Racing for the first day of the AVEVA September Regatta was delayed until a stunning sea breeze filled in from the southwest to give a cracking day out on the Solent for a variety of classes racing with the Royal Southern Yacht Club. Sparkling sunshine and a gentle, but shifty breeze, provided ideal conditions for highly competitive racing.
Starting well is always a premium and with plenty of congestion at mark roundings, slick boat handling was one of the keys to maximize performance. Over 60 yachts were taking part with hundreds of crew returning to the Royal Southern Yacht Club to enjoy the full facilities of the club. During the day, club members volunteered to organise a children’s party with a Bouncy Castle and a coconut shy to keep the young members and guests amused, whilst the older generation were out on the water.
After the first day of racing two teams have scored perfect results, David Greenhalgh’s J/92, J’ronimo and Sir Keith Mills’ Ker 40+ Invictus with David Greenhalgh’s son Robert calling tactics. All three are members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and Robert is one of the club’s most decorated sailors. In just the last few weeks, Robert Greenhalgh has won the Moth European Championship, the SB20 National Championship.
Sir Keith Mills at the helm of Ker 40+ Invictus was unstoppable today, scoring three clean bullets in the Fast 40 Class but it wasn’t easy for the team. Stuart Whitehead’s Carkeek 42, Rebellion showed tremendous speed, posting three podium finishes to take second place after three races. Mike Bartholomew’s GP42, Tokoloshe II was fully on the pace, snapping at INVICTUS and Rebellion to place third after three races. Steve Cowie’s Scottish GP42, Zephyr were making their debut in the carbon fibre flyer and finished the day in style, on the podium in Race three.
David Greenhalgh’s J’ronimo is crewed by friends from Hamble and nearly all girls. “My dear wife Judith is a volunteer on the Committee Boat, so she could keep a good eye on me.” Laughed David. “The crew work was really good today and we started pretty well and didn’t make too many mistakes. The crew complain that I only provision the boat with pork pies but it is the only food you can eat with one hand and not make a mess. Great racing today, thoroughly enjoyable and we will be looking forward to much of the same tomorrow.
Niklas Zennstrom racing Rán leads the J/70 Class having scored a three – one – one today. “We could have got a second in the first race but we are very happy with our performance today.” commented Niklas who was enjoying a celebratory drink with his wife Catherine and the racing crew in the Royal Southern Yacht Club. “The J/70 is very easy to race, we just launch the boat, pull up the sails and go racing. The class is very competitive and no one boat is dominating so it is a lot of fun. With a TP52 things are much more complicated, racing the J/70 only requires four people and there is no time spent on working out sail development and modifications to the boat, so it really is a lot of fun but at the same time very challenging.”
In the J/70 Class, Simon Cavey won the first race and finished the day in second place behind Rán. Ian Wilson’s Gill Race Team is in third place but only a single point ahead of two yachts; Patrick Liardet’s Cosmic and Team Juicy racing ESF Energy.
For the J/80 UK National Championship, three teams are coming to the fore. Yannig Loyer’s French team racing J out of the Box, scored a win and a second today to retain the championship lead. However, Jon Powell’s Betty and UK Class Captain, Mike Lewis racing Jester are tied for second place, just six points behind J out of the Box. The French team are off to Twickenham this evening to watch France play Italy in the Rugby World Cup and hope to be fresh tomorrow to wrap up the championship.
Three highly competitive races in the six Metre Class produced close finishes in every race. Robert Laird’s Erica leads the class by virtue of winning two of today’s races. Fenton Burgin’s Sioma was the victor in Race one and completed the day with two more podium finishes to place second after three races. Andy Short’s Nancy is third. In the Sports Class Gary Baker’s Trio is the leader and Diana Wilson’s Mischief leads the XOD Class.
After racing hundreds of competitors and guests enjoyed the Royal Southern Pirate Party with a Caribbean BBQ and a welcome dark ‘n stormy. For those with enough energy left after a great day’s racing. Ed and Al provided live music into the early evening. Tomorrow, racing at the AVEVA September Regatta and the J/80 UK National Championship, will come to a conclusion.
The Royal Southern YC is a hive of activity this weekend with crew suppers and a themed beer festival at the Upper Bar available to all competitors.
by Louay Habib