Champagne Charlie Regatta at the Royal Southern Yacht Club. (Paul Wyeth)
A wicked wind from the east produced light yet volatile conditions for the last day of the Champagne Charlie July Regatta, supported by Charles Heidsieck. It was a day for keeping your head out of the boat to use the shifting breeze for an advantage rather than a loss. Five of the classes featured place changes on countback or just half a point. The majority of the racing classes were not settled until the final race of the regatta. Royal Southern YC race teams, led by Philip Gage and Mike Foster, had to deal with wind shifts of up to 30 degrees to provide fair racing for the fleet.
Blair & Beckett’s King 40 Cobra won the ten strong IRC One Class, with a 2-1-4 on the last day of racing. Chris Jones’ J/111 Journeymaker II held on to second place but only by a whisker. Tony Mack’s J/111 McFly scored a 3-3-2 to tie on points with Journeymaker II, but lost out on countback due to Journeymaker’s win on the first day of racing. Jan van Berne’s J/111 Red Herring won Race 4 but failed to make the podium by just two points.
Glyn Locke’s Farr 280 Toucan (Paul Wyeth)
In the HP30 Class, Glyn Locke’s Farr 280 Toucan was third going into the last day but the team from Yarmouth I.OW. came out with all guns blazing to win Race 4. Toucan capped off a stellar performance winning Race 6 to take the regatta victory by a single point. Malcolm Wootton’s Farr30 Evo Pegasus DekMarx was winning the class going into the last race, but third place by just 13 seconds resulted in second for the regatta. Jamie Rankin’s Farr 280 Pandemonium was third in class.
In IRC Two, Simon Perry’s J/109 Jiraffe scored two more race victories to secure the class win with a race to spare, but it was far from an easy day on the water. Two starting infringements had the team digging back from deep positions in the fleet. Mike Bridges JPK 10.10 Elaine Again, finished second in class. Rob & Lucinda Mclean, racing the beautifully named 1720(mod) Spider Pig, won the last race to squeak onto the podium by just half a point, ahead of Philip Farrands’ classic Humphreys 40 Old Mother Gun.
“Jiraffe has always been crewed by family and friends, with nobody working in the marine industry, let alone professional racers.” commented Simon Perry. “My daughter Alice was racing this weekend, Tom and Juliette were absent but normally sail on the boat. The crew are a combination of family and old sailing mates. The main idea is that we have fun, I used to sail at Cowes Week in the 80s, and it was all about families racing seriously but always having fun, and we have that ethos with Jiraffe. The J/109 is great for family sailing, and to race competitively. This regatta has been something of a warm up for the Landsail Tyres J-Cup next weekend, when we will race in a fleet of eleven J/109s.”
In IRC Three, Handley & James Mustang 30 Gr8 Banter scored a 2-1-2 to dominate the 11-strong class. Becky Walford’s J/92 Brenda’s J won the last race to scamper into second place by just half a point from Olly & Sam Love’s SJ320 Frank³
Gr8 Banter is owned by Ian Handley & Tim James. Ian has been a Royal Southern member for 45 years, enjoying splash week and racing from a very young age. These days Ian races with his 17-year-old son Charles Handley, who will be taking his A-Levels at Cranleigh School next year. “I grew up sailing at the Southern, so it is great to continue the tradition with Charles,” commented Ian. “After the first day of racing, we sat on the clubhouse veranda, enjoying a drink and a chat, watching the superb view, and it was just fantastic. The racing went well for us, and we had our share of good fortune with a tremendous lift in the wind, which only we seemed to enjoy. Racing with Charles is enjoyable, for both of us, it would be great to see more of the young sailors at the club taking part in these regattas.”
Richard Vanner’s Contessa 32 Blanco. (Paul Wyeth)
Richard Vanner’s Blanco retained their overnight lead in the Contessa 32 Class to win the regatta but only just. Donna Rouse-Collen came within one point of class victory, after winning the last race of the regatta. Alice Butcher’s Panache completed the podium having scored second place in the last race, to take third on countback from Peter Sanderson’s Muscadet de Havelet.
In the Club Class David Hitchcock’s XP-38 Red Five completed their rout winning all four races for the regatta. Michael Rowlatt’s J/122 Standby Go was second, and Steve Masters First 40.7 Spiritwalker was third. Wilson & King’s Soak Racing continued to dominate the J/70 Class, winning the first two races of the day. However, the Royal Southern’s J/70 Boysterous, skippered by Annabelle Body, finished the regatta in style winning the last race of the day. The win is believed to be the first at a Royal Southern Regatta by a club owned boat. Andrew Barraclough’s Jenga8 was third after holding off a strong challenge from Alexander James’ Polaris.
The Champagne Charlie July Regatta Prize Giving was held in the Upper Bar at the Royal Southern Yacht Club. Commodore Graham Nixon introduced Mackenzie Paton from Champagne Charles Heidsieck, who explained that the origins of the company are steeped in sailing tradition. The founder, Charles Heidsieck, introduced his champagne to America by sailing over lots of crates and throwing lots of parties! Race Officer Philip Gage announced the results. Prize winners were presented with bottles of Champagne Charles Heidsieck, and special prizes from regatta supporters, Harken and PigBags.
Rear Commodore, Maggie Widopp, closed the prize giving by looking forward to the final regatta of the Royal Southern Summer Series. “The September regatta will be sponsored by Land Union, and one of the prizes will be flights and hotel for a weekend stay in Berlin. Doyle Sails will also be supporting the regatta. After the September Regatta has concluded, we will be announcing the winner of the all-expenses paid trip to 2020 Antigua Sailing Week.”
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