UK Double-Handed Nationals

UK Double-Handed Nationals

Organized by the Royal Southampton YC, in conjunction with the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the second edition of the IRC DoubleHanded UK National Championship took place in the Solent last weekend. A huge variety of keelboats entered with about 40 teams taking part. Three races were scheduled with no discard, but only two races were sailed. The variety of courses were designed to test all the elements of Double-Handed racing with a laid marks course, a round the cans race and a long passage race. The largest class racing, IRC 2 Class, had 15 yachts vying for the class and five yachts took podium positions. Race One was won by the defending champion, Paul Griffith's J/109, Jagerbomb, and William Newton's J/105 Jelly Baby crewed by Bill Darley was third. The winner of Race Two was Andrew Roberts' J/105 Jin Tonic crewed by Bill Edgerley. In the end, it was the J/105 Jin Tonic that took the class championship by a single point over the J/109 Jagerbomb. Fourth was the J/105 Jelly baby (Bill Newton & Bill Darley). Sixth was the J/105 Voador (Alex Adams & Robert Smith). And, tenth was the J/105 Mostly Harmless (Tom Hayhoe & Natalie Jobling). "The Royal Lymington Yacht Club organized a series of double handed races back in 2011, and we decided to give it a go and much to my surprise I enjoyed the challenge of adapting a boat that is normally raced with a crew of 7 to one that 2 can handle," commented Andy Roberts, skipper of Jin Tonic. "I quickly learnt that every maneuver took more time and more effort and they should be kept to a minimum. Racing short-handed means you are utterly dependent on your partner, their skills and input both tactical and navigational, as well as the sail handling. The boat needs to be prepared differently, simplify everything, so there was no umming and arring about sail calls, we just use what we have got, remembering that not having an extra 450 kilos of crew weight on the rail meant that the boat was tuned differently so that we could de-power much earlier than usual to keep the boat on its feet and footing rather than crabbing sideways. I think one of the things that helped us get a good result was having a clear strategy on the route we were going to take around the course so that we had no last minute panic moves to make, for example, dropping the spinnaker on the correct side for the next hoist. Spinning the kit when going upwind is seriously slow, losing at least half a knot of boat speed for 5 or 10 minutes. We did not chose a J/105 for any other reason than there were three others in Lymington, yet we have found it to be a super boat for both short-handed and fully-crewed racing; easy to handle and always feels safe even when surfing along at 14 knots. To summarize, we felt we did well by keeping it simple, so we had time to focus on the race. A big thank you to everyone at the Royal Southampton YC, for all their hard work to give us such an enjoyable regatta."  RORC Double Handed UK National Championship information

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