Photos: Iain Mcluckie

Blustery closing races

Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship conludes

Monday April 28th 2014, Author: Flavia Bateson, Location: United Kingdom

After the Easter break, the closing races in the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship took place last weekend.

Having had no problems with gales or flat calms, the event has been a great success all round, with new entries joining week by week as the weather became warmer, especially for the open sportsboats. Over the eight race days, the 100+ team from Warsash Sailing Club has run over 170 separate races and each week title sponsors Brooks Macdonald have welcomed competitors back to the Club with champagne prizes for the lucky class winners.

Saturday 26th April – Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship Day 3

This was an exhausting but exhilarating day, especially for the sportsboats in White Group which experienced gusts to 33 knots and lulls at 18 knots. Understandably, there were a number of broaches. The spinnaker on Gary Baker’s SB20 Trio ended up under the boat and Turbulence Too lived up to her name with a demonstration of horizontal sailing before succeeding in getting the boat back upright. (Ian Atkins – J/70) shredded her spinnaker during Race 2, but fortunately had a spare and still managed to win their race. While most of the J/80 fleet stayed out for four races, several eventually stuck to white sails rather than risk using, and possibly losing, a spinnaker. Some in the J/70 and SB20 classes decided, having worked so hard for the first two races, to call it a day.

The Black Group committee boat set up station initially east of East Bramble and the North Channel, then as the tide dropped moved to near Bart’s Bash buoy. The southerly breeze ranged from 16 to 22 knots with gusts to 25 knots. Four varied windward/leeward courses were designed. The first two had a leeward spreader leg to get boats back up-tide and to keep the beats and runs as true as possible.

In IRC1 Cutting Edge (Robert Lutener – Ker 40) was out for the first time and posted two wins, Tokoloshe II and Jeeze Louise sharing the honours in the remaining races. Premier Flair (Jim MacGregor – Elan 410 ) and the First 40 Tarka, chartered by Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling from the Royal Irish Yacht Club, did battle in IRC2, each posting two wins.

It was a hat trick for Malice (Mike Moxley – HOD35) in IRC3 although Light (John Rainger – Sigma 38) pressed hard in the third race to lose by 37 seconds.

IRC4 included six Quarter Tonners. Illegal Immigrant (William McNeill) topped the class for two races and the first race went to Whiskers (Catrina Southworth/Team Hamble). Giovanni Belgrano’s classic Laurent Giles one off sloop Whooper ended the day on a high in Race 4 by six seconds on corrected time from Illegal Immigrant. Jubilee (Tony Dickin) also scored two wins in the J/109s chased by Stalker in the first race which went on to win the third. Jeez Louise (James Arnell) had a highly successful day in the J/111s with four straight bullets. Hopes for a clear sweep in the Sigma 38s by Light were stopped by Panda Nova II (Andrew Gordon) in the final race.

The RAF-crewed J/70 Team Spitfire RAFBF clinched a win by just one second from Django (Malcolm and Tristan Jaques) in the first race, the remaining contests going to Ian Atkins’ Betty (Jon Powell) took two wins in the J/80s; Jester (Michael Lewis) and Rock and Roll (Gillian Ross) coming up trumps in the others. (Jerry Hill) also claimed two firsts in the SB20s with Chill Pill (Scott Graham and Nick Elder) and last year’s winner Whyaduck (Tom, Richard and James Clay) taking the first and second races respectively.

Sunday 27 April - Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series Day 6/Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship Day 4

Sunday morning found the breeze had dropped to 16/20 knots. By the end of the morning the rain cleared and crews finished the day wearing sunglasses.

Two races were scheduled for Black Group, starting with a two hour course for Race 1, reduced to 45 minutes for Race 2. The design was principally windward/leeward with beats southeasterly against the tide which continued to build during the day. Race 1 used the area between Ryde Middle and East Knoll banks and Race 2 to the east of the North Channel. All classes, except IRC4, started at East Knoll with an initial windward leg to Bart’s Bash followed by an exhilarating sleigh ride downwind. During this leg some chose to make a speedy swap for bigger headsails, ready for the next beat, to power more easily through the Solent chop. This being the final day of racing, many competitors needed to cover others, thinking about their placing overall as well as in individual races.

