It is uncanny how this is always a windy regatta.” remarked Johnny Vincent, owner/driver of Ker40+ Pace, after scoring an impressive 2-2-1 in the FAST40+ Class on the first day the RORC IRC National Championship.
“We didn’t have a great start to the season, so it was great to get going in this regatta with a thrilling day on the water. The last race was right at the top of the limit for a FAST40+, a tough beat upwind and really exhilarating downwind. As Pace Boat Captain, Anthony ‘Ski’ Haines put it – if you didn’t enjoy that, then you won’t enjoy anything.”
PRO Stuart Childerley elected to stick with the schedule and run two windward leeward races and a round the cans race. As expected the first race was held in 18 knots of wind from the WSW, and close to high water, there was a moderate sea state. Tony Dickin’s Farr designed Jubilee got the best start at the pin end, closely followed by Peter Morton’s brand new Carkeek designed Girls on Film. The rest of the pack chose centre left, save the German Felci designed Silva Neo, which was late to the start, fixing a rig issue. Girls on Film put in a tack, judging the lay line to perfection to be first to the top mark, and there was no stopping the Cowes based team, extending to win the race at a canter. Pace showed excellent boat handling and great speed, especially downwind, to secure second place, and Bastiaan Voogd’s Dutch Carkeek designed Hitchhiker ,won a close battle for third.
By Race Two, the tide had turned, and the sea state became the classic, short Solent chop. Mark Rijkse’s Reichel Pugh designed 42 South, got the best start but once again Jubilee was on top form, passing the Kiwi flagged boat to leeward. Johnny Vincent’s Pace, hardly made a mistake, taking line honours, but was second after IRC time correction. Silva Neo won the race by just 17 seconds. Girls on Film was third, just ahead of 42 South. Gear failure prevented two teams from completing the second race; Ian Cowie’s Scottish team racing Zephyr, and Mike Bartholomew’s South African flagged Tokoloshe II.
By Race Three, the wind speed had grunted up to 25 knots, whipping up to nearly 30 knots in the gusts, and a significant sea state had developed. With close to survival conditions, the round the cans race was shortened. Only four FAST40+ finished, with Girls on Film, Jubilee and Silver Neo, joining the casualty list from Race Two.
Pace won the last race, securing am uber six point lead after three races. Hitchhiker finished the last race in second place, and after countback, second on the leaderboard ahead of 42 South. Girls on Film is currently fourth. James Neville’s HH42 INO XXX, has been in fine form offshore this season, and handled the feisty conditions well, finishing in third place for the last race.
Talking Tactics – Jeremy Robinson, Ker40+ Pace.
“In the brief this morning, we reminded ourselves of the fact that we have made too many boat handling errors in the past, which have cost us. So today we concentrated on limiting our mistakes and perfecting manoeuvres. We had a few new team members but they are all highly experienced, and bar the last kite drop, things went to plan today. It is early in the regatta, but we are very happy with our result for the first day.”
For more information visit fast40class.com.
by Louay Habib