“Although still no ice, the light northerly breeze meant jackets were definitely needed by the Race Officers for the first day of this year’s ‘January Jacket’ Regatta on Saturday morning! Initially the course was going to be set up outside the harbour in the hopes of a steadier breeze, however the sea was quite ‘bobly’ so it was wisely decided to keep the seventeen Illusions in the harbour for the morning’s racing.

Despite no one being over the line for the start of the first race, there was a fair bit of bumping going on at the pin end as the middle of the fleet found themselves caught out by a 10 degree wind shift.

Youtube Start of Race 1

Mark Downer was soon out in front closely pursued by his wife Jo; Mike Toogood was next a bit further back. However on the second round beat to the windward marks, Jo found herself on the wrong end of a number of wind shifts which put her well down the fleet. Having moved up to second Mike managed to hold off David Peerless and young Alex Downer. With the fleet quite well spread by that time, the race was stopped at the end of the second round.

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The pin end of the line saw action again at the start of the second race.

Youtube Start of Race 2

Mark and Justin Biddle were the first two around the windward marks, albeit Jo and Simon Cooper were not far behind. Julia Bailey had an excellent second round and having benefited from some favourable wind shifts, her pink spinnaker was the first to fill on the second run to the leeward gate. Despite best efforts to hold her back, Mark had to make do with second. The race for next two places was very tight with Simon just managing to take third, inches ahead of John Raymond.

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Simon just overcooked the start of the third race, however soon after ducking back and tacking onto port, his steering broke and he caused quite a pile up! Fortunately no one was moving very fast so damage was minimal.

Youtube Start of Race 3

With Mark deciding to play safe by keeping well clear of the carnage, Julia and Alex lead the fleet on the run to the leeward gate. On the second round, Alex got the better of her and crossed the line at least two boat lengths ahead. Jo and John had a very close race for third place with Jo just coming out ahead. At the bottom end of the fleet, Owen Pay sadly had to retire and return home when his steering broke.

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The fourth and final race of the day was nearly a General Recall, however with Mike Sam in the Safety RIB at the pin end taking photos, he was able to identify Julia & Jo as OCS. Both came back although it took Jo quite a long time to extract herself from the rest of the fleet.

Youtube Start of Race 4

Alex meanwhile was on a roll and led the chasing group of Justin, Mark and John; however as the 3 round race developed, Mark took over in front and his brother-in-law Philip moved into third to make it a family 1-2-3. John was fourth. Fifth and sixth could have gone either way with David finishing just ahead of Simon.

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It was not so cold on Sunday and there were quite a few absentees from the previous day, and only one new face – Kass; but with twelve boats out it was still probably the largest one-design keelboat fleet on the South Coast racing at this time of the year. With the light breeze (F2-3) backing over night to the West, it made sense to remain in the harbour; this also meant that the start of the first race was only only four minutes later than programmed! After a clean start the fleet soon split tacks with Alex leading the way having tacked onto port early on and managing to overtake his mother Jo on the run to the leeward mark. On the second round he was able to build on his lead and finish first unchallenged. Jo held off Mike & Julia and came in second.

Youtube Start of Sunday’s 1st Race

The course was shortened slightly before the start of the second race because it looked as though the breeze was dropping and the Race Officers were keen to try to get three more races completed. After another close start, it was not long before it became clear that Julia was the one to beat. In the event, she extended her lead on the second round leaving Mike, Justin, Simon and Alex to fight it out amongst themselves for the next four places. Good stuff, there was only a couple of seconds between them all.

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Youtube Start of Sunday’s 2nd Race

For reasons unknown, the start of the third race was a bit different from the norm with everyone hanging back slightly. The fleet again split tacks as they headed up the beat, but this time, having stayed on starboard for longer than most, it was Jonathan Nainby-Luxmoore who rounded the windward marks first and lead the fleet to the leeward gate. It was also good to see Robin Ebsworth in with the leaders. On the second round Alex got himself up into second and with Robin struggling to get his spinnaker to fly cleanly, the question was who was going to be third. In the event it was Jo who just squeezed through inches ahead. Simon was a very close fifth.

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The first start of the final race of the day saw the First Sub being displayed as a General Recall was signalled after it became too difficult to identify the numerous boats who had over cooked it.

Youtube Initial Start of Sunday’s 4th Race

Their starting discipline improved considerable for the second start which saw Flag U used as the preparatory signal. Mike’s red spinnaker was the first to be raised on the run to the leeward gate; indeed he was so far ahead that he was able to smile for the rest of the race. Jo was pretty secure in second, but third was definitely up for grabs between Alex, Kass and Julia. Although it looked at one stage as if Kass was going to at last take a podium place, but it was not to be and she had to be satisfied with coming fourth just ahead of Julia.

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Another eight race Regatta and congratulations to young Alex Downer who was the overall winner on eighteen points; Julia Bailey was second on twenty eight points and Alex’s mother, Jo was third on thirty six points.

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Click Here for January Jacket Results

Racing next weekend is for the Flying Dutchman Trophy.

Flickr Additional photos by Mike Samuelson

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