Breezes make life tough again in Spring Series

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teacher - Mathematics teacher, Margaret Bruce, ditches life at school to sail with the men on aboard the Noryema in the Admiral's Cup race series

THIS WEEK IN 1975: Mathematics teacher the only British female in a man’s world

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Light and variable winds can always throw something different into the yacht racing mix, and so it proved during another challenging weekend out on the Solent.

For the third week running, Warsash Spring Series competitors had to contend with shifty breezes that only occasionally broke the double-figure barrier.

In these conditions, a comeback is always on the cards, while the smaller yachts know they have a real chance against their larger rivals who cannot hit the speed needed to save their handicap position.

In IRC2, Phillipe Falle’s Visit Malta Puma won the Comeback King award after being OCS and having to restart.

Finding clear air at the back of the class, she went around the windward mark in third place and – on a course that was shortened – was first to cross the finish line. Visit Malta Puma’s heroics weren’t quite enough to earn her a win on handicap, which went to the lower rated First 40.7 Encore.

In similar fashion in IRC1, Mark Devereux – in the Swan 42 Brevity – was close enough behind Niklas Zennstrom’s higher-rated Farr 45 Ran to take the class win on corrected time.

By way of contrast, however, there was a runaway winner in IRC3, where Stiletto rounded the windward mark with a one-boat-length lead and then pulled steadily away to win by over five minutes. Second to fifth then finished within 13 seconds of each other.

At the halfway point in the series, Stiletto – clearly a class act – has four points with her nearest rivals Jika-Jika and Blackjack level on 20.

The top five boats in IRC4 raced nip and tuck for most of the course before Erik the Red (Bernard Fyans) managed to pull out a small lead over sistership Hobby Horse on the last reach.

Me Julie (Dom Monkhouse) led up the first leg in the J/109s but then fell back into the pack letting Jahmali through to record their first win of the series by a comfortable margin.

If the Black Group classes faced some difficult starts, the sports boats in the White Group off Hill Head had shifts in spades but still got most of their planned starts.

After three weeks in the Laser SB3 class, Joe Llewellyn has a four-point lead over world champion Jerry Hill (3 Sad Old Blokes) with the next three places going to the top women helms – Jo Lloyd, Sarah Allen and Ann Jackson.

In the J/80s, Stewart Hawthorn (Jumping Jenga) has a three-point advantage over Patrick Liardet (Aqua-J), while Dan Brown (Henri Lloyd Shockwave) is one point ahead of Terry Palmer (Just Do It).