Euphorix wins Beneteau 40.7 championship at Portsmouth
Eight Beneteau 40.7s made the trip to Portsmouth last weekend for the first class specific championship held in the UK.
Hosted and run by the Royal Naval Club and Royal Albert Yacht Club, berthing for competitors was in the Gunwharf Marina, right in the centre of the Portsmouth Action, and with five windward/leeward races scheduled over the two days, the scene was set for some tough racing under each boats IRC handicap.
Early on Saturday morning the fleet left Gunwharf into a chilly north-easterly 16-knot breeze, which by the start time of 1000 hrs had begun to drop off and was moving around plenty, causing a slight postponement whilst the course was laid.
Most of the top 40.7s on the south coast were at the line, including Glenn and Nick Jones’ Tarka, which dominated the Warsash Spring Series, and Paul and Joanna Dentskevich’s EuphoriX, second To Tarka in the Spring Series.
The first race eventually got underway in a light to moderate but very shifty breeze. Tarka laid down the gauntlet, leading the fleet off on port tack, ahead of Robin Dollar’s Grand Cru II, and Peter Robson’s Playing Arround. However, at the first mark it was EuphoriX who rounded first, following a lacklustre start but some good shift work up the first beat. A bunch that included Grand CRU II, Tarka, Nick LUTTE’S Shockwave, and Playing Arround followed them closely.
EuphoriX went on to win the first race, just under two minutes ahead of the following group, who crossed the line within seconds of each other. After a leeward mark incident involving Tarka and Grand CRU II, that saw Tarka taking a yellow flag penalty, it was Grand CRU II that took second, followed by Playing Arround, and Tarka.
The wind was a little lighter for race two and as the fleet lined up they were treated to the foredeck crew on Euphorix dropping the Genoa and re-hoisting it with less than a minute to go. Tarka seized the opportunity and started on port tack, whilst EuphoriX got buried with a lack of power. Both Grand CRU and Shockwave had good starts and rounded out the top three at the first mark.
Tarka never relinquished her lead, and some good downwind sailing pulled Euphorix through to second whilst Shockwave dropped to fifth behind Grand CRU II and Playing Arround in third and fourth respectively in a fleet that was split by the tide.
Race three, the final race of the day was sailed in an ever-lightening breeze and it was EuphoriX who led at the first windward mark from Tarka and Grand CRU. As the fleet closed up down the first run, Tarka looked to have overtaken Euphorix, and Grand CRU was but a couple of boat lengths behind the pair. A very late drop at the leeward mark and an inside overlap saw Euphorix sneak ahead of Tarka, but in the ensuing mêlée, they let Grand CRU II into the resulting gap.
Whilst Euphorix and Tarka proceeded to the left side of the course, race leader Grand CRU II chose to split, a tactic that was to be her undoing as a 40 degree left-hand shift towards the top of the course sent the top two on the travellator up to the final windward mark of the day. That was the eventual finishing order with EuphoriX taking the gun from Tarka. Grand CRU II finished third and in the ever-lightening breeze, it was Nick Lutte’s Shockwave who pulled through to finish fourth.
In the light winds on Sunday the race officer set two short courses. In the first race Playing Arround led from Tarka and Shockwave, Euphorix were just behind closely followed by Grand CRU, Andrew Jackson’s Genie, and Peter Wolstenholm’s Rangatira. Playing Arround took the race win from Tarka, followed closely by EuphoriX and Grand CRU II, setting the scene for a last race battle between Euphorix and Tarka for the overall title.
The breeze for the final race of the regatta had turned into a solid, 10-12 knot sea breeze, and it was obviously suited to the whole of the fleet, which only got away after a general recall. For Tarka to take the title, they needed to win the final race of the weekend, and Euphorix just needed to prevent that happening to win overall. Some close tailing in pre-start from EuphoriX led to an even start for the pair, whilst Playing Arround sailed their own race from the off to lead clearly, Tarka and EuphoriX went round the first mark in second and third respectively, one boat length separating the pair and sitting behind Grand CRU. An excellent deep hoist from Euphorix and she nipped into an inside overlap on the pair, going round the leeward mark in second position and simply needing to cover Tarka to finish second in the race behind Playing Arround and first in the championship.
Playing Arround’s two bullets on the final day almost gave her second overall, with Tarka holding on by a single point for second, Grand CRU was fourth, followed by Shockwave in fifth and Genie in sixth. Rangatira was seventh and an unfortunate pole-snapping incident for Charles Bull’s Unruly on the first day saw them in eighth place overall.