Fine weather and frisky winds brought thrilling racing to the third round of the Barclays Marine Finance Warsash Spring Series on Sunday, 7 April, with three crew overboard and safely recovered, groundings, a broken rudder and an entanglement with a lobster pot line.
“As far as racing was concerned it was absolutely superb. It could not possibly have been better,” said Philip Gage, Chairman of the Warsash Sailing Club Spring Series and one of the race officers.
Winds of 25-30 knots and a strong tide meant boats had difficulty making a good start and some struggled to get to the line. But it also meant there were no general recalls and no boats over the line. The usual offenders for mass line crossing are the highly competitive Hunter 707s. For the first of their two races of the day the whole fleet was behind the line, but only two of the 30-strong fleet had read the sailing instructions and sailed the correct course.
With the main part of the course in the eastern Solent, boats were peeling out towards Ryde before heading back to the finish in the central Solent. Three Sigma 38s opted to cut corners over the Bramble bank. Beefeater II led the way and stuck fast. She needed help from the lifeboat, but two other boats that followed her on to the bank were luckier. One stuck fast while the third managed to tack away as her keel touched the bottom.
Disaster also hit one of the fastest boats in the fleet, a Kerr 11.3 metre IRM yacht when she ran into a lobster pot line and went from 10 knots to stationary in seconds, before eventually freeing the line from the bulb on her keel.
Red Arrow, the RAF’s Sigma 38 needed help from the committee boat to recover her spinnaker, which was flying from the masthead, with all sheets and guys lost. Red Arrow also lost a crew member overboard, who was quickly recovered. Recovering spinnakers was just one of the problems for the committee boats as they wallowed in the rough waters clocking home over 200 boats on two separate start and finish lines.
One of the smallest boats in the fleet, the 23ft Sonata Cobweb broke her rudder in the tough conditions.
“We were on a reach and all the other boats around us broached,” explained skipper Matt Glasgow, “we stayed upright but with all that force something had to give and the rudder snapped in two.” Glasgow and his crew were able to anchor quickly, and sort themselves out and then get back to Hamble without a rudder.
In the IRM fleet the battle continued between the Farr 40s and the Kerr 11.3 metres. Nicholas Hartshorn’s El Gringo, a Kerr 11.3 metre, took the first race, ahead of I-Site and Assegai. In the second race Assegai, a Farr 40, took revenge coming home first with Fair Do’s and I-Site behind.
In the IRC 2 class the order was the same as the previous week but in IRC 4 Jackie Welch and a crew on Effusion were unable to repeat the previous week’s win and came in second behind David Hart’s Frenesi of Clynder, the winner in the first week.
In the Sports Boat class Philip Cornick in Seeing Red kept ahead of James Ives in Rattle and Hum for both races. While the two main challengers, Robin and Jill Stevenson’s Rustler took third in the first race and Hugh McAdoo’s Tarka edged them out by six seconds on corrected time in the second.
IRM – Race 5
1 GBR1107L EL GRINGO Nicholas Hartshorn
2 GBR1104L I-SITE Grenville Snowdon
3 GBR40 ASSEGAI Chris Hunt/ Leon Christianakis
IRM – Race 6
1 GBR40 ASSEGAI Chris Hunt/ Leon Christianakis
2 GBR1106L FAIR DO’S John Shepherd
3 GBR1104L I-SITE Grenville Snowdon
IRC 1 – Race 3
1 GBR552R TEAM TONIC Nick Hewson
2 GBR1665 DESPERADO Richard Loftus
3 GBR7000 KIRRIBILLI Douglas Flynn
IRC 2 – Race 3
1 GBR6693T FANDANGO David Scanlan
2 GBR2 FASTWAVE II Chris Brown
3 GBR1404R TRIPLE A WITH FLAIR Jim Macgregor