Magnum fires all barrels

Breeze fills in at the Warsash Spring Series

Monday April 16th 2012, Author: Flavia Bateson, Location: United Kingdom

The second half of the Warsash Spring Series took place on 15 April after a break for Easter. Following three Sundays of light and fickle breezes, competitors were greeted with a brisk if chilly northerly of 12-14 knots, which a little unexpectedly rose to over 20 knots by late morning.

The Black Group fleet raced from a start line on Ryde Middle bank on courses designed to include the occasional reach, interspersed with beats and runs. The start sequence stayed on schedule until an over eager IRC3 class forced a general recall. They only had a short wait to allow the Sigma 38s to get away before trying again. Even with the tide keeping them away from the line, three boats managed to transgress on the restart and were scored OCS. All classes shared common marks for the start and end of each race with the middle section of each course suitably adjusted to suit the different classes.

In IRC1 Keromino (Jonathan Goring) was fast out of the blocks. She pulled ahead immediately on the first beat and continued to lead the class until a problem with her spinnaker in the middle of the race allowed Magnum III (Andrew Pearce) to overhaul her and stretch a lead to 12 minutes at the line and nearly five minutes on handicap. This gives Pearce a commanding lead in the class with two weeks to go. A group of five boats broke away at the front of IRC2 and after some intense racing Visit Malta Puma (Sailing Logic) took the gun. However, Mike West’s Eaujet, back from racing in France over Easter, was less than three minutes behind after two hours’ racing and this was good enough to give West his second win of the series establishing him with a very narrow overall lead. At this stage, five points cover the first five boats in the class and the next two races will be vital in the overall placings.

The J/109 class has a dozen entries this year and so far each race has produced a different winner. This week it was newcomer Jonnie Goodwin’s Harlequin that was top boat. This was his first race in the series and the team put in a very strong performance to beat David and Mary McGough’s Just So by over four minutes. If Harlequin competes similarly in the next two weeks, there could well be a shake up in the results. In the mixed J/Sprit class, another newcomer had a good day. The J/105 Journeymaker V (Chris Jones), as the biggest boat in the class, revelled in the conditions to take line honours but three minutes behind him and less than a boat’s length apart Tony Mack’s McFly just beat Induljence (Nick & Adam Munday) to the line to take the class win on his first outing. Class leader J’ronimo (David Greenhalgh & John Taylor) could only manage fourth in their slightly smaller J/92.

In the light winds of the first half of the series the Sigma 38 class had been dominated by Kevin Sussmilch’s Mefisto. The change in conditions made no difference. Mefisto established a lead on the first beat and although the racing was extremely tight behind, no one could make a dent in this lead. In the dash for the line Pavlova III (Max Walker), Zanzara (Nick Gale) and With Alacrity (Chris & Vanessa Choules) finished within 10 seconds of each other. After their general recall IRC3 were given an amended and slightly shorter course. John Barrett’s Stiletto looked a comfortable winner on the water but found that they were one of the boats adjudged OCS. This left Elaine (Mike Bridges), Neville Hodkin’s 362 Extra Djinn and the Bateson Family entry Starspray topping the class. With the wind increasing, the final downwind leg was particularly exciting with boats alongside each other at times. In IRC4 the Sigma 33 Prospero of Hamble (Jack Fraser) took a first gun of the series but Ben Meakins’ Impala Polly was sailing off a much lower handicap and recorded their second class win.

On the White Group sportsboat course, set to the north and under the shelter of the Meon shore, both the J/80s and the Laser SB3s were given a gate at the bottom of the course. In the first strong breeze of the year, for many of them the retrieval of gennakers proved to be a significant factor and some ended up having to sail longer windward legs than expected. In the first race it became apparent that boats sailing to the shifts made the most gains. Under the lee of the Meon shore the northerly wind was much more susceptible to shifting and the boats that chose to go for the laylines tended to lose out. Two boats dominated the J/80 class. Rob Larke (J2x) won all three races and he was followed home each time by Ian Atkins in It was a similar tale in the Laser SB3s. Joe Llewellyn, racing for the first time in Henri Lloyd, took all three guns. The minor honours were split between Robina (Jo Lloyd) and David Cummins’ Rumbleflurg. At present Robina leads overall as Rumbleflurg missed the first day’s racing.

Next weekend the pace hots up with racing on both days for the Warsash Spring Championship, including a section with the UK triallists for the Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup. The fifth week of the Warsash Spring Series continues on Sunday 22 April

Warsash Spring Series – Provisional results 15 April 2012

RC 1 Magnum III Ker 40 Andrew Pearce
IRC 2 Eaujet Archambault 35 Mike West
IRC 3 Elaine Elan 37 Mike Bridges
IRC 4 Polly Impala 28 Ben Meakins
J/Sprit McFly J/97 Tony Mack
J/109 Harlequin   Jonnie Goodwin
Sigma 38 Mefisto   Kevin Sussmilch
J/80 (three races) J2x   Rob Larke
Laser SBR(three races) Henri Lloyd   Jow Llewellyn

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