Competitors enjoy warmer conditions for the third weekend of Raymarine Warsash Spring Series

In contrast to Week 2 of the Raymarine Warsash Spring Series, there were no sunny blue skies to greet competitors for Week 3. Instead, there were leaden clouds with a persistent drizzle which obscured large parts of the Solent and penetrated everywhere on Sunday. On the positive side, the temperature was considerably less Arctic, in a lower than forecast breeze coming from the south-west which was due to move southerly and rise by the afternoon.

After a brief postponement to adjust the start line, IRC1 was then subject to a general recall and sent to the back of the sequence, leaving IRC2 the first away. Here boats jostled at the pin attempting to dip back but again over accelerating whilst being too close. This resulted in seven boats marked as over the line. By Air Canada, the first windward mark, Ian MacLean’s Ker 36 Software Mistress” had a small lead, which she kept on the run to Fastnet Insurance off Lee-on-Solent and extended to take line honours. Jack Pringle’s IMX-40 “Mankie” had trouble hoisting her foresail at the end of leg two but nonetheless was second to cross the line, only to discover she was one of the early starters.

This left “Cool Runnings” to claim a second place and a three point series lead at the halfway stage. In IRC3 “Flair IV” showed the fleet that starting at the committee boat end was the right choice. She had total command of the first beat and finished minutes ahead of this closely fought class on corrected time. In IRC4 Ian Dawson continued to demonstrate the performance which won him the Raymarine Trophy in 2005 with a perfect score of three first places.

The combined J/109 and Bowsprit class got clean away and for the first time in the series, the J/105 “Java” was not the fastest round the course. Nigel Brooke’s “Jalapeno” had an early lead until the second run, when “Zelda” (Mike Ewart Smith and Ben Richards) broke away on the opposite gybe from the rest of the fleet to take the lead and a win by over four minutes. “Jalapeno” managed to retain second place, but by a slender two seconds from Mike and Sarah Willis in “Jahmali”.

On the sportboat course, the Laser SB3s had problems starting the first race and, even under the black flag rule, one boat was excluded. Mike Budd helming “Gul” was being hotly pursued by Ben Duke at the start of the final leg. But then “WKD” found a hole in the wind allowing seven boats to sail over Duke. Things were tight in the afternoon race when Mike Budd won again but with Matt Glasgow, Phil French and Simon Hunter second, only three seconds adrift in “Small but Steamy” with Ben Duke in third place. A consistent run by any one of five crews in the second half of the series could give them the title. In the other main class, the Hunter 707s saw the same podium places for both races.

April brings with it the first of the Big Boat Series on Saturday 1 April. These competitors will join the rest of the Raymarine Warsash Spring Series the following day, enjoying two races with IRC1 – even more opportunities to collect the Champagne provided for class winners each week.