Moon and tide make for tough tactical battle

Close start among yachts in IRC3 Picture: Eddie Mays
Close start among yachts in IRC3 Picture: Eddie Mays
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The huge moon so apparent over the past week produced some challenging conditions for navigators and tacticians in the Warsash Spring Series.

While a team from the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble claimed new ‘land’ off the Shingles bank – exposed by the moon-induced lowest tide of the year – racers in the second Spring Series event had to contend with a powerful west-going tide.

In particular, the increasing weather-going tide presented tacticians with a problem timing runs into the start line in eight to nine knots of breeze.

In IRC2, Sailing Logic’s two Reflex 38s were on course side (OCS) when the gun went and had to return to recross.

Two First 40.7s led the way, with Trustmarque Playing Around the eventual winner and Mike Moxley’s much-lower rated HOD35 Malice in third.

At the leeward mark, Fastnet Insurance, the tide was much stronger than many anticipated.

Those who ran down from the top mark in the main channel on port tack had difficulty in judging the layline when they gybed onto starboard.

Those who had come across towards the mainland shore first had a much easier life.

In IRC3, X-Yachts and Stiletto gained a good lead to finish first and second respectively, with Jika-Jika third.

IRC1 got off to a clean start and the two Farr 45s Ran and Kolga again led the led the way, but Mark Devereux’s Club Swan 42 Brevity kept in touch and by the finish at Hill Head was close enough to split them on handicap.

Among the J/109s, Matthew Boyle’s Shiva chose the committee boat end to take an early lead on the beat.

The fleet rounded Royal London nose to tail by the time Fastnet Insurance had been reached Dom Monkhouse (Me Julie) had sneaked a short lead from Shiva.

These two extended their lead but on the last beat, Shiva slipped ahead while Me Julie fell into the clutches of J/Dream, Offbeat and Jahmali to finish fifth.

In IRC4 – on a separate start line off the Meon shore – the Mustang 30s Erik the Red and Hobby Horse had a private battle around the course, allowing the Sigma 33 Prospero of Hamble to creep up.

Hobby Horse proved the eventual winner, with Prospero 28 seconds adrift. Erik the Red sailed a different course down the last run and dropped to fourth on handicap.

Last week in the J80s, the RAF team on Spitfire was all-conquering, but they struggled to find the same form.

Their scoreline of 5,5,3 just keeps them at the top of the table but challenged by Aqua-J who took one race, with Just Do It and Jumping Jenga the others.

At times it was hard going for the Laser SB3s. There was a general recall in the first race, with Joe Llewellyn eventually taking the gun from Jerry Hill’s 3 Sad Old Blokes with Jo Lloyd helming Robina into third place.

Andrew Oddie, out for the first time in the series, had good speed to take the second race, and Llewellyn added another win to his tally, extending his overall lead by five points.