Menacing skies, a torrential rain squall and an indecisive breeze couldn't stop the assembled Garmin Hamble Winter Series fleet from getting in some cracking racing on the sixth weekend of the series.
After a vicious rainsquall caught the fleet on the way out, the wind shifted around between southeast and northerly until it settled in the northeast for long enough to get a good race in for all classes. The race team combined some starts to get everyone away in good time, with all classes sailing short courses between Royal Southern and East Knoll buoys. This led to some close-quarters racing to keep everyone on their toes, but the frequent windshifts gave tacticians the chance to make some big gains up the beats and down the runs.
In IRC 0, Chris Body's J/111 Icarus added a first place to her scoreline which leaves her equal on points with fellow J/111, JourneyMaker II. Tony Lambert's Night Owl 2 finished 2nd, with Paul Aisher's Tangent Minus One in third.
In IRC 1, It's Bernard Olesinski's Xinska that has been dominating the series, but this week Stuart Wilkie's Puma and Tim Octon's Doyle Sails finished 1st and 2nd respectively, pushing Xinska into 3rd.
J/88 Ji Fi sailed a great race to take the top spot in IRC 2, ahead of Mike Bridges' Elaine in 2nd and Paul Hayes' Jongleur in third, while in IRC 3 it was Charles Ivill's J/97 JTB Tyres Just Like That which finished just under two minutes ahead of Steve Bromley's Aneet Djinn to take the top spot. Wee Bear was third.
In the J/109s Adrian Wheal's Jolly Jack Tar added another first to her scoreline, with Owain Franks' Jynnan Tonnyx in 2nd place. In the Sigma 38s, Nigel Goodhew's Persephone added another win to her score to make for 6 wins from 7 races. Chris and Vanessa Choules' With Alacrity, back on the water this week with a new boom, finished 2nd, with Rob Lee's Kindred Spirit in 3rd.
As ever things were close in the IRC 4 class. This week it was quarter tonner Flashheart who got clear of the fleet and finished first on the water and corrected time. Impala 28 Polly was second, with J/95 Crakajax in third. The Impala 28 fleet, racing in IRC 4, has seven boats competing this year, and was won by Polly, with Olly Love and Sam Flint's Two Frank in second and Barney Smith's Imptish in third.
Sponsors Garmin have provided a VIRB action camera for competitors to record their racing. The video below shows Two Frank gybing around the hamblewinterseries.com mark. The camera is available to borrow from the club office.
Having endured one rainsquall before the race, competitors were relieved that the clouds held their rain until the fleet was assembled in the HRSC clubhouse for the prizegiving, were day prizes were presented by Peter Kay and Ian Brown from One Sails, who have been longstanding supporters of the Hamble Winter Series for over 20 years.
Next week sees the penultimate weekend of racing in the 2014 Garmin Hamble Winter Series. Bring it on!
Report by Ben Meakins
Photos by Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com.