Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club’s Waller-Harris Two-handed Triangle race 2015, held over fourth to 6th July, was held in some of the most benign conditions ever experienced throughout this most popular of events.
Seventeen boats came to the line in St Aubin’s Bay on Saturday for the 1300hrs start of the first leg to Granville. Much to the consternation of several skippers, the race officer chose to postpone the start and motor on to the North-east Minquiers buoy despite what appeared to be a light but workable breeze. These folk clearly had not had the same conversation with Jersey Met as the RO and the predicted hole in the wind south of the Island appeared on schedule and all boats duly arrived at the buoy under motor.
On arrival, the breeze had picked up to a light north-north-easterly and, with Bob Milner’s Grand Soleil 46, Grace, acting as committee boat, the race got under way at 1615. Spinnakers were quickly hoisted as boats headed off north of Chausey to the Le Founet buoy. The wind backed as the fleet approached this turning mark and spinnakers were, for some, quickly gybed. For others, things went pretty awry as the fleet sailed on to the finish line at the Videcoq buoy, a few miles west of Granville.
Richard Gale and Phil Smart on the Prima 38, Jenna B, took line honours after two hours’ sailing with Rhys Perkins and Bob De la Haye’s Archambault 35 just three minutes behind, close enough to give the A35 the race on corrected time in class one. Mike Seguss and Andrew Jelley’s First 31.7 was third.
Making her debut on the racing scene, the Sadler 34, Almecha with Steve Pearl and Ben Jones aboard, took line honours in class two, beating Malcolm Le Couteur and Simon Taylor on the Farr 727, Mic Mac, by a minute on corrected time. Julian Barber and Helen Barker’s Farr 727, Super Q, was a very close third.
As ever, the day ended with crews regrouping for supper before retiring. Sunday dawned very wet indeed with leaden skies over Granville, coupled with torrential rain. Happily this eased as 0830, the start time for the leg to St Cast-le-Guildo, approached. No sooner had Grace settled in position off the harbour jetty than the wind died and the start was, consequently, abandoned. All then motored on to the Videcoq buoy and the sunshine, leaving Granville under its very black cloud cover.
With a light westerly breeze blowing, boats were sent on their way at 1040. This proved to be the most frustrating leg of the race. Most boats chose a more northerly route, others stayed closer to the shore. With the tide ebbing and little wind, crews spent many hours tweaking, trying to maintain a modicum of speed in the right direction.
The westerly breeze eventually returned for a good sail to St Cast-le-Guildo. Jenna B had a particularly good race, taking line honours off the Bourdinots buoy and winning the race twenty minutes clear of Abracadabra on corrected time. These lead boats had carried the tide all the way, the slower boats found the tide running strongly southeast as they approached the finish. Having retired on leg one, Grace redeemed herself, taking third place.
Super Q had played the tide well to take line honours and the race in class two, ahead of Peter Crabb and Peter Williams’ newly-refitted X95, Paper Tiger. Jeff and daughter Emma Speller’s Farr 727, 2Farr, was third.
Having spent an excellent night in St Cast, the fleet set sail on Monday for the start of the leg back to Jersey. Once again, winds were too light for the scheduled start and the fleet pressed on to the Northwest Minquiers buoy. In just a light easterly breeze, the race committee sent the fleet off just before 1500 hrs for the Hinguette buoy and the finish in the Small Roads leading to St Helier Harbour. The wind increased a little as the race progressed, providing a reasonably exciting close reach to the buoy. Many boats made the mark in one whilst others, sailing north of the rhumb line, were obliged to tack. On rounding the mark, almost all boats hoisted spinnakers for the short leg to the finish line. The leading boats had a nail-biting finish that saw Jenna B take line honours just eighteen seconds ahead of Abracadabra with Grace following some four minutes behind. Abracadabra won on corrected time with Jenna B second and Grace third.
Following a long tussle, Paper Tiger took line honours just two minutes ahead of Super Q with Roger Leonard and Malcolm Hartigan on the Sigma 362, Leapfrog, coming home just one minute later. Super Q won the leg, on corrected time, with Paper Tiger second and 2Farr a very close third.
The prize-giving was held in the RCIYC Clubhouse on Wednesday when Mrs Denise Waller presented the place prizes. Dr Rhys Perkins thanked past-Commodores Rodney Waller and Bill Harris for an excellent weekend and their continued sponsorship of the Two-handed Triangle race.
Class 1 (7 boats)
1 Abracadabra – Rhys Perkins and Bob de la Haye (2.09.17)
2 Jenna B – Richard Gales and Phil Smart (2.12.11)
3 Jack Rabbit – Mike Seguss and Andrew Jelley (2.21.23)
Class 2 (10 boats)
1 Almecha – Steve Pearl and Ben Jones (2.03.34)
2 Mic Mac – Malcolm Le Couteur and Simon Taylor (2.04.18)
3 Super Q – Julian Barber and Helen Barker (2.04.57)
1 Jenna B (6.30.52)
2 Abracadabra (6.50.46)
3 Grace – Bob Milner and Bill Harris (7.03.15)
1 Super Q (5.50.44)
2 Paper Tiger – Peter Crabb and Peter Williams (6.10.59)
3 2Farr – Jeff and Emma Speller (6.16.39)
1 Abracadabra (2.53.42)
2 Jenna B (3.01.20)
3 Grace (3.04.18)
1 Super Q (2.46.43)
2 Paper Tiger (2.52.03)
3 2Farr (2.52.26)
1 Abracadabra (4)
2 Jenna B (5)
3 Oz.Pom (12)
1 Super Q (5)
2 Paper Tiger (8)
3 Almecha (10)
25/26 July – Gorey Regatta
8 August – RCIYC Round Jersey race
22/23 August – Channel Islands Hobie Cat Championships
4 – 6 September – UBS Jersey Regatta