Over 80 yachts turned out for the start of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge yesterday

Collecting Easter egg prizes for third in IRC 1, crew member Charlie on Fastwave II’s, the First 40.7, summed up racing on day one of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge: “Gorgeous weather, good wind and a lot of fun on the water.”

Like many of the other 81 boats out on the race track yesterday in the Central Solent, he also said: “This is our first race of the year and we are just working it up and looking forward to a good offshore season and to taking part in the Rolex Fastnet later in the summer.”

RORC Chief Race Officer, Jamie Wilkinson said: “We had lots of breeze out there today. We took the fleet up onto the Hill Head plateau to try to get over the tide otherwise it would have totally dominated the race. It still did to a significant extent, so the fleet had to be very aware of the tide. It wasn’t easy conditions as there were some quite big wind shifts. It was fairly dramatic with a definite wind bend. With the first race starting at 1400, it was a bit hectic trying to complete two races for all the classes and to get everyone back into the marina by 6pm for the debrief and prizegiving. All in all, I am very pleased with the courses set and with a very good day’s racing.”

The races saw mostly clear starts and as confirmed in Jim Saltonstall’s post race debrief video footage, many boats in the fleet were perhaps a little too shy of the line. The running commentary procedure tried and tested during last year’s regatta was put into place again today by Jamie, who when asked about the reaction, commented: “One boat waited for me to tell them that they were on or approaching the line and then they backed off and got a perfect start. Most certainly listened and did respond, backing away and keeping themselves clean. Others just lined up and maybe weren’t listening. Some boats turn the commentary on and use it positively. The larger boats and the better boats seem to be listening more as opposed to the tailenders, who didn’t and one or two just misjudged it.”

Glynn Williams, of the Swan 45 Wisc, winners of IRC Super Zero and Zero (SZ and Z) said: “We have been doing the Warsash Spring Series so have been working the boat up a bit and trying to find the right pace and I think we saw a bit of that today. We didn’t have things quite right for the first race and between the races we changed the rig a little bit. These boats although they are Swan’s, perform very much like a Farr 40 and the IC45, which we also have one of. So the way that we set the boat is very similar to that. We tweaked up the rig a little bit and managed to move from a 2nd place in the first race to become a winner in the 2nd race. It was very good. We took part in the Red Funnel Easter Challenge back in 1995 or ’96 and we thought we would do so again because we have a new boat and we wanted to work it up and use it as an opportunity.”

Fair Do’s, John Shepherd’s Kerr 11.3 said: We had a great day. The Red Funnel regatta is a good event. Great fun and with a good bit of coaching. We enjoy the debrief and it shows us how bad we really are and occasionally that we do something right too.”