This weekend saw the Garmin Hamble Winter Series get underway, with some exciting, blustery conditions to see in the start of the event’s 30th anniversary.
Saturday was the first day of the new-format Autumn Championships, with racing for SB3, J/80, J109 and Quarter Ton classes on two courses. Winds of 12-18 knots provided ideal, if gusty racing conditions, and race officers Ian Sumner and Jamie Wilkinson got 4 races in for all classes without incident, although an over-eager start by the J/80s saw them pushed to the back of the queue in the first race after a general recall. Sunday’s forecast was for more wind, and the weather gods certainly delivered with gusts of 25 knots at times. Three races were sailed – with no general recalls this time. But the day wasn’t short of drama, with one SB3 losing her rig and a J/80 shredding her kite close to a lee shore. There were also a few retirements in the Quarter Ton class by the end of the day.
In the SB3s, Geoff Carveth and his crew had a near-perfect score of firsts, spoiled only by a second place in race 3 when Tich Summers in Chill Pill snuck ahead to take the bullet. After a shaky start in the J/80 class, Rob Larke in J2X found his form and won four races in a row, and is sitting in first place overall, ahead of J.A.T, sailed by Phil Taylor. In the Quarter Tonners, Ian Southworth and Liz Rushall’s Whiskers is in the lead with five bullets, ahead of Mike Webb in Flashheart and Howard Sellers in Bullet. Stephen Tapper’s Stalker currently leads the J/109 class, equal on points with Richard and Valerie Griffith’s OutraJeous.
Sunday also saw the first day of racing for the Black Fleet in the main series, with two races scheduled. PRO Jamie Wilkinson set a range of windward-leeward courses for the different classes. At 1045 the wind shifted left by 20°, causing some bigger boats to overstand their windward mark. This first race saw 17-20 knots of breeze and a classic wind-over-tide chop which made for some impressive surfing on the downwind leg. In IRC 0, Mark Devereux’s Swan 42 Brevity won, while in IRC1 Ivan Trotman’s J/122 Jolou led the fleet. In IRC 2, Michael Brough’s Match 38 Steady Barker took the top spot. J/97 Jika Jika was first in IRC 3, while Chris and Vanessa Choules on With Alacrity romped home in fine style to win the Sigma 38 class. In IRC4, Impala 28 Polly was first, and in the mixed Sportsboat class, Hunter 707 Turbulence did well to survive the by now quite extreme conditions and win her class.
By the second race, the wind, now in the southwest, was building, with regular gusts of 25 knots. Many fleets saw the winners of race one come out on top again, with Brevity, Jika Jika, With Alacrity and Polly all winning their respective classes. Visit Malta Puma won the second race in IRC1, and in IRC2, Elan 37 Elaine finished ahead of X-362 Extra Djinn to take the top spot. Big Boys Toys was the sole survivor of race 2 in the Sportsboat fleet and finished first in fine style.
At the prizegiving in the club, Race Day sponsors, clothing company Team Purple presented the prizes to the winners. Thanks go to Team Purple for their sponsorship, and to Garmin in their sixth consecutive year as title sponsor of the event.
Next weekend sees the prestigious Big Boat Series run over both days, with 12 races for IRC 0 (minimum rating 1.075) and Farr 45s. Entries are currently running at an impressive 18 boats in IRC 0, which should make for some close and exciting racing among these top racing machines. Of course, there’s also the second winter series weekend for all Black Fleet classes, with 2 races scheduled. The Race Day sponsor is the Bugle. See you then!
Full results here