks and Jean Lockett).  And, JAHMALI (Mike & Sarah Wallis) snagged third.  As a result, JYNNAN TONNYX still remains in the dries lead with just 12 points, one point clear of JAHMALI.  Third is JUST SO (David Mcgough) with 18 pts.  There is a bit of a wrestling match going on between J/109 champions JAGERBOMB (Paul Griffiths) and OFFBEAT (David Mcleman) who are tied for fourth each with 20 pts.

J/70 one-design speedster- sailing fast on Solent, EnglandThe sportsboats in White Group also assembled in the entrance to Southampton Water. Relieved to find no forecast Force 4-6, a three-round windward/leeward course was set parallel to the shore, 0.65nm long. The J/70 class got away but there was disappointment for EXESS in the J/80s, having led all the way round, to return and find she was over the line at the start. This left the win to current series leader BETTY (Jon Powell). In the J/70s a mere 66 seconds separated the fleet on the finish line, with North Sails taking this first race.

In the second White Group race there were individual recalls in the J/70s and J/80s but this time everyone returned quickly. Halfway through, the wind started to shift and had soon gone through 90 degrees to the south-west. The race was shortened and the committee boat moved inshore ready for the third race. With the wind in the 8-10 knot range the J/70s got away cleanly only for one of the forecast gusts to come in at over 20 knots just two minutes before the J/80 start. At this point the committee boat’s anchor began to drag causing a short delay. The enthusiasm of the fleet to get under way showed when half the boats were too keen on the start line. With several hidden in the middle a general recall was needed before all went smoothly on the next attempt. Again, there was close racing in the J/70s. This time the fleet finished within 27 seconds after 50 minutes of racing. Simon Cavey in PHEEBS posted two wins and a third for the day, whilst BETTY (Jon Powell) gained the same score in the J/80s.

As a result of the days scores, Ian Atkins' crew are still in the lead, but having less than a brilliant day on the scorecard (a 4-2), all of a sudden they look vulnerable despite having a seemingly insurmountable series lead.  With 23 pts total, the team has a 7 pts lead over the fast improving PHEEBS team lead by Simon Cavey, now with an aggregate 30 pts.  Also faltering a bit this past weekend was NORTH SAILS (Ruairidh Scott) notching a 2-4 on his scorecard to drop into third two points back with 32 pts.

The J/80s continue to see Jon Powell and crew riding the mighty BETTY fast, hard and furious, never letting up on the fleet and rarely showing a chink in their armor.  With 19 pts, the betting is good that BETTY is well on her way to taking the J/80s with 19 pts after 12 races!  Behind them by 23 pts is Gillian Ross's ROCK & ROLL in second overall.  They're followed by Allan Higgs' JUICY with 59 pts in third place.

Next weekend sees additional racing on Saturday for the Spring Championship whilst the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series meets for the fifth time on Sunday 21st April 2013.  Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie    For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information