Did you believe the weather forecast today? If you were in Poole Bay, or thinking of a trip to the beach in Bournemouth, then you’d have been very wrong to make other plans.
The BBC were advising rain all morning followed by thunder and lightning in the afternoon and temperatures lucky to reach 18 degrees. Instead the sun shone, the mercury reached the mid-twenties, and a light to moderate North Westerly gave the competitors on the five race areas at the 2018 International Paint Poole Regatta a great day’s sailing.
This biennial event, organised by the combined clubs in Poole Harbour, is going from the strength to strength, and this year has attracted several high-profile fleets and events, including several national championships.
Without doubt, the most eye-catching are the eleven-strong Fast 40+ class, who are making a very rare showing outside of the Solent, albeit only by a few miles. The season for the fleet started at the end of April with the Henri Lloyd Trophy, which newcomer Rán won by a huge margin. Niklas Zennstrom’s latest yacht is radical to say the least and has divided opinion within the fleet, with some calling it a Farr 40++, but a development class thrives from innovation, and Rán is certainly a step forward in design.
As it is, Peter Morton’s Girls on Film, with Anthony O’Leary guesting on the helm, is leading after day one in Poole. An untidy kite drop cost the Rán team dear in the first race of the day, and although they came back with a win in race 2, Girls on Film capped off an excellent start to the regatta with a win in race 3 to carry a two-point lead into the second day.
Sharing the race course with the Fast 40+ fleet are the HP30 class. So far it is the converted Farr 30s which are dominating, with Insatiable and Pegasus DekMarx tied at the top on five points after three races.
The J/24 class are hosting their 2018 National Championship at the event, and all looks set for a two-boat battle between the Parkstone YC teams of Nick Phillips on Chaotic and Duncan McCarthy on Madeleine. Up until race three the two boats were trading wins, but then Madeleine were Black Flagged in the final race of the day, and Nick Phillips was unable to capitalise, scoring a fourth as Giles Kuzyk’s Team Impact U25 picked up the win.
Duncan McCarthy described the racing from on the water: “We experienced a little less wind than we all thought, but it was nice tight racing – very, very close. We won the port end in the first race and went towards the shore where the most breeze was; in the second race the wind shifted right making the race course far more even. We were probably in tenth up the final beat but managed to pull through to second, so we were happy with that.”
In VPRS, which is a popular rating system used by the Poole Yacht Racing Association, Richard Powell’s SB20 Marvel, with its distinctive Deadpool-inspired spinnaker, is leading class one, while Owain Peters’ Rum Juggernaut leads class two.
IRC1 sees local stalwart Jim Macgregor lead on Flair V, while in IRC2, Phil Plumtree on the legendary half-tonner Swuzzlebubble (which won the Half Ton Classics Cup in Kinsale last year) is leading. Phil was appreciating the unexpectedly superb conditions at the event: “So far it’s a lot less rainy than we thought! We thought it would be breezy and wet, but it’s turned out to be a really lovely, sunny sailing day. Racing is pretty tight at the front with the team on Ruthless and it’s very shifty close to the shore in the North Westerly breeze.”
IRC3 has a number of the top Quarter Tonner teams within it and Louise Morton’s Bullet holds a one point lead over Sam Laidlaw’s Aguila. This looks like yet another battle which could go down to the wire.
A few multihulls are taking part in the event with Nigel Talbot’s Nitric leading the MOCRA racing and Jon Hutchings’ 3 Wise Monkeys just ahead in the DIAM24 class, where just two points separate the three teams which are racing.
On the Studland Bay course, 1979 Fireball World Champion Crispin Read Wilson is leading the Flying Fifteens while in the Shrimpers Rod McBrien’s Rascal collected two firsts in the three races to hold a five point lead. David Law’s Kyperini holds a slender one point advantage over Richard Batchelor’s Silver Wind in the XOD class.
Inside the harbour Megan Pascoe dominated the 2.4mR class with three straight wins, Simon Redhead’s Rant ‘n’ Rave is leading the R19 class, and Malcolm Bentley’s Prawn II is leading the Redwings with similar perfect score lines.
Full results for each class can be found at www.pooleregatta.co.uk
by Mark Jardine