Monthly Archives: July 2014

More Solent activity – July 26/7

Princess Jalina was Itchenor’s sole representative at the Taittinger Regatta at Yarmouth.  Twenty Xs competed in at least one of the two races possible.  In the morning race, David Palmer’s substitute Jamie Lea sailed PJ to the front of the fleet and was the only boat to reach the windward mark.  Those who have sailed these waters know of the vicious tides and with light winds sailing can be very tricky.  A victory was surely there – but for the time limit – they finished 2 minutes outside the limit.  In the afternoon race  PJ scored a very respectable 5th place behind 4 very good local West Solent boats.  David P’s return on Sunday was rewarded with a first place.  No other racing was possible.  So Princess Jalina finished second to Tom Vernon’s Silhouette. Just a Magnum rather than the Jeroboam for David. (For full results Click)

At Cowes light winds meant the delay of three and a half hours in the Household Division regatta which caused the fleet to be decimated.  When the three remaining Xs did come to the line for a short race it was Itchenor’s X26 Catherine that took line honours and the HDYC Welsh Guards Trophy.  What the results do not show is that your Vice Captain attempted to reconfigure the underwater contours of the Isle of Wight.  Result IOW 1 : Lass 0.  Reports from the yard indicate that once the dents and scrapes have been filled and faired, Lass will be as good as new and ready for Cowes Week.

No racing was possible off Cowes on Sunday because of the lack of wind and a stonking tide.


Cowes Classics – Day 4 – July 25

As the fleet left the moorings on the final day of the regatta it all felt a little strange.  Firstly there was cloud cover and a very slight nip in the air … and we were sent to a different racing area.  However, by the starting time the sun had burned off the clouds and we enjoyed another warm day with light breezes.  Our racing area was to the North West and along the Calshot shore.  A bold choice not so much for the wind as this was parallel to the shore from the now customary North to North East, but because of the tide – some 2 knots at times also from the NE.

After a couple of delays and a false start, we finally got away on what transpired to be our last race.  Clear air at the start line was critical to get into the shore and the lesser tide.  Half way up the first beat and close tacking up the shore six boats had broken away from the rest of the 50 strong fleet and 5 of these were Itchenor boats – Lass, Merlin, Foxglove, Astralita and Thora.  (Roger Yeoman said “It suits the Itchenor boys to have some dry land to tack against rather than all this open water stuff.)  They were joined by Anitra with former Captain’s Cup winner David Bedford as tactician.  In fact four of the six boats had Captain’s Cup winners on board.  John Tremlett and Richard Jordan sailed Lass into a comfortable lead with Anitra establishing herself in 2nd slot.  The other four boats swapped places over the five legs of the race.  Once these six had reached the weather marks and taken advantage of the tidal gate they the represented, the gap was substantial.  The finishing order was – Lass, Anitra, Merlin, Foxglove, Astralita and Thora.  Lass, Merlin and Astralita all enjoyed their best results of the week while Foxglove and Thora equalled theirs.

The overall winner of the week was Kim Slater’s  Madeleine from Parkstone as a result of a consistent series of results – worst position was today’s 12th.  Alastair Ashford and Rick Neall in Foxglove were also consistent performers able to discard yesterday’s 17th to take a well deserved 2nd place.  As a result of today’s win and a 2nd and 3rd yesterday, Lass moved into the top ten and finished 7th one place ahead of David McGregor in Annabel.  Rounding out Itchenor’s top performers were Thora (Messrs Roose, Barnes and Priscott) in 16th and Princess Jalina and Merlin – 20th and 21st.

I am left with a clear impression of a well run regatta on and off the water, a friendly bunch of competitors who were all challenged by the conditions the weather gods and the Solent served up.

Full results Click


Cowes Classics – Day 3 – July 24

Another day of clear blue skies, and warm, light winds from the North.  For the first the race the wind was fairly firm and favouring those on the right hand side.  One of those was John Tremlett enjoying his first outing this week in Lass finishing in 2nd place.  Other Itchenor boats with results worthy of a mention are Foxglove – 5th, Relaxation with her best result so far – 8th, Xanadu – 11th and Thora 12th.

