Storm Hannah put pay to Saturdays racing in the Spring Championships. The Friday evening decision by the race committee was received by many as they began their preparations for the weekend in the pub. The sudden removal of the need to make an early start triggered a reaction that left many using the unexpected lay day to nurse their hangovers.
But once Hannah had wreaked her havoc and moved on, Sunday promised perfect sailing conditions for the last two races of both the Series and the Championships.
Jiraffe ended the last weekend ahead in the Championships by 4 points from Jago, who in turn were just 1 point ahead of Jumping Jellyfish, so with two races to go, there was a lot at stake.
With the wind in the West, still teasing 18 kts, and the tide under the fleet, IRC 1 had a couple of attempts at getting cleanly off the line, whose bias was shifting from boat to pin and back with the wind. The J/109s in IRC 2 got away cleanly and it was the group at the port end, Jumping Jellyfish and Designstar 2, who gained the initial advantage. They consolidated this by staying resolutely out to the left of the course, extending their lead on Jiraffe who had started more middle of the line and tacked onto port to take advantage or a shift to the left. At the windward Mark Jellyfish led, followed by Designstar, then Jiraffe with Jukebox and Jago following behind. These positions remained around the first lap with the fleet spreading and Jellyfish consolidating a solid lead. But behind them, Jiraffe had closed up on Designstar on the first leg of the final run and as the fleet hardened up around the penultimate mark, Jiraffe was able to claw past them to windward with both boats on the edge of holding the kites. The end result, a solid first for Jellyfish, followed by Jiraffe, then Designstar.
By the time the fleet lined up for the second race, all signs of Hannah had disappeared and most had stuffed their J3’s below in favour of something with a little more grunt. This time Jiraffe made the best of the mid-line start, hitting the line on time at speed with gaps below and above. As she continued out to the left, Jiraffe enjoyed the rare (and only momentary) pleasure of crossing ahead of the two 112Es, Xanaboo and Devanti Tyres.
But as Jiraffe returned after almost hitting the left hand lay line, Jellyfish was spotted against the Hill Head shore having done the exact opposite out to the right hand side of the course. It’s hard to spot who’s ahead at this distance and there were some tense moments aboard Jiraffe as the two boats closed on each other. Jago was closer to Jellyfishes line and gave the game away by crossing just ahead and it was soon clear that Jiraffe was also comfortably ahead of both of her closest competitors.
So, first accolades of the season go to Jiraffe; winning the Championships by 5 points from Jumping Jellyfish, who in turn finished 4 points ahead of Jago, and winning the series ahead of Jybe Talkin’, then Jukebox. But with no official prizes for the J/109s as they did not enter in sufficient numbers to justify our own start, the winners will have to await the end of season class prize giving to receive their spoils. 9 boats participated through the various races of the series and Championships and it will be a great spectacle when we can get everybody out at the same time for the same event.
Many thanks to Warsash SC for organising a great event and for extracting our one design results. Fortunately, the fleet will be represented at the prizegiving as Jiraffe and Jago both managed to muscle in on the IRC 2 podium, Jiraffe taking a second in the Championships just ahead of Jago, and second again in the Series, beaten in each case by the J/112Es of Xanaboo in the Championships and Devanti Tyres in the Series.