Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Brilliant, Wet, Cold Hamble Winter Series- Week 2

J/70s sailing Hamble series (Hamble, England)- Anyone who doubted that the wonderful summer of 2018 was at an end has had it confirmed during the first two weeks of the HYS Hamble Winter Series. Rain and plenty of wind from the North has had competitors digging out the layers and the waterproofs.

Saturday saw the start of the Hamble One Design Championships for the J/70 fleet. The forecasts during the week promised average wind speeds of 20 kts with gusts in the region of 30 kts. In order to give the crews as much advanced notice as possible, PRO Roger Wilson and the team met on Friday night to reach a decision. The outcome was that racing would go ahead, but with a delay of one hour to give crews time to launch their boats and make it to the East Knoll starting area.

Racing got underway at the amended, appointed time with twenty-one J70s braving the conditions. All seemed well until a Cowes based yacht club decided to lay a windward gate inside the HODC windward gate causing some confusion at the top of the course. Race Abandoned! Negotiations with the Cowes based club as to where their buoys should be placed allowed Race 1 to go again. This time, despite two disqualifications under the U flag, all went well. The race team managed to get two more short races in and so at the end of Day one everything was back on track. In the J/70s, Clive Bush’s DARCY was in first place with two seconds and third place, followed by Martin Dent’s JELVIS and Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT.

J/88s enjoying Hamble Winter seriesSunday brought the IRC yachts to the Race Course for week two of the HYS Hamble Winter Series. As happens from time to time in the Solent, there was a distinct lack of water for Race Teams to run racing. The One Designs once again hogged the area around East Knoll, which meant PRO Kathy Smalley had to disappear to Ryde Bank to give the main winter series boats a decent course in the northerly winds and rain. Fortunately, the committee vessel this week had both gas and sugar to keep Kathy and the team going in the appalling conditions.

As ardent TV viewers will know, Orange is the new Black, and so it became on the start line when PRO Kathy Smalley, with a sugar rush, announced the pin to be Orange, when of course, everyone could see it was black. The color was corrected and racing began. To everyone's delight Class 1 got away cleanly for both starts, there being no appetite for an AP in the conditions. The J/112E DAVANTI TYRES sailed by Chaz Ivill and Paul Heys scored a first and second in the two races and is now sitting in second for both the Big Boat Championship and the Winter Series leaderboards.

J/70s sailing Hamble Winter SeriesClass 2 had a contested start in the first race and there was a huge windshift to the left in the second race that many boats missed. Reveling in the conditions was Mike & Susie Yates’ J/109 JAGO, handily winning both races to be leading the Winter Series by 9 pts!  After posting a 6-7 for the day, Gavin Howe’s J/88 TIGRIS is sitting in third overall for the series, just one point off second place.  The balance of the top five includes David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J/88 J-DREAM in 4th and Rob Cotterill’s J/109 MOJO RISIN in 5th. 

The One-Designs were also experiencing the big shifts associated with a northerly in the Solent. The second race had a 40-degree shift just as the boats arrived at the windward mark, which led to a straight-line spinnaker reach down to the leeward mark. This was not tactically taxing, but the serious grins on the crew's faces downwind said it all. In the J/70 fleet, which is also using the event as a World Qualifier, Clive Bush’s DARCY had three first on the day to finish top overall. Wards’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT and Dent’s JELVIS were second and third on the day.

All competitors were keen to congratulate the Race Team for operating in the foul conditions and special praise must go to the RIB mark-laying crews that somehow kept going all weekend.

Next week sees the final weekend of the Hamble One Design Championship, the final Sunday of the Hamble Big Boat Championship and week three of the HYS Hamble Winter Series.  Thanks for contribution from Trevor Pountain.

Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth  Follow the HYS Hamble Winter Series on Facebook here  For HYS Hamble Winter Series sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.