The race committee lost no time in getting the final race underway with a six mile course for IRC1 and IRC2 classes. The J/109s and IRC3 still had three legs to complete and started 30 minutes later. IRC3 and IRC4 shared a windward/leeward course with IRC4 getting away after a general recall. In IRC3 having taken the first race Induljence (Nick and Adam Munday) was disappointed with a poor start which dropped them to sixth and lost them the series. Tokoloshe II (Michael Bartholomew) cleaned up in IRC1 with two wins, as did Tarka (IRC2). Illegal Immigrant and Whooper each chalked up another top place in IRC4. Several leading J/109s had difficulty getting spinnakers down at one mark and had to sail on, letting the last two through to head the pack. At the line Just So (David McGough) and Jagerbomb (Paul Griffiths) took the flag.

The White Group committee boat had a busy time when one boat picked up a laid mark and started dragging it along. A replacement mark was deployed but that too was caught and removed by another boat; the two giving the impression of an unexpected 'gate' on the course! In the confusion, the race was abandoned and restarted. took the first race in the J/70s by 24 seconds from Team Spitfire, but dropped to sixth place in the second race when Django was the winner. In the J/80s, Betty has performed consistently very well and this year wins both the Spring Championship and Spring Series. She finished with an eight second win over Juicy in Race 1 and was runner-up to Aqua-J in the remaining races. made a clear sweep in the SB20s.

CRO White Group Peter Knight commented that this was the first time in his memory of the event that the Black Flag has stayed firmly below decks for the whole Series. He puts this good starting discipline down to an increasing number of boats having invested in new electronics to mark the start line.

When all the points were calculated IRC1 produced a Series winner with an enviable lead, which after allowing two discards scored nothing below a second place. This was the Cowes-based Local Letterbox Zero II (James Gair).

J/111s followed with J-Dream having competed in every race beating Jitterbug which had missed one race. In the Spring Championship, where no discards are allowed, Tokoloshe II counted six first places in 12 races. Salvo took a seven point lead over Tarka in IRC2 for the Series while Premier Flair won the Championship from Raygun (Mark Devereax – Ker 32).

Things were close in IRC3 with Stiletto (John Barratt – First 35) first on 14 points followed by Induljence, one point adrift and Malice a further two points lower. Malice was however able to command a strong lead in the Championship. A slender, but all important points lead was also established by J’Ronimo (David Greenhalgh) in IRC4 over Stan the Boat (Toby Gorman). The J/109s saw Jagerbomb edge ahead of Offbeat for the Series with Jubilee taking the Championship.

Few boats entered in the J/70 and SB20 sections competed in all 17 races of the Spring Series. Joyride (Ian Wilson) was one of the few who was out in all weathers and took the Spring Series J/70 trophy. Of the SB20s Crewsaver Racing (Greg O’Brien) was also out for every race and took a well-earned top spot in the Series.

The final weekly champagne prizes were presented by Brooks Macdonald Director John Wallace, accompanied by his daughter Eleanor. The SLAM jacket went to Brian Moreton of the J/70 Jukebox. Warsash Sailing Club now looks forward to welcoming competitors to the prize giving for the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series and Spring Championship on 16th May 2014.

Provisional Class Winners

IRC1: Local Letterbox Zero II (James Gair – Mills 39)

IRC2: Salvo (Peter Morton – JND35)
IRC3: Stiletto (John Barrett – First 35)
IRC4: J’Ronimo (David Greenhalgh – J/92)
J/109: Jagerbomb (Paul Griffiths)
J/111: J-Dream (David and Kirsty Apthorp)
J/70: Joyride (Ian Wilson)
J/80: Betty (Jon Powell)
SB20: Crewsaver Racing (Greg O’Brien)
Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship 2014

IRC1: Tokoloshe (Michael Bartholomew – GP42)
IRC2: Premier Flair (Jim Macgregor – Elan 410)
IRC3: Malice (Mike Moxley – HOD35)
IRC4: Illegal Immigrant (William McNeill – quarter tonner)
J/109: Jubilee (Tony Dicken
J/111: Journeymaker II (Louise Makin and Chris Jones)
Sigma 38: Light (John Rainger)
J/70: (Ian Atkins)
J/80: Betty (Jon Powell)
SB20: (Jerry Hill)



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