Light condiditons and some top contenders blacked flagged on opening day of J/24 Europeans 26/9/06

Day one of the Dubarry J/24 Europeans saw the successful completion of three races in light and sunny conditions yesterday in Poole Harbour. The postponed first race started after early morning fog had cleared and the wind had settled down. By 1200, there was a flat sea and a gentle south-westerly breeze of about 6-8 knots.

The fleet got off to a clean start with an individual recall only. Ian Southworth in Hedgehog led at the windward mark, followed by a local Westerley J, ‘Speedy Bean’ helmed by John Dowty. Jon Powell in Peggy was third and Serco Defence and Stouche fourth and fifth. By the second rounding of the windward mark Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson in Volvo was fifth. Stuart Jardine in Stouche was OCS, and having not heard this on his radio, did not return. The finish saw Southworth first, Powell second and local boat ‘Jam’ third.

Race 2 did not start until after 1500 with several general recalls and the race officer, Brian Drake coping admirably with shifty and tricky conditions. 15 boats were black-flagged including; Southworth, National Champion David Ellis, Robertson, Ben Williamson in ‘Rumble’ and several European competitors.The newly slimmed down fleet had a close race in an increasing breeze, and was led at the finish by Serco, followed by Jam Two and Team Gul.

The conditions were now perfect; a south-westerly Force 3 -4, bright sun and a flat sea, and despite it being after 1600, the Race Committee made the most of the great conditions and the fleet sailed a third race. This time only three boats were disqualified at the black flag. These were Robertson, Jspot from Holland and Superliga from Sweden. Local westerly ‘Speedy Bean’ again excelled and led at the windward mark, followed by ‘Hedgehog’ and Cerco. At the finish Hedgehog won followed by Cerco and Speedy Bean in third place.

The second day’s racing today will start with several eminent sailors having to sail without discards, and with Serco, Team Gul, local Poole sailors Duncan McCarthy and John Dowty, and ‘Rotoman’ from Germany as the top five boats.

Results (after three races)
1st Serco Defence – Bob Turner
2nd Team Gul
3rd Duncan McCarthy
4th Speedy Bean – John Dowty