A Mayday and the remnants of a hurricane threatened, but failed, to overshadow what proved to be an exhilarating weekend of racing in the September Regatta, the final Royal Southern Summer Series event of the year.
IRC 3 winner Jika Jika, right, leads the way at the start ahead of her close rival J97 Fever, left. Image: Phil Riley.
The distress call came between Red Line races 1 and 2 on Saturday when a crew member on the J97 InJenious suffered head injuries when he was hit by the boom. The Hamble Lifeboat attended and Ed Morris, 22, was subsequently airlifted to Southampton General Hospital where he was assessed, treated and, thankfully, released later in the day.
Given the initial difficulty the Coastguard helicopter had in finding InJenious, the incident perhaps confirmed to those following events on VHF the importance of yachts being able to indicate their precise position by GPS co-ordinates or smoke flares. The remains of Hurricane Katia, meanwhile, gave race officers pause for thought as it headed across the Atlantic, and may have contributed to a significant number of DNCs across all classes.
As it turned out, only one Green Line race was lost on the Sunday. Race Officer Tony Lovell explained:
“We were debating whether we’d get any racing at all, but we looked at all the weather sites around the Solent and it was 20 to 25 knots, which it was when we got out there.
“It just kept on gusting a little bit more and more and by the end of the second race there had been a lot of wipeouts and it was obvious people were going to be pretty tired, so we canned the last race and soon after started to see 30 to 35 knots. We were surprised to get five races in – and it’s great to see those boats sailing in those conditions.”
J80 class winner Terry Palmer on Just Do It was one competitor who was happy to have been out on The Solent, taking wins in all five races.
“It wasn’t really an easy win; everyone was up there at the first mark in the first race and it was very close,” insisted the Maidenhead-based yachtsman.
“We were just a bit quicker downwind – that’s what we’re good at. We’ve made a lot of effort to be quicker downwind and we’ve made some big gains.
We were surprised to get two races in on the Sunday, and Tony made the right decision to quit when he did. We did 16 to 17 knots downwind in the first race so that was pretty good.”
Just Do It finished nine points clear of Simon Stoodley’s Wairua, who pipped Gordon Craigen’s Swallow by a point.
Mark Stokes’ Eau No! was also a clear winner in the SB3s, a string of wins only marred by a 4th in race 4, ahead of Polar Bear (Timothy Newton) and Chill Pill (Scott Graham).
The J109s finished their series on the Saturday, with Alistair Ray’s Jumunu Four winning the day (2-1-1) ahead of Jahmali (Michael Wallis, 1-4-2) and Jaegerbomb (Paul Griffiths, 3-2-4).
In the IRC classes it was mainly a tale of the three Michaels, with Messrs Bartholomew, Brough and Holmes winning classes 1,2 and 3 respectively.
Mike Bartholomew’s King 40 Tokoloshe took straight wins ahead of Lisa Barrow’s Beneteau 40.7 Rocket Dog (2-3-3-3) and Ivan Trotman’s J122 Jolou (DNF-2-2-2).
Noting that a scheduling clash with the Little Britain Challenge Cup may have siphoned off a number of possible competitors, Mike Bartholomew observed:
“The courses and race management were great, and we really enjoyed the sailing, it was always a challenge. We had about four regular crew missing, but by and large it worked out really well.”
Michael Brough’s Bavaria Match 38 Steady Barker also posted four wins, taking IRC2 ahead of Robbie and Lis Robinson’s Beneteau 35 Hot Rats who pipped the J109 Me’ Julie of Dom Monkhouse for second overall.
‘It’s been pretty breezy and we saw about 30 knots on Sunday, but the boat likes heavy weather so it went very well -we had everything very flat both days and she went like a train,” said Michael Brough.
He also welcomed the decision by Red Line race officer David Arnold to roll classes 1 and 2, and 3 and 4, in together for the final race 4 start.
“It was great. It made a much more interesting start having the two classes combined; a lot more exciting and a lot more tactical. The courses were fantastic, exemplary really. We enjoyed it and we’ll be back next year. It’s a packed weekend and as we live in North Staffordshire, to come down for two full days is really good value for us.”
Mike Holmes, meanwhile, had to work hard in his J97 Jika Jika to win class 3 with a 1-2-1-1 scoreline ahead of near sistership, Gordon Grant’s Fever (3-1-2-2).
“All season we’ve had very close battles with Fever, another J97, and we have to give him a bit of time, so even the race we came second in we beat him over the line, but not by enough,’ said Mike. “In the second race on Sunday we only beat them by a second on corrected time so it was pretty close all the time.”
Annie Kelly’s J92 Blackjack placed third with a 5-4-3-3 scoreline.
In the three-strong IRC Class 4, Timothy Corner’s Beneteau First 36s7 Girolle took the win ahead of David Rickard’s Dehler 29 Trout and Brian Mead’s Westerley Typhoon Wishful Thinking.
1. Just Do It
1. Eau No!
2. Polar Bear
3. Chill Pill
1. Jumunu Four
2. Rocket Dog
1. Steady Barker
2. Hot Rats
1. Jika Jika
3. Wishful Thinking
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