Wednesday, November 4, 2015

GARMIN Hamble Winter Series Report

J/111 sailing Hamble Winter Series (Hamble, England)- For the first time in as many years, the weather gods allowed the full programme of two races to be sailed on the first weekend of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series. Which, as race officer Kathy Smalley pointed out, perhaps should be temporarily re-named the Garmin Hamble Indian Summer Series for the time being!

For the preceding week, the forecast had steadfastly refused to predict anything above 2-3 knots for the opening day of the 2015 series, but Sunday dawned with a light southeasterly that was to build throughout the day.

All classes got underway on time helped by a sluicing flood tide, which resulted in a few individual recalls for some slightly over-keen competitors. The race team set a series of windward-leeward courses for the competing boats.  As boats headed upwind to their first mark, the wind was oscillating through no more than 10 degrees, meaning that boatspeed was the order of the day. But there were plenty of lead changes and tacking duels taking place throughout the 70-boat fleet.

In IRC 0, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG won both races to top the results table, ahead of Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II in third.

In IRC3, it was BLACKJACK, the J/97 of Annie Kelly who dominated, scoring two firsts, while David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO was in third place, at the top of a batch of J/92s.

J/109s sailing Hamble Winter SeriesWeek 2
As October progresses, you could be forgiven for thinking that the thermals should be dug out – but the second weekend of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series, which this week incorporated the Doyle Sails Hamble One-Design Championships and the Sailing Networks Big Boat Championships, hosted some unseasonal sunshine and warmth to accompany the racing.

Racing on Sunday, the Garmin Hamble Winter Series fleet experienced some close racing in conditions ranging from a steady 12 knots to a shifty, frustrating 6 knots. These shifts and wind holes turned fleets on their heads and favored crews with their eyes out of their boats. Nonetheless, the race team, led by Stuart Childerley, fitted in two races for each class in the bright sunshine.

Cornel Riklin and crew on their J/111 JITTERBUG added another two first places to their score in the IRC0 class, continuing their run of bullets, ahead of fellow J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II, which scored two seconds. Christopher Daniel's J/122 AYBE completed the podium with two third places.

IRC 2, Paul Ward's J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT took second in both races. This leaves the fleet extremely close, with only two points separating 3rd and 6th place.

IRC 3 saw the J/97 BLACKJACK II add another two firsts to her scoreline, with the J/92s UPSTART taking a 3rd and a 2nd.

The J/109s were also racing with IRC 3, and were won by Simon Perry's JIRAFFE which recorded a 2nd and a 1st. Joe Henry's JOLLY JACK TAR scored a 1st and a 3rd to take 2nd, and Roger Philips' DESIGNSTAR 2 took third overall.

J/88 sailing fast at Hamble Winter Series in the United KingdomWeek 3
The third race day rounded off a successful weekend of racing, which this week incorporated the final act of both the Doyle Sails Hamble One Design Championship and the Sailing Networks Hamble Big Boat Championship.

The wind was decidedly fluky for Sunday's racing, but the race team got all fleets away after a short postponement. The wind started at around 10 knots, easing through the day to a minimum of 3 knots of Northeasterly, but the race team fitted in two races to leave competitors smiling as they came off the water – despite some large shifts that meant no position was set in stone until the final tack to the finish line.

A strong weather-going tide meant that there was a general recall or two, but fleets subsequently got away cleanly – no doubt encouraged to be cautious by the Z flag flying from the committee boat. First away was the IRC 0 class. Cornel Riklin's J/111 JITTERBUG added two more firsts to continue her run of bullets, making her lead look healthy and strong after three weekends of racing. Fellow J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II took two second places, ahead of J/122 JUNO in third, making for a complete J-Boat podium at this stage.

In the IRC2 class, the J/88 JONGLEUR skippered by Richard Cooper finished 3rd in both races.

In IRC3, J/97 BLACKJACK II recorded two wins, rounding off a weekend of celebration as owners Annie Kelly and Andy Howe got engaged on Saturday! At the prize-giving, day sponsor, the Bugle pub presented them with a special champagne bottle to add to their day prize, to tumultuous applause! The J/92s UPSTART skippered by Robin Stevenson took two second places to add to their consistent scoreline.

The J/109 fleet, racing with IRC3, was won by Simon Perry's JIRAFFE, which took two bullets ahead of Joe Henry's JOLLY JACK TAR’s two second places.

J/97 sailing Hamble Winter SeriesWeek 4
Coming at the end of a week of pessimistic weather forecasts, it was little surprise to both competitors and the race committee that the scheduled start time of the fourth race day of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series was marked by a flat calm, two hoots and an AP.

But it was a day of surprises – firstly that the end of British Summer Time would be marked by warm temperatures and blazing sunshine, and secondly that a light southeasterly breeze would fill in at around 1230. This came as a particular shock to the boats that had decided that there would be no racing today and who had started motoring home – resulting in a few hurried U-turns and high engine revs as they tried to make it back to the start line in time!

The wind never rose above 6- 10 knots, but that was plenty enough for race officer Kathy Smalley to fit in a short race with the same course for all classes - a triangle between HYS, Hill Head and buoys. Many classes saw the overall winners surprised and in some cases back towards the rear of the fleet in the light and shifty breeze.

First away were IRC 0, where Cornel Riklin's J/111 JITTERBUG added another first, for what is a perfect run of bullets.  As a result, they are leading a J-Boats sweep of their class with 6 pts net followed by JOURNEYMAKER II in second and Chris Daniel’s J/122 JUNO in third place with 28 pts net.

J/111 sailing Hamble Winter SeriesA Z flag flying from the committee boat caused some issues in IRC2, with two boats affected, including Paul Ward’s J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT in being penalized for being over the line. Nonetheless, EAT SLEEP J REPEAT finished first and took the penalty.  Consequently, the overall results so far have the J/88 ESJR in third overall with 26 pts net, top of the J/88 class in the regatta.  Next J/88s are Cooper’s JONGLEUR second, Gavin Howe’s TIGRIS 3rd and David Cule’s MAI TAI in 4th.

In IRC 3, Robin Stevenson on the J/92s UPSTART pushed class leader J/97 BLACKJACK II into second place, with Jonathan Stevens' J/97 WINDJAMMER completing the podium for the day's racing.  That result still leaves the Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II in control of the overall standings with 6 pts, followed by Stevenson’s J/92s UPSTART in second with 12 pts and David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO in third- currently a sweep of the podium like their colleagues in IRC 0.

The J/109s continue to have JIRAFFE in first, with Henry’s JJT in 2nd and Phillips’ DESIGNSTAR II in 3rd.

Next weekends sees competitors and organizers alike take a well-earned break, before the series resumes the following weekend. We look forward to seeing you then! Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ and Hamo Thornycroft.   For more Garmin Hamble Winter Series sailing information