Royal Southern Yacht Club Summer Series 2011 underway

J80s gybe down towards the mark off Hill Head - RSYC May Regatta 2011
Phil Riley
Royal Southern Summer Series 2011 provides excellent racing in four weekend regattas. Royal Southern Yacht Club May Regatta was held over the weekend of 21st and 22nd May.

What a difference a day makes. Near perfect sailing conditions on Saturday and dogs – as forecast – being blown off their chains on Sunday.

Principal Race Officer Simon Hand held on as long as possible, but after due consultation with race officers Nick Hollamby, Mike Foster and Stuart Childerley, had to bow to the inevitable and call off the second day of racing in the Royal Southern Yacht Club May Regatta.

'We went out there and had a look but didn’t get much further than the mouth of the River Hamble when it became obvious it was blowing pretty hard,' Simon reported, adding that he would only expect to lose a day or two of racing a year to high wind – lack of wind being another matter.

'Bramblemet had it blowing consistently at 27 to 28 knots and gusts well into the 30s, and that’s outside the criteria for running fair, competitive racing round-the-cans.

'The start lines would have been difficult as would the mark roundings, and another criteria is the safety of the committee boat and its crew – if you can’t safely organise the race you can’t really run it,' said Simon.

Fortunate then, that the crews of the 54 yachts taking part in the Regatta enjoyed some sparkling racing on Saturday. The day had dawned with light airs but right on cue a steady 14-15 knot south westerly breeze filled in from the western Solent. A strong flood tide put the onus on accurate laylines at marks.

One skipper happy to have made the two-and-a-half hour trip from his home in Ramsgate was Paul Woodward, whose Farr-designed First 35 Stiletto won IRC2 by a whisker after posting a fifth in race 1 and then winning race 2 to pip Michael Brough’s Steady Barker (3-3).

'We’d hoped to do better in the first race, but we’ve enjoyed racing in the Royal Southern regattas as they are so well run and we get a full weekend of racing,' said Michael.

Matthew’s Boyle’s Shiva took the win in race 1 but dropped out of contention with a 10th in race 2.

For the 14-strong J80 class, the May Regatta was a perfect warm-up for their UK Nationals in Dartmouth early next month, and for class winner Boats.com a final prep for the Worlds in Copenhagen in July.

'Unfortunately we can’t do the Nationals – so this was the last chance for the crew to sail together before then, so we took it quite seriously,' said skipper Ian Atkins after recording a 1-1-4 scoreline.

‘We know this part of the water fairly well… except in the third race when we led around the windward mark but gybed too early. More breeze came in on the other side of the course so we were back in the pack.'

And he added: 'I have to say the courses were extremely well set, the lines were absolutely square and they had taken the trouble to offset the marks to allow for the tidal effect. It was a really well run day and the team did a great job.'

All the other contested classes saw the winning boats marking up a pair of bullets.

Rupert Matthew’s J122 Jinja won IRC1, holding off a challenge from Kenny Bruneflod’s Hurrycane and Mark Chatfield’s Cajou, who were tied in second.

IRC3 was a J97 fest, with Gordon Grant’s Fever dominating ahead of Mike Holmes’ Jika Jika, Richard Watney’s Jeopardy2 and Tony Mac’s McFly, who accounted for the remainder of the podium places between them.

John Allen’s X302 Antix cleaned up in IRC4, while Richard Vanner’s Blanco dominated the nine-strong Contessa 32 fleet.

Lisa Barrow’s New Dawn of Hythe was the sole entrant in Club Class.

Green line:

J80 Class
1. Boats.com
2. Jumpin Jenga
3. Aqua J

Red line:

IRC1
1. Jinja
2. Hurrycane
3. Cajou

IRC2
1. Stiletto
2. Steady Barker
3. Stalker

IRC3
1. Fever
2. Jika Jika
3. Jeopardy2

IRC4
1. Antix
2. Wishful Thinking
3. Imperator

Contessa 32
1. Blanco
2. Equator
3. Drumbeat

Club class
1. New Dawn of Hythe

The second Regatta in the Royal Southern Summer Series takes place 18th to 19th June.

Royal Southern Yacht Club website