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J Class Solent Regatta Day 1: close racing in fierce winds puts Ranger in front

The J Class Solent Regatta, hosted by the The Royal Southampton Yacht Club (RSYC), got under way today with the first of the three races planned. Challenging conditions including strong winds and a fierce outgoing tide faced J CLass yachts Ranger, Lionheart, Rainbow and Velsheda.

At the gun, Ranger and Velsheda lined up just ahead of Lionheart and Rainbow. Both Lionheart and Rainbow crossed onto the North shore for the long beat into a strong 20 knot south-west wind and building sea.

Ranger and Velsheda elected to work the Island shore, where the outgoing tide was expected to be stronger in their favour. At the weather mark, now crowded with spectator boats from all around the Solent, Ranger rounded first, with Lionheart close behind, followed by Rainbow and Velsheda, who had slipped back. Ranger gybe set onto a symmetrical kite whilst Lionheart split from her with a bearaway set onto an assymetric kite. Ranger then drew ahead sailing best angles into the foul tide with the symmetrical.

The gap between the yachts never really opened up significantly and all boats crossed the line within 137 seconds. Finishing positions across the line were unaltered by the very small handicaps that apply to each individual yacht, to account for small performance differences.

The overall results were:

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