The weather gods
smiled on the Royal Southern Yacht Club's
opening Summer Series event, with the Harken May
Regatta happily coinciding with Caribbean
conditions; bringing bright sunshine and a
respectable sailing wind, which attracted over
70 competing boats.
|The racing had
extra spice as Saturday formed the first of a
six-part programme constituting the IRC Solent
Region Championship 2016, while the whole
regatta was part of selection trials for the RYA
began with delayed starts thanks to an initially
light and variable Solent breeze which could not
compete with a robust Spring tide. Thankfully
the wind soon settled down to a reliable 15
knots which allowed a full programme of races.
|On the Black
Line, IRC1 saw three winners from three starts,
with Alice (Simon Henning), La Reponse (Andrew
McIrvine) and Cobra (Michael Blair) sharing the
IRC2, meanwhile, demonstrated you don't always
have win it to be in it as Phil Elford's Bengal
Magic led the class by virtue of three second
places ahead of race winners Xcitable and
Jiraffe, the latter's two bullets offset by a
Blackjack II took a firm grip on IRC3 with three
straight wins, followed home in each race by
Richard Sparrow's Only Magic.
Polly (Ben Meakins) emerged as the early leader
in IRC4, two wins helping to secure a single
point advantage over Crackajax (Richard and
|Over on White
Line the ever-competitive J70 class saw Allan
Higgs' ESF Energy take two wins and the class
lead ahead of Patrick Liardet's Cosmic.
Hamish Wilson's Mischief took a clean sweep of
first places in the XODs on Saturday.
|Sunday proved to
be a classic late Spring day with - vitally - a
steady and stable breeze that allowed race
officers to complete a full sailing programme.
As per the race instructions this triggered a
single race discard - a relief for a number of
|One to see an
abrupt reversal of fortune was Michael Blair's
Cobra, which was able to ditch a 13th from Race
1. A win and a succession of podiums saw the
Mills 40 take Class 1 by three points from
fellow Cowes-based yacht La Reponse with Alice
coming third overall.
Also benefitting from the discard was Michael
Lewis' Jester, which took the Mixed Sportsboat
class with five bullets to count after dropping
an atypical eighth place.
|In Class 2
Bengal Magic threw-off her runner-up tag with
three straight bullets for a comfortable overall
victory ahead of Jiraffe and Xcitable, who were
tied on points with the J-boat getting the nod
thanks to Saturday's two wins.
|Class 3 was
dominated by Blackjack II which added a further
three wins on Sunday to complete a clean sweep.
'It was a great weekend for us - we got the
boat going well and we didn't make any mistakes,'
said Blackjack's Andy Howe.
'It was exactly our conditions and everyone
performed. As for the weather it could have been
a different country, and the windward-leeward
courses we were given were ideal.'
|ESF Energy also
carried on as they finished on Saturday, posting
another first and two seconds to take the J70
class after seeing off a determined challenge
'It is always competitive racing in the J/70s
and we had a really great weekend,' said ESF
skipper Higgs. 'Jalapeno were coming on very
strong and the guys on Cosmic kept us honest all
through the weekend.'
The ESF team are gearing up for the J70
Europeans followed by the Worlds in San
Francisco, but calendar commitments permitting
will be back in the Summer Series later in the
|In Class 4 Polly
continued her strong weekend with another two
wins and a second to finish comfortably ahead of
Olly Bewes and George Beevor's Magic and Pete
Rouse's Voodoo, Crackajax taking a day off.
Cruiser Class saw victory for the Six-metre
Erica, which was on her first racing weekend.
'It was our first time out and a great work-up
opportunity to see how the boat works,' said
mainsheet man and tactician Charlie Hatfield.
'The Southern was very accommodating to have us
in the fleet and it was a great opportunity for
us to work the boat up for other regattas
through the summer.'
Mischief, meanwhile, added a first and a second
- trading places with Andy Hamlett's Satu - to
take the XOD class.
|The next Royal
Southern Yacht Club Summer Series event is the
June Regatta over the weekend of June 18 and
19, sponsored by North Sails and Aston Martin
with the Saturday evening party sponsored by
Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
The overall Summer Series is also sponsored by
BTM Inc, which this year will present a Champion
of Champions Trophy in addition to its usual
prize of flights and hotel accommodation for two
on the island during Barbados Week in January