J Class Solent Regatta Day 2: Velsheda snatches victory


After a delayed start in the vicinity of Gurnard, Race 2 got underway towards Lymington in a stiff 15 knot breeze. With the remains of the flood tide Ranger and Velsheda approached the leeward end, but just too early. Ranger found herself trapped and had to shoot between the inner distance mark and committee boat. Velsheda crossed 2 seconds early and had to complete a fast bear away jibe to restart. Meanwhile Lionheart and Rainbow made clean starts but Lionheart was fouled by Ranger, who was clearing the line on Port. Lionheart bore away under Ranger's stern and shortly after flew a Protest flag.

After a long beat into the last of the flood tide to Solent bank, the rounding order at the top mark was Lionheart followed closely by Rainbow, then some distance behind Velsheda and Ranger. Places were unchanged after the leeward gate.

With strengthening winds the yachts headed West again, into what was now an ebb tide, to Lymington Bank mark. Lionheart consolidated her lead and put a covering tack on Rainbow. Velsheda and Ranger closed some distance, benefiting from a full spring ebb tide.

Lionheart rounded first and elected for a spinnaker jib set, to sail towards the North shore and out of the strong tide. Rainbow and Velsheda followed the same course. Ranger still some distance behind elected for a bear away set, to sail the Island shore - the shortest distance to the finish off Cowes. Whilst Lionheart, Rainbow and Velsheda sailed against less tide they would still need to cross over to the Island shore for the finish so Ranger's choice of sailing the island shore was a major tactical risk.

At the finish line Lionheart crossed first, followed by Velsheda, and Rainbow. However, with a small handicap advantage, Velsheda won on corrected time by just 5 seconds. Ranger was not able to benefit from the decision to sail on the Island shore.

A very large fleet of spectators was assembled to watch this race and almost all respected the requirement for sea room for the yachts to tack and gybe, but a few larger powerboats did get in the way of the race yachts and put the race in jeopardy.

The overall results were: