Freddie Freeloader and Fidessa Fastwave win respective classes at recently concluded Garmin Hamble Big Boat Series 29/10/07

The final weekend of the 10-race Garmin Hamble Big Boat Series took place on 27-28 October.

The racing was for two classes which turned out to be as different as chalk and cheese – 45 footers racing on level terms, and IRC 0 yachts on handicap. The breakdown of the level racing class this year was eight Farr 45s and two DK46s, while the IRC 0 class had an extremely diverse make-up, from a 70 foot 25 ton 12 Metre dating back to the 1987 America’s Cup, to a Ker 11.3 via an ultra modern TP52, a Rogers 46, a Beneteau First 44.7, a couple of Farr 40s, a J/133, and a MAT12 – almost a one-of-a-kind regatta, but all the more interesting for that.

The 45ft level racing was exactly what it said on the tin – level. No less than six boats (including the two DK46s) won races in the ten race series, and every boat featured in the top 4 places somewhere in the series, so no-one was really outclassed.

It would be nice to be able to say the IRC class was also closely fought, but Jerry Otter’s TP52 Fidessa Fastwave was so fast the others only saw her at the starts. Even on handicap she never fell below third place, and she was particularly impressive when the wind came up. Big Boat Series regular, Rob Goddard’s Farrfalina finished second overall in spite of a collision in Race 8 which put her and the other boat out for the remainder of the series. Third overall was the consistent J/133 Jammie Dodger of Neil Martin, and fourth place went to David Aisher’s Rogers 36 Yeoman XXXII.

In fifth overall was the 12 Metre Italia 7, owned and helmed by Richard Rankin. She was always a wonderful sight, and really came into her own when the wind came up on the penultimate day, taking a first and a second place. It was a pity that Richard had a prior engagement on the final day, when there was even more wind.

Conspicuous for her extravagant paint job and long name was John Stapleton’s Vespucci’s Black Sheep, which achieved sixth overall including a second place in Race 5. Jon Sanders’ Floating Voter missed the first five races, but made an impact on the second weekend when she won two races and had a second.

The Big Boat Series is something special, and there can be no doubt that what it lacks in numbers of participating boats is more than made up for by their quality.

Overall Results

Gamin Hamble Big Boat Series, 45′ level racing

1 ‘Freddie Freeloader’ Eamonn O’Nolan & Michelle Brachette, 29pts
2 ‘Fortis Excel’ Agne Nilsson, 33pts
3 ‘Exabyte Four’ Shaun Frohlich 48pts
4 ‘Alice 2’ Simon Henning 55pts
5 ‘Dark & Steamy’ Nick & Annie Haigh 55pts
6 ‘Fraxious’ Jack Pringle 62pts
7 ‘Shockwave’ Dr Nick Lutte 67pts
8 ‘Espresso Martini’ Jeff Blue 83pts
9 ‘Atomic of Cowes’ Sue Pettinger 91pts
10 ‘Rebel’ Stewart Whitehead 100pts

Garmin Hamble Big Boat Series, IRC 0 class

1 ‘Fidessa Fastwave’ Jerry Otter 30pts.
2 ‘Farrfalina’ Rob Goddard 41pts.
3 ‘Jammy Dodger’ Neil Martin 46pts
4 ‘Yeoman XXXII’ David Aisher 52pts
5 ‘Italia 7’ Richard Rankin 61 pts
6 ‘Vespucci’s Black Sheep’ John Stapleton 66pts
7 ‘Floating Voter’ Jon Sanders 73pts
8 ‘Hooligan VI’ Edward Broadway 101pts
9 ‘Moonraker’ Richard Williams 121pts.