Monday, April 29, 2013

Glorious Warsash Spring Championship!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Solent Warsash Spring series(Warsash, England)- It was a busy weekend for Warsash Sailing Club on 20th/21st April with racing on both days for the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship and the fifth Sunday of the Spring Series. Perhaps the warmer weather had enticed new entries on the water, resulting in 150 boats ready to enjoy a busy programme of racing. Over the weekend, the race officers ran 40 separate races - a challenging but rewarding time all round.

Saturday- Spring Championship Day 1
The Spring Championship offers an intense schedule of four days’ racing, with no discards allowed.   White Group includes classes for J/70 and J/80.

Although the day dawned with the River Hamble resembling a millpond, everyone was pleased to see the wind fill in and racing got underway without delay.

White Group completed three good races between 40 and 50 minutes in length before the wind faded away and PRO Peter Knight called it a day amidst requests from competitors and race officers alike to enjoy a beer on the terrace in the sunshine. Information from ‘Bramble-Met’ confirmed this to be a good decision since there was a lull of well over an hour before any wind returned - too late for racing.  Betty (Jon Powell) won the first J/80 race with Juicy (Allan Higgs) 15 seconds astern. J’ai Deux Amours (Stewart Hawthorn) was a slender one second adrift in third place but returned in the second race to win. Betty came back on form for the third race.

Sunday- Spring Series Day 5,  Spring Championship Day 2
The weather was bright and sunny with a forecast south-westerly breeze set to build from 10 to 17 knots during the day. The Black Group committee boat set up station near Universal buoy using courses with an initial windward leg to Williams Shipping or West Knoll buoy. The plan was to offer a longer race well over two hours to the Spring Series competitors followed by a short race for those boats entered in the Spring Championship only. The conditions offered the best sailing in the series so far, only a few sunbeams short of champagne sailing – the champagne instead being presented after racing. Smaller boats needed to choose carefully to find clear air avoiding the  powerful IRC1 and IRC2 classes speeding downwind. Sundays in the Solent are also also busy with commercial traffic and the North Channel saw several shipping movements to avoid.

White Group enjoyed good sailing with a start near Meon. The moderate breeze remained fairly stable from the south-west necessitating only a single slight reorientation to the course to maintain good beats and runs.  Racing took place on a small neap tide which may have led boats into a false sense of security. Several had to take penalties after misjudging the tide at the windward mark. This had its effect on Betty which moved her from first boat at the end of Saturday to third overall on Sunday after six races in the J/80 Spring Championship. J’ai Deux Amours grabbed the opportunity to consolidate three wins.

J/80s are having a battle for second place while Stew Hawthorn sailing J'AI DEUX AMOURS is seemingly sailing away with the Spring Champs.  The next four boats, successively, include JUICY (Allan Higgs), BETTY (Jon Powell) and AQUA J (Patrick Liardet) and they're all within 7 pts of each other!  Exciting racing!  On the Spring Series side, Powell's BETTY is still ruling the roost and it's unlikely he'll get unseated from their throne atop the standings.  However, the battle is also for second place in the Series, with Gillian Ross' ROCK & ROLL and Allan Higgs' JUICY within 3 pts of each other, so anything goes in next weekend's finale.
Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie   For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information