Charlie West–Hurst's Mumbo Jumbo won their first race of the Belfast Lough Autumn Keelboat Series last Sunday morning, finishing just behind the other NIRKRA competitors to win on handicap. This was the fourth different winner in as many weeks with only 2 minutes seperating the fleet on corrected time.
Racing was postponed initially on Sunday morning with racing looking unlikely with little wind forecast until the afternoon but some lovely early Autumn sunshine for everyone to enjoy. Thankfully after just 20 minutes, a brisk Southerly 8-12 knots set in to Race Officer Colin Loughead's joy who got racing started quickly.
The IRC fleet got away first with Giggle tramping away as expected from the smaller Final Call. The Sigma fleet followed with tight racing around the first two laps when Impulse and Cariad got into a private duel allowing the other two to escape. Sqwawk repeatedly tried to escape Burton Allen's Starshine Challenger upwind but was dragged back on the runs with only boat lengths separating them at the final leeward mark. Paul Prentice's team hung on for a 3rd win in the series and overall lead.
In the Restricted Whitesail NHC class John Moorehead's Margarita scored their second win of the series with a good lead at the finish over Mingulay and the following Enigma.
The smaller NIRKRA fleet saw the tightest racing with David Milne's Manzanita leading from QtPi and Starflash. The latter broke through by the end to finish second over the water but has suffered from her successes earlier in the season and her henceforth higher NHC handicap to drop to 6th on corrected time. Manzanita could look back to see the chasing "slower" Chatterbox followed closely by Mumbo-Jumbo who was enjoying the freshening breeze and won the race by just 10 seconds. The NIRKRA class was set up 2 years ago with a restricted banding centered around the old quarter-tonner mark and this series has shown the competitive nature of the fleet with four different winners in as many races and only 2 points seperating the first 4 boats overall.
Next Sunday's racing looks to be a bit fresher with the imminent leftovers of Hurricane Joaquin. There are 3 races still left in the series with all classes still up for winning. Many thanks to David and Elaine Taylor for lending Whiskey Mac to be the committee boat.
Full results here