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Sunbaked July 'Champagne Charlie' Regatta

Running racing in light winds on the biggest tides of the year meant the weekend was never going to be easy. With water temperature in the Solent now almost 21°c and unbroken sunshine predicted, the met office forecast was for a late start to the sea breeze on Saturday and even lighter winds on Sunday.

Jul 27, 2018

Sun-Baked July ‘Champagne Charlie’ Regatta

Royal Southern Yacht Club

Sponsored by Charles Heidsieck Champagne

14 – 15th July, 2018

Running racing in light winds on the biggest tides of the year meant the weekend was never going to be easy. With water temperature in the Solent now almost 21°c and unbroken sunshine predicted, the met office forecast was for a late start to the sea breeze on Saturday and even lighter winds on Sunday. The PRO, Philip Gage, issued an amendment to add an extra race on the Saturday, in case racing had to be abandoned on Sunday – as indeed turned out to be the case.

The larger keel boats in Black group set off on schedule, with a light south-easterly blowing and the last of the east-going flood adding to the apparent wind. But after the first race was completed, the wind died away as the south-westerly sea breeze started to kick in – but slowly. As it got stronger the race team managed to get in three more races, with the final race being the best conditions of the day.

Jahmali’s crew enjoy the conditions

In IRC Class 1, only two points separated the first three boats with Rob Bottomley’s Sailplane taking the honours, followed by Cobra (Mike Blair & Steve Beckett) and Jahmali, Mike Wallis.

In IRC Class 2, Elaine (Ed Mockridge) finished on top followed by NO RETREAT! (David Riley) and Jiraffe (Simon Perry) .

The winner in IRC Class 3 was Scallion (Martin/Cara Moody/Golden) while in the new HP30 class the French boat Pegasus Dekmarx (Malcolm Wooton) took the honours on count back, as they finished on 5 points along with Toucan (Glyn Locke).

The J/111 fleet class was won by Jelvis (Martin Dent) and Club class was won by Mike Rowlatt in Giuliana.

Over in the White group, mainly smaller yachts, many without engines, the chief race officer Jane Windsor kept them ashore until there was sufficient breeze to get them out to the race course. For the first race a short course was laid in the SE 5 -7 kts breeze. At noon, the starting sequence began and the fleets got away. As the wind began to transition to a SW sea breeze, the race team shortened the Mixed Sportsboats, but had to pull out the abandon flag for the XODs who could no longer make against the tide.

XOD’s and Sportboats mix it at the leeward gate as the breeze freshens at last

After waiting for the SSW zephyr to build into a sailable 6-8kt breeze, a new course was laid straight across the now fast ebbing tide. With a long tidal offset spreader leg and several course moves, the competitors enjoyed two more quick races.

For the fourth and final race of the day, the course was quickly moved again and lengthened as the wind finally built into a brisk SW sea breeze. J/70s and mixed Sportsboat classes were started together for three laps of the course, while XODs were given two laps, which led to an exciting finish with fleets crossing the line together. The race team’s efforts were rewarded by a competitor shouting ‘you nailed it’ as they headed home, smiling.

In the J/70 class, Fiona Hampshire in Elizabeth scored three bullets and a second to take the honours with Graham Clapp in Jeepster taking second and Patrick Liardet in Cosmic third.

David McGregor and his crew of XOD Elizabeth accept their champagne prize from Willem Pinçon of Charles Heidsieck Champagne

In the XOD Central Solent Championships, David McGregor in Athena took first, with Michael O’Donnell in Lightwood second and Peter Baines in Sphex third.

In the mixed sportsboats, Mike Lewis took the honours in his J/80 Jester.

Full details of the results can be found here: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=4691

Cobra’s crew decide there’s more fun to be had in the water than on it

Sunday morning saw another AP for the White Group fleet who were kept ashore, while the Black group boats went out to wait on the race course. However, for the next several hours, the SW breeze stubbornly refused to rise above 2kts, so many crews decided to take advantage of the near record water temperature to go for a swim; until the race officers finally decided to abandon racing for the day and everyone headed home. More thumbs-up from competitors, who were able to enjoy the sunshine on the Royal Southern’s balcony or watch Wimbledon on the large screen TV’s.

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