Frostbite 3 & 4

Three or four days out the forecast was for a good 10,gusting 16 knot breeze on Sunday 20th January. Not quite lion territory but a feisty moggy perhaps. It probably raised hope in the hearts of those boats that struggled in the very light breeze of races 1 & 2. But as the day got closer so it turned first into a pussy cat and then the veritable lamb. When 20th dawned but for the wind direction, which was firmly in the NE instead of the NW, it could have been a clone of the first days conditions.At least the water was flat!

With the first warning at 10 and starts for class 1 and then classes 2 and 3 together we were at the top of the first HW stand so there was unlikely to be much tide initially but a slowly increasing ebb as race four progressed. A NWly in Southampton Water can be tricky, the Hovercraft buoys become the natural windward marks but they're in the shadow of the shore and the breeze gets even lighter and even more flukey than it already is. And racing cascading down tide means a starboard rounding at the windward mark.

The race track options were fairly limited. Planning to finish boats on a correcting reach along the Fawley shore, the hound positioned herself just offshore from Royal Southampton buoy so it could be used as a finish line. The ODM was to the north west with Hover 2 as the windward mark, a laid mark on the Fawley shore as the next leeward and then a choice of either Hover 1 or a closer laid mark as the next windward, then back to Deans Lake and home to finish (with the option of an extra ww/lw loop for extra distance for Class 1 if needed).

Both race 3 starts got away cleanly and on time at 1005 and 1012. Class 1 had a 4 mile course and classes 2 and 3 had a 3 mile course.Differing tactics were immediately apparent possibly due to a wide set of interpretations of what the tide was doing. On the first windward leg, those boats that went further to the SE appeared to do less well than those that stayed closer to the windward line.

Initially it looked as those the breeze might be picking up but any gusts were short lived and the downwind legs were very slow. By the time Class 1 were on their second windward leg the race was already 20 minute sold and it was clear wed have to shorten. The RIB did that for all boats as they rounded Deans Lake downwind for the first time noting that the asymmetrics were gybing down to it.

Tilt crossed the shortened line a good 14 minutes before her next rival Rajing Bull who were 9 minutes ahead of the back marker Azygos held back once again by her smaller jib on the upwind legs. In Class 2, Jackdaw took line honours at 11:06 followed by Imptish making her first appearance in the Series. The back marker of classes 2 and 3 was to be another 14 minutes.

Full Race Three results

By this time the sun was making a welcome appearance. It didn't lessen the wind chill but it did cheer the place up a bit! Having made their way back to the committee boat, Class 1 were given their second start at 11:20 just as the last Class 3 boat was finishing their first race. The Class 1 course was similar to their first but just once around with no extra loops.Classes 2 & 3 were then got away again at 11:45 on a shorter butterfly route with two windward legs.

Once again in Class 1 it was Tilt that took line honours but not by much this time as Tigris was only second behind. Azygos and their small jib will be hoping even harder for more breeze when we meet again on 3rd February.

In Class 2 it was Jackdaw followed by Imptish again but this time by only 18 seconds.

In Class 3 it was really great to see the Southampton University students out on Flying Formula - not a great performance first timeout but they had the hutzpah to make a port start to race 4 - once they're warmed up we may see them climbing up the results. Unusually, Glass Onion didnt have such a good day. They weren't helped by some unlucky wind holes or by congestion at the ODM end of the line for race 4 which stopped them getting back and forcing an OCS start.

Full Race Four Results

Series Results so far

Provisional race placings were published to the competitors on the Series GroupMe app which is available for Android, IOS, MACand PC. Any boats and crew that havent joined can do so here:
https://groupme.com/join_group/46887768/5k5yMf

The detailed race and Series-so-far results are available on the Race Result page of this site

Thanks to the Race Officer team of
Jan Cox
Neil Cox
Mike Garvey
Nathan Hamilton
Sue Neath
Bob Trimble
Also a big thank you to Natalie Hamilton our on-board photographer who's shots are included here.

The warning signal for Races 5 and 6 is scheduled for 10 AM on Sunday 3 February.