Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Grand Finale- Warsash Spring Series & Championship

J/70s sailing Warsash Helly Hansen Spring series (Warsash, England)- According to one observer out on the Solent race track, it was “synchronized broaching on the final weekend of the Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship!”  Perhaps it was not that bad, but it certainly was marked by a bitter wind chill, sunshine and cloud, shifty winds and some cracking racing!

The wind remained in the north similar to last weekend but this time a NNE on the Saturday with around 10-15 kts of wind. The forecast for Sunday had been a NNW veering north but it was in fact close to a NNE backing N that made course setting quite a challenge for the race committee. Gusts of up to 20 kts became a challenge for the competitors, with many significant broaches and trawling of spinnakers and asymmetrics seen during the days racing (no update on the flounder and oyster count yet off Bramble Banks!).

There were few surprises in the results with those boats leading their class at the end of the first weekend of the Championship further consolidating their lead this weekend to finish overall winner in their class.

The Black Group classes were started near South Ryde Middle with four windward / leeward races on part laid courses with some use of fixed marks when they served our purpose. The first General Recall of the Championship (and in fact the Spring Series as well) was for IRC2 in the first race of the weekend but all boats were away cleanly at the second attempt.

White Group starts were laid at the Jonathan Janson mark with courses running diagonally into the Meon shore.

J/111 sailing Spring Championship in Warsash, EnglandCREWSAVER SPRING CHAMPIONSHIP
Peter Bateson, Series and Championship Chairman, summed up the Championship saying, "Each year I think that the Spring Championship can't get any better, and each year it does. With 110 boats and around a thousand people taking part there has been a real buzz to the event and some really exciting racing out on the Solent. So far, the feedback has been positive so we are really pleased. A big thank you to Crewsaver and race partner Rolly Tasker for their continued support of the Spring Championship."

In IRC 2 Championship, the J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT sailed by Paul Ward managed a fifth place after twelve races and fellow J/88 crew SABRIEL JR skippered by Dirk Van Beek placed seventh.

Despite not having sailed the first weekend and taking all DNS’s, the J/35 BENGAL TIGER just about thrashed her IRC 3 Championship class on the last weekend, posting an amazing 2-2.5-1-1-4 to win the day by an Irish country furlong!

Finally, the J/109 Championship fleet saw Supercalifragilistically-close sailing between Robert Stiles’ DIAMOND JEM and David McGough’s JUST SO.  After 12 races, just one point separated them with DIAMOND JEM taking the crown followed by JUST SO.  Third was Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE.  The balance of the top five was Chris Copeland & John Smart’s JUKE BOX and past class winner, Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX in fifth place.

J/70 Team RAF Spitfire- with Simon Ling, captainThe J/70s produced a winner that was not too surprising to the locals.  As winner of the J/70 World Championship Corinthians Division, Simon Ling’s TEAM RAF BENEVOLENT FUND SPITFIRE won their class with room to spare after posting five 1sts after an awfully slow start in their first race- a 10th place.  Taking second and sailing lights out was Russell Peters on BOB (a past I-14 World Champion and former West Kirby Sailing Club Commodore, famous for the World Championship Team Race Regatta- the Wilson Trophy).  Third in this talented class was Ian Wilson’s GILL RACE TEAM (the skipper is an SB20 World Champion himself!).  Fourth was Jonathan Calascione’s HARLEQUIN and fifth was Allen Higg’s ESF ENERGY.

According to Simon Ling, captain of the RAF SPITFIRE TEAM, “The second and final weekend of racing at the Warsash Spring Championships was amazing. 24 J/70s battling it out over two weekends and twelve races. Some fabulous racing in a very competitive and talented fleet. Team RAF Benevolent Fund Spitfire scored 1,2,3,2,1,1,1,3,2,3 and, in so doing, won the Championships. This is the first event of our 2016 campaign that will culminate in San Francisco in September for the J/70 World Championships. Great start for Team RAF BENEVOLENT SPITFIRE that includes myself, Ian Southworth, Craig Burlton and Tony Hanlon!”

