A breeze that hit 20 knots during the first two races of the day, and then 25 knots in the third, had the 18 foot Skiffs flying in Portland Harbour yesterday.
With the breeze in the region of 16 to 18 knots when the boats were being rigged, just a quarter of the fleet elected to put up their No 1 rigs, including 'RMW Marine' sailed by Tim Robinson, Dan Johnson and Jonny Meers, while the remainder chose the No 2.
Andy Richards, Andy Fairley and Dave Richards pulled off an excellent port tack start in the first race of the day, but the 'RMW Marine' team handled their big rig superbly, and established a lead which they held to the finish. The world class 49er sailors Alistair Richardson, Peter Greenhalgh and Harvey Hillary on 'Red Bull' finished second, with Jarrod Simpson, Grant Rollerson and Chris Cleary on 'Ernst & Young' third.
Yesterday's second race saw Toby Collyer, Stephen Holmewood and Simon Rosier on 'Helly Hansen' lead round the first mark, but once again 'RMW Marine' powered into the lead and stayed there. Jon Bennett, Andy Jeffries and Nick Jerkins on 'Computacenter' mastered the boisterous conditions to take second position, with 'Ernst & Young' again finishing third.
Having secured five straight wins, the 'RMW Marine' team decided to leave the rest to fight out the final race of the day, with the wind now hitting a steady 25 knots as mentioned earlier. The 'Red Bull' boys were enjoying themselves enormously, and did their utmost to win this race, but it was 'Ernst & Young' that took the victory ahead of them, with 'Helly Hansen' third. 'Computacenter' unluckily had a major sail problem near the final windward mark, when the clew of the mainsail became detached. Having had to retire from the first race of the series yesterday, they doggedly carried on to the finish under jib only to finish last, but secure fourth place overall behind 'Ernst & Young' and 'Red Bull'.
It was and excellent event that provided really fast and exciting sailing. Round 4 of the UK 18 foot Skiff Grand Prix will take place at the same venue in two weeks time.
Overall results (one discard):
1. 'RMW Marine' Tim Robinson, Dan Johnson and Jonny Meers 0 points
2. 'Ernst & Young' Jarrod Simpson, Grant Rollerson and Chris Cleary 17.4
3. 'Red Bull' Alistair Richardson, Peter Greenhalgh and Harvey Hillary 32 points
4. 'Computacenter' Jon Bennett, Andy Jeffries and Nick Jerkins 33.7 points
5. 'Helly Hansen' Toby Collyer, Stephen Holmewood and Simon Rosier 55.4 points
6. 'Radii' Andy Richards, Andy Fairley and Dave Richards 58 points
7. 'White Stuff' Victor Brellisford, James Campbell and Dave Smith 61.1 points
8. 'Specialized Marine' Chris Turner, Peter Bagwell and Jon McKenna 67.7 points
9. 'Total Recall' Ollie Holden, Ben Clothier and Will Clothier 74 points
10.'Race 1 Works' Andrew Hetherington, Chris Hopkins and Charlie Coulborn 77 points