Over the weekend of 19-20 March Hamble River Sailing Club hosted the 49th annual Warming Pan regatta. This year’s invited classes were the Firefly and National 12 fleets, the local Foxer dinghy fleet, the Merlin fleet who’ve attended the event since it started, and a new addition for 2010, a Pico fleet for local youngsters.
The original event programme scheduled two races on each day separated by a lunch break. However light winds on both days combined with some of the biggest tides of the year encouraged Principal Race Officer Jamie Wilkinson and his team to run back to back racing on both days, thus ensuring the fleet was ashore before all the water left the river.
Over the weekend a team of cake makers and galley slaves worked hard all weekend, feeding contestants and helpers. The proceeds from the cake sales, along with money raised from a raffle held on Saturday night, were donated to YachtAid Global, a charity who are currently utilizing luxury yachts to move essential supplies to isolated locations affected by the Japan Tsunami. HRSC is very pleased to announce that £351 was raised in total.
The Warming Pan is a unique event, being one of a small number of occasions each year that the Harbour Authorities allow dinghy racing in the main channel of the Hamble. With a start and finish line directly off HRSC, and a crowded river full of motorboats and yachts, the 72 competing boats had to keep their wits about them to avoid collisions. Four races were held for the Merlin Rocket, Firefly and National 12 fleets, eight for the Foxer fleet who prefer a shorter format, and six for the Picos. A trio of leeward marks were used to ensure the fleets had some degree of separation.
Four different boats won races within the 21 strong Merlin Rocket fleet. The 2010 champions, Andy Davis and Tom Pygall, came out as overall winners again thanks to a win in the last race, and despite an OCS (along with eight other boats) in race three. They were pushed hard by Dan Alsop and Jennie King with Richard Dee & Chris Gould securing third overall.
Steve Greaves and Lizzie Judson had the best scoreline in the ten strong Firefly fleet but the vagaries of RRS Appendix A relegated them to second overall, much to the surprise of Barney Smith and Alannah Witherby who took home the traditional Warming Pan replicas. Ali Barker sailing with father Graham posted a consistent scoreline to take third.
Ian Southworth and Rob Greenhalgh had a titanic battle at the head of the 16 strong Foxer fleet, each scoring three wins in their eight races, with Ian’s final tally of three second places eventually proving crucial as Rob slipped to 8th in the last race. Tony Kilby edged out Hedley Bewes for third overall.
Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne were the most convincing winners of the weekend with a perfect scoreline of three first places in the 12 strong National 12 fleet. Consistency from John Ibbotson & Charlotte Stewart placed them second overall with Andy McKee and Clare Hunter taking a rock and roll route to third.
13 under 16 year olds competed in the Pico class, making its debut at the Warming Pan event. Racing was run in a separate course area on the Warsash side of the river with noisy encouragement from the supporting parents. Tom Johnson showed the makings of a true champion, taking overall honours with three wins from his six races. Callum Weston added a solitary race win to a consistent set of seconds and thirds to take second overall, with Robert Winn having a great middle of the regatta to come home third.
Next year is the 50th Anniversary Warming Pan, and HRSC look forward to welcoming even more competitors at what should be a spectacular event.