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Royal Southern May14_750_1
Michael Austen

ROYAL SOUTHERN SUMMER SERIES

Report by Phil Riley
22/5/2014

Any frustration amongst competitors with the enforced delays at the start of the Royal Southern Yacht Club's Harken May Regatta on Saturday (17th May), the first in its popular Summer Series, was blown away by the sparkling racing served up on Sunday.

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Saturday's sunny but light and fickle conditions saw a three hour postponement and, even later in the day, race officers were obliged to shorten course on a number of occasions. Day two, however, provided more sunshine and a steady racing breeze of around 15 knots that, for once, deserved the description of 'champagne sailing'.

There was hot competition among several classes, none more so than in the burgeoning J70 fleet which is preparing for its Nationals next weekend and looking ahead to July's J-Cup which the Royal Southern is hosting. 

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Victory went to Just4Play, helmed by J70 fleet captain Simon Cavey. 'We are just chuffed to bits,' he said.  'The whole of the racing was fantastic - to have seven or eight J70s in the fleet is really, really good.

'We didn't get off the start line well on Saturday, so we had lots of practice working our way back through the fleet but we didn't get great results. On Sunday though we started brilliantly and had some really good boat speed and managed to get three bullets, so naturally we are delighted. It was just champagne sailing and couldn't have been any better.' 

Cavey paid tribute to his tactician Holly Scott, the 2007 Mirror world champion saying: 'She was spot on and just told me where to go, which is just perfect.'

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Just4Play's 5-3-1-1-1 scoreline saw them secure a four point winning margin over Paul and Marie-Claude Heys' Joseph's Coat, who held off Charlie Esse's Baby J by a single point. Both boats took a win on the opening day.

The tightest finish in the regatta came in IRC3 where Adam and Nick Munday's Indulgence (1-2-1-4) held off Annie Kelly's Blackjack II (2-1-2-5), a single point separating the two J97s. Nigel Goodhew's Sigma 38 OOD Persephone took the final podium place. 

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There was a similar situation in the XODs, with Hamish Calder's Leading Wind (2-1-1-2-4) just shading Peter Nicholson's Sunshine (4-2-2-1-2), with Diana Wilson's Mischief two points further back.

It was also a close run affair among the J109 fleet, with Mike Wallis' Jahmali quick out of the blocks with three consecutive bullets followed by two second places.

'Saturday's lighter wind conditions suited us a little bit more, and it was our first time out on Jahmali this season as well,' he said. 'We were very, very rusty, though the rust is slowly disappearing.

'We'll be back for the J-Cup and all the other summer regattas - we quite fancy the idea of Barbados (a holiday trip to the Caribbean island is the prize for the overall summer regattas winner), mind you it's like Barbados here today,' he added.

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Jahmali had to fend off a hard-charging Tigh Soluis to take the class by just two points. TS skipper Richard Hinde-Smith said: 'Everything was good and great fun with some really close racing. We found our gears and disappeared in the final two races. It was one of those days when you think it should be the middle of August. It's been a bit of a contrast compared to earlier regattas when it was blowing old boots.'

In IRC1 the striking looking GP42 Tokoloshe II looked to have a fight on its hands against its old adversary Anthony O'Leary, this weekend at the helm of the Kerr 40 Catapult which will form part of the Irish Commodore's Cup team this year.

Catapult won the first race by just 23 seconds on corrected time before Tokoloshe bounced back with two bullets in Sunday's bigger breeze.

'We didn't get the start right in the first race and didn't get the chance to come back from that as we had to go round the outside,' said Tokoloshe skipper Dave Bartholomew, who welcomed the improved conditions on Sunday.

'It's always a winner when you can sail in 10 to 15 knots and sunshine in The Solent. It was just perfect and made for fun sailing. Maybe our two days of sunshine quota have been used up for the year!

'It's a really good event - we push ourselves round the course and try to get better. We are still learning lots, still making lots of mistakes and breaking things, but less and less as we go on.'

IRC2, IRC 4 and the 1720 class only attracted single entries with, respectively, Stilletto, Bad Toad and Midnight Cowboy taking the honours. 

Tom Clay's Whyaduck won the SB20 class thanks to three bullets on Sunday, while a similar scoreline saw Patrick Liardet's Aqua J top the J80 tree. Paul Waxman won the Cruiser class at the helm of Imperator.

The full results list is published here

The next installment in the Royal Southern's Summer Series is the ever-popular Mount Gay Rum June Regatta held over the weekend of 7-8 June.

ENDS

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