Day 3: A cracker of an event
The International Paint Poole Regatta fleet of 140 boats has enjoyed fantastic and varied conditions over the course of the late May Bank Holiday. Starting with light winds on Friday, the sparkling conditions on Saturday with wall to wall sunshine and a 10-15 knot breeze, and concluding with 15-20 knot winds on the Monday.
Racing was divided up on to five race courses, with the multihulls, IRC, J/24 nationals spaced along the Bournemouth beach front, the Flying Fifteens, XOD, Shrimpers and VPRS classes in Studland Bay and the Bembridge Redwing and 2.4m classes within Poole harbour.
The multihull course included five Diam 24OD trimarans, which are a hugely popular class over in France and used for the Tour de France a la Voile. They provide exciting, affordable high performance trimaran racing on a relatively stable and robust platform. Within the Diam fleet were Team Concise, who brought their boat back to the UK after the Caribbean season, and also Mike Golding, a veteran of the Extreme 40 circuit, who enjoyed his first weekend in the class. Plans are afoot to now try and grow this class in the UK. Mike Golding won the class with some impressive use of the shifts and gusts on the final day.
In the MOCRA multihulls Matt Baker’s Grainger 075 Tri ‘Wombat’ pipped the Simon Baker’s Dazcat ‘Hissy Fit’.
In IRC1 Jim Macgregor’s Elan 410 ‘Premier Flair’ wrapped up the win with a six bulllets in the 8 race series. At the prize giving Jim said, “It has been an amazing weekend. Peter Saxton and his team have done a great job in running our racing which, with the offshore wind, was very tricky. The beats were beats and the runs were runs and he even offset the windward mark for the tide. Fantastic competition – there was another Elan 410 so we always had to watch out for that and there were a bunch of boys and girls on a Ker 32 which was always snapping at our heels – their crew included Ben Saxton who I know very well and Christian Birrell on the helm sailed with very good humour. Overall the event was superb. Poole Bay provides the best sailing waters and having a ferry to take people from club to club means we don’t have to drive and a lot of the lads can stay on the boats – it a nice social and great racing.”
IRC2 couldn’t have been closer with Martin Pearson’s ‘Ruthless’ pipping Ian Braham’s ‘Haven K-J Enigma’ after a regatta of two halves for the teams. After a slow start, a string of four wins on the trot gave the ‘Ruthless’ team the win – the two teams had ended up on equal points overall so the final race decided the contest. Ian Braham summed up his final day battle with ‘Ruthless’ by saying, “They needed to win both races to win so we were feeling quite good. They got a bit of a march on us in the first start and of course they covered, as they should do, and won the race. That did create an opportunity for us to do something at the start on the final race because we didn’t need that result, however we decided to go for the win – do it the right way – but we were called over on the start line which was a real surprise. We restarted, fought our way back up the fleet on the first beat and got back into contention but Ruthless were just too far ahead to catch.”
IRC3 saw Quarter Tonners lock out the podium with Sam Laidlaw’s ‘Aguila’ taking the win and also the coveted Canford Cup for boat of the event. The recently rediscovered and bought at auction Canford Cup was originally presented at the Poole Regatta in 1849 and predates the America’s Cup by 2 years.
The Impala class attracted five entries and was convincingly won by Olly Love’s ‘Two Frank’.
The J/24 class National Championship went down to the wire as Duncan McCarthy’s team on ‘Madeleine’ came from behind on the final day to overhaul David Cooper’s team on ‘Jawbreaker’. Duncan said of the final day, “It was close this morning – just a point difference. With a northerly wind we knew it would be very shifty, with boats up and down. We were wondering whether to go for a bit of match racing, but thought we’d try and get a good start and go from there. Just one minute before the start the wind shifted making the pin end favoured so we went for the pin, managed to cross the fleet and played Jawbreaker from there.”
On the International Paint Poole Regatta overall Duncan said, “The racing has been fantastic, not only within the J/24 fleet but throughout the 140 boat fleet the atmosphere has been great. The clubs have had really sociable evenings which we all feel is part of it – it’s not just the racing. It’s been great for the area.”
In the Flying Fifteen class Bob Alexander & Huw Willetts had a great event to win overall. Bob said about the racing, “It’s been really good, we’ve had all sorts of conditions and the competition has been really good. The Flying Fifteen is a cracking fleet with some good people in it, including some world champions, and it has kept everybody on their toes. Everybody all the way through the fleet has had some good racing.”
On their final day battle with Crispin Read-Wilson, Bob said “It was absolutely nip and tuck, never more than a few boat lengths in it. To get the upper hand on an ex-world champion is really quite pleasing, but don’t tell him that!”
Huw Willetts talked about the importance of the regatta, “Parkstone has one of the largest Flying Fifteen fleets in the world and it’s very competitive, so to be able to have 15 boats out in an event like this is very good, not only for the class but the club and the fleet here in general. We’ve got a beautiful harbour to sail in, the first two days were nice and sunny with the final day overcast and windy, we couldn’t have had a better regatta.”
Also on the Studland Bay course David Law’s Kyperini won the XOD class, Ivor Graham & Brian Thompson’s Dehler ‘Deity’ won VPRS1, Joe Cross’s Sonata ‘Exposition’ won VPRS2 and Peter Fontes’ ‘Roatan’ won the Shrimper class.
Inside the harbour Iain Stowe from Rutland held off a late charge by Martin Whittingham-Jones from West Kirby in the 2.4m class to take the win and Malcolm Bentley’s team on Prawn won in the Bembridge Redwing class.
Prizes were presented by Kate Moss of Gold Sponsor International Paint.
Keith Lovett, Senior Yacht Underwriter of event sponsor MS Amlin & helmsman of Haven KJ Firestarter racing in IRC Class One said after the event, “MS Amlin were delighted to support this year’s Poole Regatta, enjoying stunning sailing in sun drenched conditions, intense competition across all classes and all variations of wind conditions. Along with fellow Sponsors; International Paint and Poole Harbour Commissioners a huge debt of gratitude to the combined Poole Clubs organising committee whose tireless efforts have turned this event into one of the UK’s leading regattas for keelboats, multihulls and yachts. Racing with so many customers, friends old and new in glorious Poole Bay, what is there not to like? MS Amin will be back on board in May 2018 for the next of this rapidly growing biennial event.”