By Dave Swete
The season was kicked off by three very tightly fought races out of Warsash Sailing Club last Sunday between 17 boats, following Storm Hannah blowing off all racing on the Solent on Saturday.
The race committee lead by Peter Bateson, made a strong ‘early’ call on Friday night to can all racing on Saturday and let everyone have a day with their friends and families. Peter and his team also agreed to run an extra race solely for the P40’s on Sunday; a race that would prove decisive in securing Juno’s first P40 Regatta win… by a mere seven seconds.
A slightly earlier start and a few headaches on the dock couldn’t stop 17 eager crews from getting out on the water for what proved to be an awesome day of sailing.
For Race One the crews were greeted with 18 knots and it was Nifty that came storming out of the blocks to take a dominant 34-second victory over the ever consistent Sailplane. Nifty sent out an early warning that she may have rediscovered the form she had early on last season, while fellow King 40 and close rival Cobra rounded out the podium. Just how close P40 racing is can be highlighted by positions 4,5,6 and 7 in Juno, Rumbleflurg, La Reponse and Sunrise being spread over just 12 seconds.
Race Two saw the breeze drop dramatically for the first beat to windward. In a very tactical affair, the J111’s came to the fore, with Tony Mack’s McFly taking the victory over fellow J boat (J122E) Juno, again by the narrowest of margins (seven seconds). Andrew McIrvine’s La Reponse took 3rd position in this race, while a battle seemed to be brewing between the Admiral and Rob Bottomley’s Sailplane.
Surprisingly, the breeze built back to 18 knots for Race Three. With the start line to ourselves and several boats vying for the podium, the scene was set for an epic showdown. Cobra got the early march on the fleet and never looked back, clearly starting to hit her straps, while a good battle was shaping up behind her. Unfortunately for Rumbleflurg, one of the boats very much involved in this battle, they had a ‘Person Overboard’ incident on the final beat to the finish and had to retire from Race Three. Ian Schenkel from Rumbleflurg, however, has warned that they will be backfiring for Vice Admirals Cup (VAC) next weekend and with ‘new fruit’ coming from North Sails, he assures that the afterburners will be on. In the end, it was Juno that took the second position off third-placed Nifty, essentially sealing the overall win by the aforementioned margin of just seven seconds… super close racing and a massive congratulations to Toff and his Team on Juno.
Juno placed second in IRC2 at Cowes Week last year and have been putting in the practice pre-season with the goal of being at the pointy end of the fleet, this clearly seems to be paying off.
So 17 boats came out to play on Sunday which was fantastic. We had 3 different race winners, a new event winner and some of the closest racing seen in a long time out on the Solent… also not a single protest which is great!
Looking forward to the VAC, a reminder to all that this is only a two-day event for the P40s! There are currently nine boats entered (J111’s currently have their own class). RORC are accepting late entries for this so please do get involved.