Race 5 of the ‘Tyco Healthcare’ Hamble River Winter Series saw the new fleet of Laser SB3s grow to 12 boats, dominating the entries amongst the mixed Sportsboat fleet
Race 5 of the ‘Tyco Healthcare’ Hamble River Winter Series saw the new fleet of Laser SB3s grow to 12 boats, dominating the entries amongst the mixed Sportsboat fleet.
With previous races consisting mainly of gales, rain, and cancellations, the fleet were pleased to sail to the start line under clear skies and a steady 10-knot northerly.
A short postponement allowed the fleet to arrive at the start line in time for the first race. Once away the fleet soon split with some boats opting for the tidal advantage in the channel, and some heading for the breezier shore side. After 50 minutes of racing and some exciting close fleet action it was Cork Week champ Hugh Watson, sailing 3042 straight ‘out of the box’, taking line honours with some dominating upwind sailing, ahead of new boy on the block Pete Harrison in ‘Stress Bunny’. Stewart Hawthorn put in a consistent performance to hold third place.
The welcome sunshine for the second race also meant a loss of a couple of knots of breeze as the fleet headed for the Hill Head shore. On the second upwind leg the fleet was split again in its decision for sailing with the tide or gambling on the increased breeze along the shore. The shore paid, with Tony Kilby in ‘ER’ showing a new turn of speed to lead the fleet across the line. Jerry Hill again demonstrated his form in the SB3 class and Mark Richards sailing ‘Hyde Sails’ showed signs of the pace he had earlier in the season.
With three race days left, and more boats showing up each weekend, the growing Laser SB3 fleet is showing the rest of the Solent its pedigree and strength in numbers.