With the air temperature barely climbing above zero degrees on this penultimate day of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series, thankfully the northeasterly breeze never got much above 10 knots. Even so it was shifting widely, and enough to delay the Black Fleet starts by ten minutes while the committee re-laid the start line near the Sunsail racing mark on the Ryde Middle.
Having picked Fastnet Insurance buoy as a first mark the IRC and one-designs were set windward leeward courses, but with a breeze that was gradually dropping, and mindful of the many pairs of cold hands, the race committee made a popular decision in shortening the races after 100 minutes of sailing.
In IRC0 Paul and Julia Aisher’s Arcona 430 Tangent Minus 1 held off Michael Blair’s Ker 11.3 Paragon by just eight seconds on corrected time, while Tim Harrington’s X35 Vortex returned to the IRC1 fray after a birthday weekend off, to notch up yet another win. In the other IRC and one-design classes the form boats won again, except in IRC 2 where the Bateson family’s Dehler 36 Starspray took her first win of the series.
In the White Fleet, racing in the relative shelter of the mainland shore, an amended windward leeward course was in use to reduce time between the three races. With the finishing committee boat near the start line it worked well, with the fleets of Laser SB3 and J/80s getting three start sequences cycled in two hours. Despite a soft breeze and some huge wind shifts, plus one black flag start in the J/80s in race 2, the fleet was heading for the crane by 12.45 after a 35-minute final race.
The spotlight has now turned on the Laser SB3 class, where a series-long battle is heading down to the wire. With three more races to go, only four points now separates the two leading SB3s of Messrs. Llewellyn, Wakefield & Vigus’ in 3082 and David Cummins’ Rumbleflurg. Tim Newton's Polarbear helped to add some tension by winning the third race on Sunday, their first bullet of the series. Meanwhile in the J/80s, and despite conceding two of three races to Patrick Liardet’s Aqua J, John Cooper's Oi still has a commanding 7 point lead.
At the day’s prize giving at the HRSC clubhouse, Charles Nankin of the day sponsor Southern Ropes presented discount vouchers to the race winners, having first explained the origins of this South African based rope maker. There were plenty of happy faces amongst the audience, some reflecting on an enjoyable if cold day out on the Solent, while others were celebrating early victories in their respective classes.
The series concludes next Sunday, December 5th, with one race for the Black Fleet and three races for the White Fleet. As well as finalising the points series for the ten classes these results will help determine the Garmin Yacht of the Year and Garmin Sportsboat of the Year that will be awarded at the overall prize giving on Saturday 11 December.
Garmin Hamble Winter Series - Day 7 Results:
Black Fleet Race Winners:
IRC 0 'Tangent Minus 1' Paul and Julia Aisher
IRC 1 ‘Vortex’ Tim Harrington
IRC 2 ‘Starspray’ Bateson Family
IRC 3 ‘Jika-Jika’ Mike and Jamie Holmes
IRC 4 ‘Patriot Games’ Paul Blowers & Nick Daniels
Sigma 38 ‘Festine Lente’ Meakins Family
J/109 'J-Dream' David and Kirsty Apthorp
White Fleet Race Winners:
Races 1 & 2 ' GBR 3082' Llewellyn, Wakefield, and Vigus
Race 3 'Polar Bear' Tim Newtown
Race 1 & 2 'Aqua-J' Patrick Liardet
Race 3 ‘Oi!’ John Cooper
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