The second race started on a fading breeze and finished on an almost flat calm.  Among boats who made the best of the challenge was Lass again with a 3rd, and Michael Martell’s Astralita in 8th – his best of the week.

Overall after discard Foxglove remains in 4th place,  Annabel had a disappointing day with a 20th and 21st and has slipped to 6th. Lass’s good day brings her up to 11th with Thora Itchenor’s only other top 20 performer in 19th.  David Palmer had a day to forget being OCS in the first race and then 42nd in the subsequent race dropping just into the 20s.

Cowes Classics – Day 2 – July 23

If we thought the winds yesterday were fickle, the weather gods served up a real challenge today.  More so for the race officer than the racers.  The objective was to try and run three races.  In the end we only had the one and that was shortened.

After a delay for the wind to settle – it was off the shore roughly from Lee on the Solent – we went into a start sequence.  With 30 seconds to go the race offer decided the line was not square;  clue – some 45 boats queuing up at the committee boat!  Having reset the line we tried again.  Some nine naughty helmsmen had their boats on the wrong side of the line – general recall.  Then into a black flag sequence.  Those at the pin end got away on a zephyr while those at the committee boat were becalmed.  The race was allowed to run until the leading boat was approaching the windward mark, then abandoned.  We were all feeling sorry for David McGregor, Bev and Ollie in Annabel who were the clear leaders until we learned they had been “black flagged”.

So we tried again.  Eventually we got away on a shifting breeze initially from the NE.  Most of the fleet went left and few of us went right expecting a new breeze from the East.  And so it came to pass.  A breeze did fill it, albeit fitfully, from the East.  At the windward mark we had the sight of Foxglove close-hauled from the left and Thora under spinnaker arriving from the right.  Behind these two boats there was a cacophony as boats arrived from all directions.  Three Itchenor boats did well in the ensuing run to the leeward gate and turned to windward 1,2,3 – Princess Jalina, Annabel and Xanadu who had passed Foxglove and Thora.  Finally, it was a fetch to the windward mark and the finish of a shortened race.  In the final reckoning Itchenor boats that scored well were Annabel – 3rd, Princess Jalina – 5th, Thora – 6th Xanadu – 8th and Foxglove – 12th.

Overall Annabel is Itchenor’s leading light in 2nd place with Foxglove in 4th and Princess Jalina 7th.


Cowes Classics – Day 1 – July 22

Clear blue skies and a wind off the “North Island” gave us challenging racing in variable winds.  A good position on the line was critical – even more so in these conditions.  Then the decision on which way to go to the windward mark.  In the first race those who went left scored over those who went right and they scored over those who took a conservative middle route.

In the first race one of those to benefit from the choice of route to the windward mark was David McGregor’s Annabel who finished in a super 2nd place.  David Palmer’s Princess Jalina with Julia Plumstead crewing was 6th, just ahead of Alastair Ashford’s Foxglove in 8th. Itchenor boats that got the wrong side of the shifts were Beaver 46th, Thora 47th and Judy 48th.

So room for improvement in the 2nd race!

With slightly more pressure for the next race the fleet set off North to a windward mark set near Hill Head buoy and a longer 1st leg than in the morning.  Relaxation was one of the clear leaders at both windward and subsequent leeward mark.  Then it all turned inside out.  Boats who went right gained significantly over those who took the left hand track.  As a demonstration of the effect the variable wind can have  Relaxation went from 2nd at the end of the 1st round to 31st at the finish.

Foxglove had another solid race with a 4th.  Thora had learned lessons from the morning and finished 11th, with Annabel close on their heels in 12th and Falconet 15th to add to their 11th in the first race.

Overall Foxglove and Annabel are looking good in 4th and 5th places, with Princess Jalina and Falconet in 10th and 11th.

