It was set to be a challenging day on the Solent; a sunny spring day, but with a forecast of 5-10 kts of breeze dropping towards lunchtime and tides at about 95% of full springs!
White Group classes and IRC4 started near Royal Southern with a light Northerly breeze averaging around 350 degrees, but periodically flicking left and fading before going back to around 350 and strengthening slightly. The first two White Group races were set on an axis of about 350, but for the third race, the course had to be adjusted as the breeze trended left towards Southampton Water.
Black Group classes started near East Knoll, with the wind initially about 10 knots NNE and dropping to 5 or 6 knots by midday. Courses set were a beat to Coronation, followed by round the cans courses shortened at East Bramble as the wind faded. IRC1 and IRC2 did about 12 miles on their shortened course, IRC4 about 9 miles and the remaining classes around 9.3 miles.
As the breeze dropped, cross-tide runs and spinnaker reaches taxed tacticians as the puffs and lulls made calculating lay lines difficult, and noticeably at East Knoll some boats had a slog to get back to the mark against the flood tide, after getting too far east.
The course for the IRC1 and IRC2 classes was put at risk when a laid inflatable Spring Series mark was removed by “a third party”, as Peter Bateson, Series Chairman politely explained. "Fortunately the race committee discovered this in the nick of time and substituted a rib with an “M22” flag. The five leading boats had to sail a few extra yards, but it appears that the order of results was fortunately unaffected."
In IRC1 KESTREL (J/111 - Simon Bamford) had her first win of the series, after a string of thirds, with JAGERBOMB (J/111 - Paul Griffiths) second. As a result, KESTREL is biting at the heels of the leader and lies in a close second.
The J/88s had an individual recall, but all boats restarted correctly and the finishing order was J-DREAM (David and Kirsty Apthorp) first, with SABRIEL JR (Dirk& Dianne van Beek) in second place, and EAT SLEEP J REPEAT (Paul Ward) in third.
IRC3 also saw an individual recall. The J/92 J’RONIMO (David Greenhalgh) was first with the J/97E JUMBLESAIL 2 (Rachel & Robert Hunt) third.
The J/109s had some drama with the series leader JYNNAN TONNYX (Owain Franks) touching the ground near Calshot Spit and sticking hard enough that she had to watch the fleet sail off and away! This left JAYGO (Mike & Susie Yates) and JIRAFEE (Simon Perry) fighting it out at the front of the fleet. In the end, JIRAFFE took JAYGO on the final beat to win with MOJO RISIN’ (Rob CotterilL) in third. JYNNAN TONNYX now lies third overall, with JAGO leading the class followed by JIRAFFE, but with only one point between the three of them!
Meanwhile, in the world of White Group racing, it was a tale of two fleets, one tight, one a runaway after a total of nine races. In the J/70s, David Mcleman’s OFFBEAT is sailing a steady series and is leading based on a tiebreaker at 42 pts each with Patrick Liardet’s COSMIC. Sitting in third is Phil Chandler’s BLACKJAX with 60 pts, fourth is Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8 with 69 pts and in fifth is Marshall King & Ian Wilson’s SOAK RACING at 84 pts.
Meanwhile, over in the J/80 fleet, Jon Powell’s BETTY is handily leading their fleet with just 10 pts after 9 races! Yowza!! In second lies Mike Lewis’ JESTER with 16 pts and in third place is Terence O’Neill’s AQUA-J with 21 pts.
Nothing is set in stone in most of the classes as we head into the last two Sundays of the Spring Series, and see the start of the Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th April continuing after Easter on 22nd and 23rd April. Sailing Photo credits- Close Hauled Photography. Media enquiries to: Louise Nicholls, t: 07825 586109 e: email@example.com For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.