Round 4 of the UK 18foot Skiff Grand Prix took place last weekend at Calshot
Round 4 of the UK 18foot Skiff Grand Prix, hosted by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, took place at Calshot on the Solent in near perfect conditions – on both days the breeze and sun played ball and six competitive races were run over the weekend.
On the first day, the sea breeze built from 8-9 knots up to a healthy 12-13 knots with No1 rigs the order of the day. Base One started off where they’d left off in the last round with a win, with Hermes and Radii just a few seconds behind – close racing with only one or two minutes separating the top five or six boats was the order of the day. Radii then got on form with two race wins to lead from Hermes who consolidated their day’s scores with a second and a third. Link Associates with their repaired rig got the rig tuned up quickly and were back on the pace with a second place.
Day two bought a fresh breeze from the south-east, top end of the No1 rigs. With the usual a mass of Sunday sailors, together with teams out practicing for Cowes week next week, a confused Solent chop was the order of the day with plenty of wave jumping practice for the skiffs. Radii got out of the blocks best in the first race and led from start to finish. Ever-improving Henri-Lloyd put in a great performance with a second with Hermes just behind. Radii then consolidated their lead and took the series with a race to spare by finishing second in the last race, never falling out of the top three in any race. Hermes took the race with Henri-Lloyd, Base One and Link Associates battling for third.
The last race Hermes had to ensure Henri-Lloyd did not win to keep their second place overall, but didn’t help their cause when they got barged out of the last start and ended up last at the top mark. A further capsize compounded their position and they retired having to watch for the sidelines as the rest of the fleet battled it out. Having stopped Hermes barging in at the committee boat end, Base One got off to the best start and led for the first couple of rounds. Radii and Henri-Lloyd were then battling for second when unusually Radii stuck their nose in downwind and capsized at the leeward mark. This let Henri-Lloyd through to chase down Base One. But it was too little too late, and Base One held on to the finish.
The final round of the Grand Prix in Weymouth in September is now tightly poised with any one of three Skiffs up for the series trophy.
1st Radii Andy Richards, Andy Fairley, Dave Richards 8 pts
2nd Hermes Ed Browne, Mark Tait, Lachlan Torrance 10pts
3rd Base 1 Neal Fitzgerald/Rob Dulson, Paul Constable, Drum Sydenham 13pts
4th Henri-Lloyd Peter Barton, Martin Borrett, Ian Mitchell/Johny Meers 13pts