Competitors faced big winds for the fourth weekend's racing at the Garmin Hamble River Winter Series

The fourth weekend of the Garmin Hamble River Winter Series took place last weekend (30 October) and was sponsored by Barrett Homes of Southampton.

White Fleets

The strong southerly wind combined with a short, confused chop off the mouth of Southampton Water gave everyone a full-on day’s racing. The wind started at 20 kts and built to 30 kts in the rainsquall that passed through during the start of the first race sequence. Even before the start a 1720 lost a crewmember overboard on the sail out. The crewmember was quickly returned to the boat but they decided to return to shore rather than race. A case of valour being the better part of discretion.

Race 1 and five 1720s made the start line and the first windward mark. ‘La Licorne’ lost her rig on the run back to the bottom mark and all the others suffered broaches or dropped their gennakers in the strong conditions. By the time they reached the top mark for the final time only two boats were left standing. Darren and Georgie Baker’s ‘Mad Cow’ had a good lead over Brett Lewis and Norman Armstrong’s ‘Storm’. Another 1720 featured in the Sportsboat class. Having built up a good lead on the first lap Shane Hughes sailing ‘Key Yachting’ completed the second beat under jib only. Having rounded the spreader mark and stabílised the boat on the run a man was sent up the mast to sort out a rigging problem before getting under full sail and going on to record the first of their two wins.

With the Laser SB3s having had a general recall the next fleet away was the 707s. ‘Censored’ (Messers Gorman, Williams, Breslin and Simmonds) led the 17 boats to the windward mark closely followed by Harry Hall and Tim Hunt in ‘This is Jeff’ and Mark Gillett sailing ‘Pocket Battleship’. Over the next lap these three pulled away from the pack until Paul Curtis, ‘Sparkle, managed to haul in and overtake ‘Jeff’ on the last run to finish third behind ‘PB’ and ‘Censored’. When the SB3s did restart three were caught OCS. By the top mark ‘Chaf My Ride’ had a small lead from ‘Monex’ (James Howells). The following bunch of boats were slightly hampered by a Black Fleet boat making its belated way to the other start area. ‘Chaf My Ride’, with four up this week, continued to draw away from the others. ‘Monex’ finished only find that they were declared OCS and this left Ben Duke in ‘WKD Vodka Red’ to beat ‘Remain Nameless’ (Andrew Morland, Stephen White, Keith Groves) by one second for 2nd place.

Perhaps unsurprisingly there were fewer participants in the afternoon set of races. The wind, having abated slightly towards the end of the first race, built again and caused more problems, mainly on the downwind legs. Ben Duke improved on his morning result to take his first victory in the series and move up to 4th place overall in the SB3s. Mark Gillett is starting to tighten his grip on the 707 class. He recorded another win in the second race and has now won five of the six races that have been sailed. Only two 1720s stayed for the afternoon and ‘Mad Cow’ won with ‘Storm’ the other boat.

Black Fleet

Out in the mid-Solent the conditions were very similar to the White Fleet. The start sequence for all classes were clean and the first beat took the boats over towards the Island before a cascade of legs to a finish at either Air Canada or East Knoll.

In IRC 1 three boats broke away from the fleet. Leo Gifford’s Beneteau 44.7 ‘Vespucci’s Black Sheep’ level pegged with Stewart Hawthorn’s J/133 ‘Jump’ around the course but less than a minute behind them Jerry Otter’s IMX-40 ‘Exabyte 2’ had enough in hand on corrected time to record his second win in the three races so far completed. Several boats had problems with their spinnakers on the last run and one boat had to sail the last beat with the top 10 ft of spinnaker flying from her masthead. IRC 2 again provided one of the most fascinating battles. ‘Quokka’ and ‘Flair IV’ were more or less side-by-side on the last long beat back to Norris. In fact they were so intent on their duel that Paul McNamara and Tony Lowe’s Beneteau 40.7 ‘Incognito’ managed to gain an advantage at the mark , which they further extended on the run back to the north shore. ‘Incognito’ and ‘Puma Logic’ both went to the right on this leg, whilst the other two continued their tussle on the left hand side. The right side paid and ‘Flair IV’ and ‘Quokka’ rounded the last mark in 3rd and 4th place respectively. Martin Moody helming ‘Quokka’ finished 32 seconds behind ‘Flair IV’ and this was close enough to give them their first win and narrow the points gap to be one point behind Jim McGregor at the halfway stage.

IRC 3 is starting to be a contest between John Webb’s J/35 ‘Just Plain Sailing’ and Neville Hodkin’s X-362 ‘Extra Djinn’. John gained another win this week to also hold a one point lead overall. Behind these two 3rd and 4th place were decided by one second on corrected time. Siobhan Hayes’ X-362 ‘Aquaholix’ edged out the Elan 333 ‘Great Scot III’ of Eurof Philips and Barbara Mackay. The two Sigma classes saw new names on the winners’ list. Nigel Goodhew, ‘Persephone’, and Michael Birmingham on board ‘Oxygen’ won the 38 and 33 classes respectively. Peter Parker (IRC 4) and Ian Dawson (X-332) both added second victories to their overall scores. Also in the X-332 class was the unluckiest competitor this week. Having finished the race safely David Quarell was sailing ‘Xiphias of Dee’ back to Hamble when the rig fell overboard. Ouch!

Results (provisional)


IRC 1 IMX-40 Exabyte 2, Jerry Otter

IRC 2 Elan 37 Quokka, Peter Rutter

IRC 3 J-35 Just Plane Sailing, John Webb

IRC 4 Oyster 37 Prime Cut, Peter Parker

Bowsprit J/109 Zelda, Mike Ewart-Smith and Ben Richards

X-332 Glide-X, Ian Dawson

Sigma 38 Persephone, Nigel Goodhew

Sigma 33 Oxygen, Michael Birmingham


1720 Race 1 Mad Cow, Darren and Georgie Baker

1720 Race 2 Mad Cow, Darren and Georgie Baker

Laser SB3 Race 1 Chaf My Ride, Ayton / Webb / Rawlinson

Laser SB3 Race 2 WKD Vodka Red, Ben Duke

J/80 Race 1 Just Savage, Liz Savage

J/80 Race 2 Just Savage Liz Savage

Sportsboats Race 1 1720 Key Yachting, Shane Hughes

Sportsboats Race 2 1720 Key Yachting, Shane Hughes

Hunter 707 Race 1 Pocket Battleship, Mark Gillett

Hunter 707 Race 2 Pocket Battleship, Mark Gillett