35th Hamble Winter Series - Race Report Week 1
A chilly start greeted competitors on the first day of the 2016 Hamble Winter Series – but the sun soon warmed up the Solent to deliver an enjoyable day on the water in bright sunshine.
Out on the race area, the wind settled to a shifty 6 knot northerly at start time – but despite the strong tides there was enough wind to get a race in. This year's series sees a strong entry of winter series stalwarts but also lots of new boats – leaving the podium very much up for grabs in all classes.
To give all fleets a chance to get ashore in good time, the race committee had advised they may reverse the starting order on occasion this year - and thus it was the smaller end of the fleet, IRC 4, that was the first to start.
In all classes, the fleet soon split up the first beat, and a left shift near the top mark lifted those who had chosen that side onto the layline.
The wind eased during the race, but filled in in patches to make for a classic game of snakes and ladders, with gains there for the taking for boats who could take advantage of the wind and tide.
First in IRC4 was Impala 28 Polly (Meakins and Cudmore), with Sigma 33 Stan the Boat (Toby Gorman) second and Impala Two Frank (Olly Love and Sam Flint) third. The Impala 28 class, racing in IRC4, sponsored the day's racing – and Barney Smith's Imptish made up the final spot on the Impala podium.
In IRC 3, HRSC stalwart La Nef IV (John Noe) beat J/92S Upstart (Robin Stevenson) to take the top spot, with Anna Gordon's Quatrosolutions Pandanova II in third.
Pandanova II topped the Sigma 38s, racing in IRC 3 but with extracted results, ahead of With Alacrity (Chris and Vanessa Choules) and Light (Richard Kern).
J/109s dominated the IRC2 class in terms of numbers – and it was Jiraffe (Simon Perry) and Jago (Mike Yates) that took the two top slots, with longstanding winter series competitor, Elan 37 Elaine (Mike Bridges) in third.
In IRC 1, Nifty, Sam Cox's King 40, took both line honours and top spot on corrected time, ahead of Fast Tack Puma (James Wilkie) and Old Mother Gun (Philip Farrands).
Paul Ward and crew on Eat Sleep J Repeat kicked their series off to a good start by taking the top spot in the J/88 class. Tigris (Gavin Howe) and J-Dream (Richard and Kirsty Apthorp) completed the podium.
Commenting on the day's racing, Paul Ward, secretary of the J/88 Class said: "What a great way to get a busy autumn's sailing off to a good start with a sunny day on the water and good class racing for the J88 fleet. Thanks to the race team for a great day"
With one race completed, the easing wind and building tide led principal race officer Stuart Childerley to hoist AP over A and send the assembled fleet home for the day – giving crews the opportunity to enjoy the food and drink on offer at HRSC and discuss tactics overlooking the water from the sunny Clubhouse terrace.
PRO Stuart Childerley, commented: "Two new daily prizes have been introduced for this year's series: the 'best start of the day', chosen by the race committee, and the 'Top Dog' prize for the best performance, worked out based on the best corrected time over distance sailed totalled over all races of the day."
The best start this week was won by J/109 Jybe Talkin' and the Top Dog was another J/109, Jiraffe (Simon Perry).
The Impala 28 class association sponsored the day's racing, donating wine for the prizegiving held in a bustling HRSC clubhouse.
Organiser HRSC is looking forward to an action packed 8/9 October weekend, when the series is joined by the Hamble One Design Championships and the Hamble Big Boat championships, incorporating the 5th round of the Fast40+ 2016 race series. This will require a team of more than 50 people to deliver and thanks as ever go to the race team and volunteers both afloat and ashore, on whom the series depends.
If you would like to add the Winter Series to your marketing programme, please contact the Winter Series team on HWSteam@hrsc.org.uk