Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Windy Start to Hamble Winter Series

J/109 sailing downwind 
(Hamble, England)- The famous Hamble Winter Series has started on the Solent and Southampton Water, hosted by the Hamble Sailing Club. The classes include IRC handicap as well as one-design fleets of J/70s in southern United Kingdom.

It all started quietly enough on Saturday, with PRO Kathy Smalley announcing at 11:04 hrs on the WhatsApp group that they were “waiting for the wind". Later, she then announced, “still waiting" at 13:04 hrs. The prospects for the first day of the 38th HYS Hamble Winter Series looked bleak. Then, a glimmer of hope from the East. Barney Smith on the One-Design CV reported that, “the wind is coming", and so it did. One-design Race Officer Ian Bullock had suggested patience would be required and he was quite right. The team on CV Flightwing wasted no time starting two races for the J/70s in the Hamble One-Design Championship, the second one starting just before the 15:00 hrs cut off. Out on the IRC start area, in the vicinity of 4W (Goodall Roofing), by 13:00 hrs a light 6-10 knots from the East gave the boats in the Autumn IRC Championship one race. There were cautious starts all round and no recalls.

Over on the One Design Course, the Bullock/Robinson Race Committee PRO Team won all the plaudits by getting through four races on the day and having a complete series. The J/70's were particularly impressed by this. They placed the start line where they were when the water pump packed up on CV Flightwing. As the wind increased the view from the CV became rather exciting. There was a good deal of discussion as to what constituted "in the normal sailing position" when finishing. Did the top of the mast qualify as the front part of the boat during a broach?
J/70s sailing Solent, England
Marshall King in SOAK RACING was able to discard a third and count only one second place for an amazing six points to win the J/70 Class. Tim Collins’ EV EXPERTS was five points back in second. Thor Askeland & Rob Larke’s MJOLNIR came third with 20 points. Rounding out the top five was Jack Davies’ YETI in 4th and Simon Weeks’ MIMI’S in 5th place.

In IRC 2 Class, Simon Perry’s J/109 JIRAFFE, a serial winter series winner, took the bullet followed by David Richards’ J/109 JUMPING JELLYFISH in 2nd and John Smart’s JUKEBOX in 3rd in what already looks like a J/109 benefit regatta. In IRC 1 Class, Chaz Ivill’s J/112E DAVANTI TYRES took second place.

With a nice steady west northwesterly forecast, but low water, the two RC PRO’s Kathy Smalley and Peter Bateson took the IRC Classes out to Ryde Bank for Race Day 2. The plan was to run a short cascade of windward-leeward courses, starting at one end of the Ryde Bank, and finishing at the other end.

"Everyone was very civilized on the start line with no recalls, best not to risk anything with a Smalley at each end of the line,” laughed Kathy.

The plan for the second race was to finish closer to Hamble, where beer and cheesy chips were the order of the day. However, as is often the case, the wind Gods had a surprise up their sleeves. Suddenly, the wind was up in the 20's with gusts closer to 30 knots. A number of teams radioed in to say thanks for the first race, but they were now off home! Nevertheless, many others loitered in the start area, as if they wanted a second race. The race committee was ready to provide it. With an increasing wind a simple course was set to West Ryde Middle, back to South Ryde Middle, then up to West Ryde Middle, and so to the finish.
J/109 rounding mark
Now the fun really began, and those with memories of Cowes Week could put their recently acquired heavy weather skills to the fore. There was even a suggestion from Lis Robinson that there was an RYA Directive stating that all events must have wind in excess of 25 knots to be considered “proper sailing” events. Be that as it may, the stronger conditions made for entertaining viewing from the CV committee boat.

"Boats were rocking all over the place downwind, many broaching wildly,” said one of the race team. Adding that, “it is slightly unnerving on an anchored committee boat seeing a boat with a bowsprit broaching straight at you!!”

Chris Daniel’s J/122E JUNO, leading IRC 1 Class overall, was unfortunately hit by a Sigma 38 in a port/starboard incident when the mainsheet jammed on. The subsequent hearing gave redress to JUNO,  allowing her to win class by two and a half points.

Perry’s J/109 JIRAFFE won IRC 2 Class with a 1-2-1 series. Third was Smart’s J/109 JUKEBOX, followed by Richards’ J/109 JUMPING JELLYFISH in 4th and Roger Phillips’ J/109 DESIGNSTAR in 5th place. In the J/109 sub-class, those four boats finished in the same order. Also, amongst the J/88 sub-class, winning was Gavin Howe’s TIGRIS, followed by Dirk van Beek’s SABRIEL JR in 2nd and Tim Tolcher’s RAGING BULL in 3rd place.

In IRC 3 Class, Ralph Mason’s J/92 JABBERWOCK finished tied for third place, losing the countback to finish fourth in class.  More great pictures of Sunday's action can be found on Paul Wyeth's website.   For more Hamble Winter Series sailing information