Sunshine and a solid breeze launched the opening event of the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s Summer Series – the North Sails May Regatta – in fine style.
The 81 crews competing, the highest entry in several years, enjoyed racing on tight courses in brisk conditions. Early cloud and rain on Saturday gave way to sun and 10 to 20-plus knots over the rest of the weekend.
The J/70 fleet was out in force, no doubt aiming to hone their skills ahead of next month’s Southern-run European Championships – and with just 1.5 points covering the top three boats, there is all to play for.
Marshall King’s The Janitor emerged by a whisker at the head of a highly competitive 17-strong contingent thanks to two race wins, chased all the way by Clive Bush’s Darcey. The two finished a point apart, with Patrick Liardet’s Cosmic just 0.5 point in arrears to complete the J/70 podium.
The J/80s have got their own UK Nationals next month with their Worlds in July – both events also being run by the Southern – so made the most of race time on the water.
Jonathan Powell’s Betty reeled off a string of bullets, and was even able to discard a second on the way to a four point win over Slightly Steamy (Nick Haigh). Sasha Lines’ Swallow came third.
In the Mixed Sportsboats class SB20s took the top two spots, Whyaduck (Tom Clay) taking four successive wins to shade Wight Dragon (Mark Irons). Michael Livingstone’s Cork 1720 Rum n Cork place third in increasingly lively Solent conditions.
After winning last year’s Summer Series overall – along with an all paid for holiday in the Caribbean courtesy of series sponsor the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. – Mike Blair and Seb Blair’s Cobra skippered by Stevie Beckett continued where she left off, top of the pile in IRC1, but only just.
Starting with two wins straight out of the box, Cobra was able to discard a seventh in the final race to finish two points clear of Jahmali (Mike Wallis) with Aurora (Roderick Stuart) just a point further back.
In IRC2 Peter and Sarah Hodgkinson’s Xcitable finished with three wins to take the class ahead of Pegasus DekMarx (Malcolm Wootton) and No Retreat! (David Riley).
Phil Plumtree went one better in the bullet stakes, his half-tonner Swuzzlebubble taking IRC3 with four successive wins. Scarlet Jester (Jamie Muir) shaded Blackjack II (Andy and Annie Howe) by a single point to take the second step on the podium.
IRC4 was a two-horse race, with Tom Hill’s Belinda taking bragging rights just ahead of Richard Hollis’ Crakajax.
The Summer Series action resumes with the Harken June Regatta on June 10 and 11. The J/70 European Championships runs from June 3 to 9.
For more information, including on line entry click here.
by Louay Habib