Solent Series 2009 – Event 1 RSrnYC May 9-10
After more than six months break since the World Championships, SB3 class racing resumed over the weekend with a solid representation of the UK fleet totalling 47 boats plus two South African teams bucking the effects of the recession.
Mother nature mostly played her part delivering mild conditions but primarily light airs over the course of the weekend, the major challenge, however, was delivered by the thrust of Spring Tides.
Following 20kts plus from the South West on Friday evening, Saturday dawned calm, by the time racing got under way flow had returned with 8kts of South combined with the first of the Ebb tide.
The still cold water and flow off the Isle of Wight caused some instability throughout the day with the first major gain by class newcomer Adam Hoad-Reddick on the first run of the day, initially staying high then choosing some great lanes to progress from 6th to 1st, then handing on to win from Gill Race Team (Craig Burlton) and 3 Sad Old Blokes (Jerry Hill).
Races two and three were both won by Jerry Hill in relative comfort after jumping out of both starts clearly advanced on his nearest rivals. Amongst the fleet plenty of tense words were exchanging particularly at the windward marks with a number of port tack junkies working the Ebb beyond reasons and an unfortunately high number of incidents resulting.
Chris Jennings (Selden) showed form despite being well under the weight limit, using downwind pace to good effect with results including 2, 5 and 2 during the course of the day’s racing. 2008 World Champion Geoff Carveth (Cre8tivity) was also in the frame scoring 3, 4 and 1 after a relatively poor first race result of 15th – getting well clear in the last race to win by a large margin. Gill Race Team struggled to get clear in any of the remaining races and was largely stuck in the pack – victim of a number of windward mark port tack incidents and witness to several more.
Day two again dawned calm with the prospect of 5-8 knots from the East fulfilled after a short delay. Whilst the breeze didn’t disappoint in terms of strength, direction was far from stable moving through 100 degrees during the course of racing. As a result the corners paid heavily with those taking a more conservative approach out of the running.
Geoff Carveth picked up where he left off on Saturday winning Sunday’s first race from Mike Budd (Zimmer). The final heat was an arduous affair with the left paying big dividends on the first beat and similarly again on the second. A sea breeze effect began taking over as the race neared completion and finally swung right – significantly enough to turn the results at the head of the fleet inside out with Jerry Hill taking the lead in the final 100 yards from Mike Budd and Geoff Carveth in third.
Geoff’s final day results were enough to overhaul Jerry Hill while two second places followed a recent half century for Mike Budd, seeing ‘Zimmer’ collecting third place from Gill Race Team and Ferret Racing (Jez Entwhistle) in fifth.
The first event of the year was certainly notable for some ghastly windward mark behaviour – we all know what Didier Drogba would have said – notable beyond the behaviour itself was the lack of presence at the top end of results by the offenders. The fleet is tight in more than one dimension and those that offend will not only carry resulting marks on their boats.
Unusually, despite the spring tides less than a handful of boats were black flagged over the weekend, one might think there is a very limited chance that trend will continue and the PROs in Brest and Seaview will likely receive a more eager fleet.