Peter Harrison's Farr 52 Chernikeeff 2 has won the IRM national championship beating Fair Do's by 10 points

Peter Harrison’s Farr 52 Chernikeeff 2 proved to be already in good shape for this summer’s Admiral’s Cup as its core crew put together an impressively slick performance during three days of close racing over a reasonably broad range of weather conditions on the Solent to win the IRM National Championship title.

At the heart of the team there may be a core of sailors from Harrison’s GBR Challenge America’s Cup team, including Ian Budgen steering and Richard Sydenham and Jules Salter sharing out the tacticians duties over the three days, but Chernikeeff appeared to have benefited from the winter work done to her foils, and had no shortage of speed as she composed a ten points winning margin over John Shepherd’s Fair Do’s which was the best of the Ker 11.3s, ably steered by Quantum’s Dave Lenz. Chernikeeff’s tally for what skipper Marc Fitzgerald described as ‘a good, enjoyable, busy regatta with plenty of racing’ was 1-1-8-1-4-1. They were only beaten twice on the water by Kit Hobday and Tim Louis’ identical ’52 Bear of Britain which took third.

With 15 boats on the start line and the duels and tussles down through the fleet proving invigorating, perhaps what makes IRM racing special is that the margins were usually small and it was the best sailed of each of the different size bands which made it into the top five overall, as Chris Little’s IC 45 Bounder, with Sobstad’s Jeremy Robinson steering most of the time taking fourth and getting the better of Glyn Williams’ IC 45 Wolf, and David Murrin’s Farr 40 2XL fifth.

There was no shortage of drama over the weekend. Racing in the Eastern Solent, Saturday’s two races were sailed in unsettled South-westerly breezes with big windshifts, while Sunday’s highlights included dramatic line squalls – with the malicious gusts coming through at over 20 knots – which decimated a few lightweight kites more suited to the otherwise light breezes.

The reward came today though with perfect racing conditions: a settled westerly breeze which rose from an initial 5-8 knots over the course of the two final races of the series.

Provisional Results:

1 Farr 52, Chernikeef 2 (Peter Harrison) 9pts

2 Ker 11.3, Fair Do’s (J Shepherd) 19pts

3 Farr 52, Bear of Britain (T Louis/T Louis) 21pts

4 IC 45, Bounder (C Little) 25pts

5 2XL (D Murrin