Gusty weekend on the Solent
This weekend HRSC hosted some close racing and some epic on-water battles in the Hamble Autumn Championships and Garmin Hamble Winter Series, in conditions that ranged from gusty to exciting. There was some masterful sailing – and the odd impressive wipeout - across the fleet.
Saturday was the start of the second Hamble Autumn Championships weekend, with racing on two courses for J/80, Laser SB3, J/109, Quarter Ton and Impala 28 classes. The wind, a gusty and shifty SSEly of 14-18 knots, provided some useful shifts for competitors, allowing some to make big gains. Race officers Jamie Wilkinson and Ian Sumner set good windward-leeward courses, and all classes enjoyed some extremely close combat over the day’s four races.
In the J/80 class, Phil Taylor had a perfect scoreline of 4 firsts in J.A.T, while J2X had three second places. In the SB3 class, Eau No won the first three races, with Chill Pill winning the fourth, while in the J/109s each race had a different winner, with OutraJeous, Velvet Elvis, Stalker and AudaJious taking a bullet each. In the Quarter Ton class, Ian Southworth and Liz Rushall’s Whiskers continued her run of form, scoring four firsts. In the Impala 28 class, Polly went home with four wins, with Trudi second.
Saturday night’s Crew Party, in aid of Toe in the Water, caused a few sore heads on Sunday morning. Sunday’s forecast was for more wind than Saturday, and predicted it would build in the afternoon. The J/109s and Impalas raced with the Garmin Hamble Winter Series fleet from a start near Fastnet Insurance buoy, while the smaller Hamble Autumn Championship boats had their own course nearer to Hamble. For both, the southeasterly wind built through the day to reach 26 knots by mid-afternoon, with large waves cascading down the Eastern Solent.
The J/80s, SB3s and Quarter Tonners sailed three races on Sunday. J2X edged past J.A.T to take the first two races, and Oi! beat both of them in the final race of the series, but it wasn’t enough to keep J.A.T off the top spot overall. In the SB3s, Trouble and Strife took the first race ahead of Chill Pill, which then went on to win the next two and take the series. Whiskers won the Quarter Tonners overall, 16 points ahead of Bullet in second.
In the Spinlock-sponsored main fleet racing of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series, the race team made a popular early call to run only one race. In the Autumn Championships fleet, John McQuillan’s Happy won the Impala class, while Richard and Valerie Griffiths’ OutraJeous won the J/109s.
In IRC 0, Brevity continued her winning form, while in IRC 1, Visit Malta Puma won convincingly. Michael Brough’s Steady Barker won the IRC 2 class, and ImadJinn took IRC 3.
In the Sigma 38s, Max and Rebecca Walker pipped Nigel Goodhew’s Persephone over the line to take the top spot after a close-fought battle around the course, while in IRC 4, Impala 28 Trudi was first in class. In the mixed sportsboat class, depleted this week due to the Autumn Championships, Paul French’s Hunter 707 Turbulence was the only finisher, but revelled in the strong winds and big waves downwind.
Back at the clubhouse, the Garmin Hamble Winter Series day sponsor Spinlock provided prize vouchers, champagne and Spinlock products for the highest-placed boats present from each class.
There are now some promising battles lining up for the rest of the series, particularly in the Sigma 38 class, where Pavlova and Persephone are tied for the top spot and in IRC4, where first and second place currently have equal points and an identical scorecard. That means that next weekend, where competitors get an extra hour in bed thanks to the clocks going back, should witness some close and unmissable racing.
Next weekend sees the return of the Rule 26 Hamble Big Boat Series on both days, as well as the fourth weekend of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series, with day sponsor OneSails GBR.