Conditions were perfect with a comfortable ten to twelve knot breeze and warm sunshine for Race 4 in the Summer Series.
Race Officer David Evans set an excellent windward / leeward course with a start at Hedge End and a beat to Spit Buoy for the first leg.
The two Phantoms of Martin Jenkins and James Oxley were first out of the line but Dominic Jacobs was well positioned too. Jenkins rounded first with Oxley and Jacobs hot on his transom.
Oxley’s Phantom and Jacob’s Laser both headed for the West Bank of the river whilst Jenkins took the East Bank with Petra Potasse’s Javelin for close company.
The breeze had been building since the start and the East Bank track to No.13 proved to be the better choice as Jenkins extended his lead to nearly a minute over the chasing boats. With a long beat back to Spit the fleet had a tough sail in a breeze which was building to twenty knots.
Several competitors made the decision to retire but the order at the front stayed the same as Jenkins rounded and headed off downwind to No.13 buoy again.
Oxley had learned from the previous beat and hung on to the East Bank the entire length of the river, he reached across towards the mark and was just a couple of boat lengths behind Jenkins having virtually wiped out the lead.
Both Phantoms were hit by a strong gust at the mark. Jenkins had an out of control moment but recovered to round successfully but Oxley capsized on trying to round.
With the sailing becoming pretty boisterous in the increasing breeze RO Evans made the sensible decision to shorten course.
Jenkins lead the fleet home finishing nearly a minute ahead of his rival Oxley but Dominic Jacobs showed good skills and excellent boat speed in his full rig Laser and finished close enough to the two faster Phantoms to take the race on handicap.
With one race to go Jenkins has a narrow lead in the series with Oxley and Jacobs just a couple of points behind and chasing.
The final race is on Saturday 24th August.