Dave Franzel from the USA takes first race at Sonar Worlds on The Solent

Race one of the Sonar World Championship got underway on The Solent in testing conditions yesterday. Grey skies and a stiff south-westerly greeted the sailors but Ian Lallow, the Principal Race Officer gave them a good, long line, biased to the pin end.

With most of the fleet opting for the pin, it was inevitable that there would be a few caught OCS. GBR 602, El Torro was over and returned, but three boats sailed the race in vain, including Droh Cohen the Israeli Paralympic Gold medallist.

Local boat Bertie started in the middle of the line and tacked to port early, along with top local boat Billy and leading American, Pete Galloway in Fast Forward. When they tacked back, however, they found that the right hadn’t paid.

Others, including the USA sailor Dave Franzel sailing Spring, who started at the pin, headed to the left hand side of the beat and it was these who came out on top as they approached the first mark.

Franzel, coming in on port, tacked right under Skip Shumway’s lee bow and led around the top mark and beat Shumway to the hoist at the spreader mark. In third place, came a Cowes boat, Andy Cassell’s Jenny which was the best of the British at this stage.

With the wind hovering around 20 knots it was a fun ride down the run for most, but not for the crew of Echo who wiped out and laid the boat on its side for quite a long time, making them the latest qualifiers for the Sonar Swimming Club. Other new members of this exclusive club were the crew of Billy, who had an uncharacteristic broach and lost four places.

At the leeward mark, Franzel still held the lead but it was Andy Cassell who grabbed second place, rounding inside Skip Shumway with Graham and Julia Bailey’s We’re Here a close fourth. Behind them, Pete Galloway gained three places after rounding the top mark in tenth, while Billy made it round in eleventh place.

Up the second beat Spring was fast and stayed right of middle with a loose cover on his opponents. Andy Cassell was also going well as the furthest right of the leaders.

As the boats approached the windward mark for the second time the Race Officer signalled a shortened course and it was Franzel’s Spring which led across the line to chalk up the first win of the series.

In second place came We’re Here which just beat Jenny to the line by inches, with Skip Shumway crossing fourth, only to discover he had been OCS at the start. Other premature starters were Steve Shepstone’s Nefarious and Droh Cohen’s Shellie. Pete Galloway made a good recovery to end up fourth while Billy climbed to sixth.