Relaxation secures the Telegraph Trophy

Champagne comes early to the XOD fleet racing off Cowes; preceding both Classics Week and Cowes Week is the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club Daily Telegraph Challenge Trophy, hosted this year on the weekend of 19th and 20th July.  The Trophy race was established in 1961 for the 12 Metre Class in the Cowes Week Round the Island Race.  The first winner was the 12 Metre NORSAGA (The Lord Craigmyle).  But following the demise of 12 Metre racing in Cowes Week the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club wisely re-allocated this prestigious trophy to the XOD fleet for a regatta of 5 races over 2 days taking place 2 weeks before Cowes Week.

Cowes was at her best with sunshine, warm 10-15 knot breezes, factor 30 lotion for the crews and the ever challenging Solent tidal streams to contend with.  The racing circuit was set around the Bramble Bank under the expert and watchful eye of Solent Race Officer veteran Bob Milner and his practiced team.  A mixture of W/L laid marks and some round the cans racing was set.

17 XODs came to the line for closely fought honours, producing 5 different winners from the 5 races.  At the finishing gun the 2 overall leading boats were equal on 10 points with 3rd, 4th and 5th boats equal on 16 points.

In a warm 12 knot SE breeze the Race 1 finishing gun went to the very smart X64 Lightfoot helmed by new to the Class Michael O’Donnell with Captain’s Cup winner 2012 Steven Lawrence onboard gracing the middle position as tactician.  Following X64’s transom across the Line was X177 Relaxation helmed by John Long with Class Secretary Tina Scott providing tactical advice and an ample supply of Factor 30.  Race 2 saw Itchenor Sailing Club star David Palmer helming X188 Princess Jalina, with crew in co-ordinated racing kit (and surely taking the prize for best dressed crew), followed by local Island XOD expert ‘Professor’ James Meaning in X156 Gleam.  For Race 3 the fading and changing wind, that until then had played its part producing steady pressure from the SE, decided that enough was enough and decided not to play so the PRO wisely sent the crews for an early return to their moorings and to enjoy the best barbeque in Cowes on the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club terrace.

Race 3 was run on Sunday morning with an new NW breeze in different tidal conditions that found Paul Kelsey’s X52 Anitra, with Captain’s Cup winner 1990 David Bedford calling tactics from the middle seat, taking the winning gun, closely followed by John Tremlett (Captain’s Cup winner 2013) in X80 Lass who was enjoying a second weekend on the Solent having just won the XOD Central Solent Championship over the previous weekend.  Race 4 saw changing wind and tidal stream conditions and another shuffling of the overall positions with John Tremlett, X80 Lass, teasing his way to the front at the right time to take the finishing gun, with John Claxton and David Russell-Jones’s X83 Seamist following closely behind.  After lunch, and with a firm SW sea breeze filling, the PRO decided to test competitors navigation and tactical skills by setting a fixed mark course across the Bramble Bank and main shipping channel boundaries.   Working his tidal stream knowledge to the full the leader round the important first windward mark and tidal gate was John Long’s X177 Relaxation, closely followed by Cowes Divisional Class Captain Mike Till steering X162 Xenia with great skill.  These positions were retained for the remaining marks, producing John Long’s first winners gun of the regatta and the 5th different winner in 5 races.

The overall positions were held down to the wire – and needed a very clostelegraph bowl we perusal of the series ties paragraphs in the Scoring Appendix of the Racing Rules of Sailing – to produce the overall results:

Rank Sail No Name Helm Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Nt Pts
1 X177 Relaxation John Long 2 4 3 (11) 1 10
2 X 80 Lass R Bullock, R Jordan, J Lear & J Tremlett 4 3 2 1 (5) 10
3 X 64 Lightwood Michael O’Donnell 1 5 7 3 (10) 16
4 X188 Princess Jalina David Palmer 3 1 6 6 (7) 16
5 X156 Gleam James Meaning 7 2 4 (10) 3 16
6 X162 Xenia Mike Till 9 6 (14) 4 2 21
7 X 52 Anitra Paul Kelsey (17) 15 1 7 6 29
8 X 73 Zephyr Jonathan Clark (11) 7 8 5 11 31
9 X 99 Xin Bai Andrew Cooper 8 8 (11) 9 8 33
10 X 55 Falconet Ron Parker 5 11 (15) 14 4 34