X-Yachts Solent Cup 2016 Report

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With champagne sailing virtually throughout the weekend, a good time was had by all both on and off the water.   From 29th April to 1st May this year’s X-Yachts GB Solent Cup returned to Hamble and The Royal Southern Yacht Club, who took care of the racing and our onshore entertainment.

Friday brought the Skipper’s Briefing, followed by the X-Yachts Owner’s Association Drinks.  Crews were happy in the Upper Bar with everyone joining for the Hog Roast.

Saturday afternoon’s Mount Gay Rum reception was sponsored by North Sails.  The onshore Beat The Bleep competition was fun for all involved with Ed & Al entertaining us in the background.  This set up a nice atmosphere before our Gala Dinner.

The Gala Dinner was attended by c. 150 people, who were entertained by after-dinner speaker Mick Dawson, who reiterated his story of rowing across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  His honest and down to earth delivery engaged and enthralled all guests after the flavorsome Gala Dinner.

On Sunday after racing, the fleet made their way back to The Royal Southern Yacht Club for after racing Fish & Chips, along with a Dark & Stormy drinks reception in conjunction with the Prize Giving.  A lot of the crew viewed the weekend as a social event as well as some fun on the water.  Thanks to the Royal Southern Yacht Club for being great hosts.  We are looking forward to returning in the future.

Report for Family Class

Yet another fantastic Solent Cup for the family class, with renewed friendships and rivalries.

In addition to regular Solent sailors, this year’s entries included Murray Findlay and his team from Scotland with his Xc45 “Boxcar XLV”, John Davies from the East Coast with his Xc42 “Hisway Too”, and Ian Miller from Jersey making his first real outing on his new Xc38 “Reflexion”. The fleet also saw newcomers to Solent sailing in the form of Mitchell Pearson on the X-412 “Alexina”, and Mike Marigold on the Xc 42 “Xstream”.

Day 1 saw a delayed start and light winds, which thankfully steadily increased to provide classic Solent sailing and close finishes, with some reefs being required during race 2.

Completion of day 1 saw “Xstream” lying in 1st position with the Xc 38 “Xtension” a close 2nd and Peter Tanner’s Xc42 “Oojah” lying 3rd.

The ever popular pursuit race on Sunday saw Ian Miller’s Xc 38 “RefleXion” set off first, followed by Anne Gunter’s Xc 42 “PresenXe”.  The larger Xc overhauled “RefleXion”, and then maintained her lead through to the finishing line.  A steady procession followed within minutes, as testament to the pursuit race handicaps.

As racing came to a close, Gwynne and Tracey Lewis on the X-34 “Aura” held off “Xstream” on the final leg. With “Xtension” lying ahead of Aura, “Xtension” reversed the day 1 top slots and became the overall family class winner for 2016, with “Oojah” remaining in 3rd position. 

Report for Sports Class A

After the short delay, both of Saturday’s races start saw Clive Buesnal’s X-50 “Exhilerance” win the line with great starts, however Andrew & Lee Bollers X-65 “Katherine” soon got up to 10 kts upwind, and carved through the fleet.  However, due to an issue with the furling mechanism of the gennaker, “Katherine” was unable to unroll the large downwind sail and struggled to sail to her handicap.  This made for some very close racing, with a very close call to who would be first around each mark.  Demian Smith and his family aboard Xp 44 “Simples” were taking the day very gently, as it was the first days sailing aboard his new yacht, however still managed to keep up with her larger sister, the Xp 50 “Xtravagance” owned by Anton Jenkins.  The third race of the day was cancelled due to some stiff breeze under a passing cloud.

The second day also brought perfect sailing conditions, with blue sky and 12 knots of breeze.   “Simples” was pushing a little harder, and managed to sail the right angles downwind with the large A1.5, while “Xtravagance” struggles slightly with the snuffer on their large running a-sail.  Sadly Katherine was unable to use the asymmetric again, however they were delighted to win the moral victory with line honours in each race that day!

Report for Sports Class B

Following the weather briefing where Peter Schofield promised us light winds from the NW building from 7Kn to 12 Kn throughout the day, the whole fleet of X-Yachts set off for the start area around Roger Swinney buoy to the eastern end of Ryde Bank.

After some delay whilst the wind settled, Race 1, a windward leeward race over Ryde Bank, was announced. After a clean start, Peter Hodgkinson and Sarah Bailey’s X-362S “Xcitable” lead the way. It was important to navigate on the bank to windward and slightly to the north of the bank for the return under spinnaker in order to play the tides. “Xcitable”, proved the point with a clear win over the X-37 “Unruly” (Charles and Ellen Bull), followed closely by the X-332 “La Nef IV” (John Noë)

Race 2 took us over towards the Bramble Bank with the windward mark Kilchoman. Again, after a clean start, the whole fleet set off across the Solent towards the mainland shore. Only La Nef IV thought that Ryde Bank would be the paying tack. How wrong they were. Those who went over to the mainland had slightly more breeze and a good lift towards the mark. The first retirement of the day occurred when the X-119 “IN X Celsis” (Peter Jones) caught the lewward mark and tried to take it with him. After 2 laps of the course, once again “Xcitable” lead the fleet, but this time the other X-362 “Magec” (Mike Garvey) was in hot pursuit. The finish was in that order with the X-99 “2XS” (Aindriu McCormack) some 5 minutes later in 3rd place. As for La Nef IV, just as she was rounding the leeward mark for the last time, albeit way behind most of the fleet, the 30Kn squall which was to cause the abandonment of racing for the day, hit as she was dousing the kite. All mayhem broke loose on board. The spectacle of the yellow and black spinnaker flying from the top of the mast was for all to see! Sadly she had to abandon as a result.

Sunday dawned with a clear blue sky and light winds. Champagne sailing was the order of the day for the whole of racing. The wind had turned SW, so our race officer put the start line much nearer home around the Royal Southern Buoy.

The 3 races were all windward leewards, with the windward mark being East Knoll some 1.6 miles from the start. Tides are tricky in this area and care was needed to make the most of the conditions.

The first race proved to be a disaster for “Xcitable” who had problems dropping her kite at the last leeward rounding. This let “2XS” gain a very worthy 1st place followed closely by “Magec” and “La Nef IV

Race 4 was business as usual with “Xcitable” leading the way with “Magec” second and “2XS” third.

The final race of the whole series gave yet another win to “Xcitable” and a close second place to “Magec” with again “La Nef IV” less than a minute behind, in third place.

Once all the calculations had been completed, there being no discards, the winner of the Challenge Cup was “Xcitable”, with “Magec” in second place and “2XS” in third.

So, after a wonderful two days of racing overall congratulations goes to Peter Hodgkinson and Sarah Bailey on board X362S "Xcitable” the overall winner of the 2016 X-Yachts Solent Cup!

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