Saturday saw the start of the final MDL Hamble Big Boat Championship weekend. The forecast was appalling, with a mirror calm greeting the race committee as they motored out to the race course, and no-one really expected to get any racing in. But competitors couldn’t believe their luck as 4-5 knots of southeasterly filled in after an hour’s postponement, allowing the race team to get four races in from a startline near Wight Vodka.
In the Farr 45 class, Alice II took the top spot in three of the four races, with Rebel, the British Keelboat Academy and Espresso Martini constantly switching positions behind her. Rebel won the final race of the day.
In the J/111 class, J Dream won the first race, but couldn’t hold off Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug, which took first in the remaining three races. The Farr 52 Toe in the Water dominated the IRC >1.080 class, pushed hard by Joopster, Cobra and Chaos – with Chaos winning the third race of the day.
La Réponse took four wins ahead of Beafort Winston in the Beneteau First 40 class, while in the 40.7 class, Mitchellson Interceptor and Playing Around took two races each.
On Sunday, a good northeasterly 10-15 knots was forecast, and, unlike Saturday, that was exactly what the weather gods served up. Racing started from the vicinity of Sunsail Racing buoy at low tide, with courses cascading down the East Solent in a sluicing flood tide. The MDL Hamble Big Boat Championships fleet raced alongside the main Garmin Hamble Winter Series fleet, with two races for all classes.
In the Farr 45 class, Stewart Whitehead’s Rebel sailed consistently well, posting a first and a second, to top the class at the end of the two weekend series. In the J/111 class, Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug took two seconds on Sunday, but that was enough to keep them nine points clear at the top of the fleet – an impressive showing for their first regatta.
Neil Kipling’s Joopster had a first and a second, putting them top of the IRC >1.080 class by two points overall. Andrew McIrvine’s La Réponse continued her near clear sweep with another two firsts to win the Beneteau First 40 class in fine style, while in the two-boat Beneteau First 40.7 class, Nick Rawbone’s Playing Around and Stuart and James Wilkie’s Mitchellson Interceptor took a race each. Playing Around took the trophy by three points overall.
Garmin Hamble Winter Series
The Garmin Hamble Winter Series ran as usual on Sunday, this time from the same startline as the Big Boats in ideal conditions. The day sponsor was Southern Ropes, who provided prizes at the clubhouse after racing. All classes sailed two races, with the smaller boats finishing on the Hill Head plateau, and the bigger boats finishing near Browndown.
Mark Lloyd’s Mills 43 Chaos took two bullets in the IRC 0 class. In IRC 1, Philip Farrands’ Old Mother Gun and the First 40.7 Beaufort Winston finished joint first in the first race of the day, with the Reflex 38 Jaguar Logic taking the second race.
In IRC 2, David Franks’ Straight Dealer, a JPK 1010, continued her near-perfect run with another two firsts. Similarly, Paul Griffiths’ Jagerbomb posted two firsts in the J/109 class. Things were less clear-cut in IRC 3, with Peter Dessent’s Archambault A-31 ImaDjinn and Craig Cossar’s Salona 35 Vital Eyes taking a race each.
The J/111s, whose results also counted for the MDL Hamble Big Boat Championships, were led by Tony Mack’s McFly, which took two bullets ahead of Jitterbug.
In the close-knit Sigma 38 class, Chris and Vanessa Choules on With Alacrity and Kevin Sussmilch on Mefisto won a race apiece, while IRC 4 saw some very close racing. Bernard Fyans’ Erik the Red and Philip McDanell’s Impala 28 Trudi won a race each, with Tim Rees and Derek Morland’s Menace posting some consistent third places to leave them tied first overall.
It was good to see Dean Smith of MDL and Charles Nankin of Southern Ropes, the respective sponsors, in the clubhouse afterwards to present the prizes.
So, looking ahead, there’s one more weekend of racing before the mid-series break. Next weekend is the final Lewmar Hamble One Design Championship weekend, as well as the fourth Garmin Hamble Winter Series race day, for which the day sponsor is Andark.