J/111 Jitterbug sailing Warsash spring seriesHELLY HANSEN WARSASH SPRING SERIES
The final Sunday (24 April) of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring proved to be a tricky day's racing when the wind ignored the forecast and dished up between 5-20 kts plus, with massive, cold microbursts that switched direction up to 30 degrees; dumping more than one crew's legs in the water!

The start for race one for the Black Group was near S Ryde Middle, courses with a 2-mile first beat to a laid mark just inshore of the North Channel and then triangles and windward / leeward legs between there and the Ryde Middle Bank before a finish between the East Bramble and Hill Head buoys.

The first windward mark was carried away by a boat in the first class to race was then left drifting! The next two classes managed somehow to round it as it blew rapidly downwind before it was spotted by the race committee and replaced in position with new ground tackle; the final two classes were delayed whilst this was done.

The second Black Group race start was near Deloitte Sailing Club mark; 6-7 mile courses with a first windward leg up to hamblewinterseries.com mark, then one or two windward / leeward legs before a spinnaker reach to a laid mark near Kilchoman and a short beat back to the same finish.

As a result of their incredibly strong leadoff to their series, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG walked off with the Black Group IRC 1 Class championship.  Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB managed a sixth in class despite missing the first two races.

J/88 sailing Warsash spring seriesThe Black Group IRC 2 division was a tough one, but in the end Paul Ward’s crew on the J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT were up to the difficult task of taking a non-IRC boat up against IRC-rule-beaters and busting their bubble through superior tactics, boat-handling and just plain-old boatspeed when it counted.  They took third in their grouping.

Just about leading from the start in IRC 3 division was David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO. However, they were put to the test on the last weekend but managed to close and win their class by one point.  Andy Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II took fourth in a closely fought group.

J/109 sailing Warsash spring seriesAnother closely fought series took place in the Black Group J/109 Class; the last two races of the series determined that outcome.  In contention were David McGough’s JUST SO and Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE.  However, when “the pedal meets the metal”, you begin to separate “the wheat from the chaff” as they say in America.  In this case, the intense pressure of firewalling their team led to the JUST SO crew blasting two bullets in the last two races to take the class win.  Meanwhile, wilting under the nuclear winter was JIRAFFE, closing with a 2-7 to just eke out a second place on a tie-breaker, much to their surprise!  The points scenario going into the last weekend for the leaders was “clear as Lymington mud” (just ask Bob Fisher what than means!).  Nevertheless, JIRAFFE took second over Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX on the tie-breaker based on number of firsts.  Fourth in class was Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN and fifth David Richards’ JAZZY JELLYFISH.

J/70 Spinnaker Wealth Management sailing Warsash seriesIn the White Group, it was anything but obvious who was going to win the J/70 fleet.  But, an experienced former J/80 sailor who knows the Solent better than the color of his socks each morning took the J/70 sailors to task over the entire spring series.  Local knowledge is a good thing.  Patrick Liardet and his J/70 COSMIC crew were truly “on”, or at least beyond, the B52’s Planet Claire and perhaps to “the future and beyond”, according to Buzz Light-year!  In short, after a 1-3-1-2 at the start of the series, it was their’s to lose and they did not squander that position, winning the series by 12 pts.  The huge surprise was the great performance by J/70 class newcomer, Steve Venables’ crew on INJUNCTION, taking second overall. Third was taken by a J/Class veteran, Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA VIII.  The balance of the top five was Nick Denney’s JALAPENO in fourth and Nigel Evans’ SPINNAKER WEALTH MANAGEMENT in fifth position.

For the J/80 class, it was a whitewash by Jon Powell’s BETTY, taking eleven 1sts on their way to a class win by 15 pts.  Second was Mike Lewis’ JESTER and in third was Rachel & Robert Hunt’s JUMBLESAIL.  For more Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series sailing information