Winners decided on chilly final day
Despite the combined efforts of a pessimistic forecast and ABP, who helpfully removed nearly all the racing marks in the Solent last week, boats racing in the final day of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series managed to squeeze in a race before the wind shut off completely.
Early morning saw 7-9 knots at the Bramble Bank and thick ice on decks. A short postponement accompanied a temporary lull in the breeze, but the race team was able to get all classes away in a 5-7 knot North-Westerly breeze and spring tide.
The flood tide meant that many classes were line shy in the light airs. After the start crews needed to keep their eyes out of the boat to locate areas of breeze - and to identify the large shifts, especially up the right hand side of the course.
Using inflatable marks instead of the missing racing marks, the race team set a series of windward-leeward courses, but were forced to shorten at the first leeward mark as the wind threatened to disappear completely. Nonetheless, some extremely close racing could be witnessed, even if it was in nerve-jangling slow motion.
In IRC 0, Mark Lloyd's Mills 43 Chaos sailed a masterful race to finish nearly 15 minutes ahead of the next boat, Andrew Arthur's Vixter. In IRC 1, Stuart and James Wilkie's Mitchellson Interceptor beat the Reflex 38 Visit Malta Puma to win the race, but this wasn't enough to stop Visit Malta Puma taking first overall in the series by nine points.
IRC 2 was shown the way this week by Malcolm Roberts' Ker 9m Sunshine, which finished eight minutes ahead of the next boat, but David Franks' Strait Dealer won the series in class 2 despite not sailing the final two races.
The A31 of Steve Bromley, Aneet Djinn, topped the IRC 3 class, tied first with Andy Howe's Blackjack, but it was Craig Cossar's Vital Eyes that won the class overall.
Tony Mack's McFly won in the J/111 class, but David and Kirsty Apthorp's J Dream took to top spot overall. In the J/109s, Owain Franks' Jynnan Tonnyx beat Paul Griffith's Jagerbomb to take the day prize, with Jagerbomb winning the series by three points.
In the Sigma 38s, it was class newcomers, Nick Woolven's Rho which topped the fleet. They sailed a great race, beating the series winner, Kevin Sussmilch's Mefisto by just under a minute.
In IRC 4, Quarter Tonner Menace extended her lead at the top of the class with another first. X-95 Crakajax sailed a great race to take second, with Mustang 30 Erik the Red in third.
A beautiful day on the water, even if there was a lack of wind, was rounded off with day sponsor SO31 Bags, who presented the prizes in the HRSC clubhouse.
Next Saturday sees the series prizegiving, to which all competitors are invited - see you there!
More images from Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com