Competitors enjoy light breeze during third weekend of Garmin Hamble River Winter Series

The third weekend’s racing at the Garmin Hamble River Winter Series, sponsored by Quantum Sail Design Group, started in an 8kt south-westerly breeze which increased slightly during the day.

Black Fleets

The IRC 1 start was clean and ‘Exabyte 2’ choose a pin end start and went off to the left but ‘Jump’ (Stewart Hawthorn) and most of the Prima 38s tacked on to port and went off towards Calshot. The three Mumm 30s have elected to race under their IRC ratings. By the laid top mark it was one of these, ‘Asterix’ (Louis Browne), who rounded just ahead of the Beneteau 44.7 ‘Vespucci’s Black Sheep’ (Leo Gifford).

‘Vespucci’s BS’ was finally overtaken by Stewart Hawthorn’s J/133 ‘Jump’ but Jerry Otter’s IMX-40 ‘Exabyte 2’ finished close enough in 3rd to take the race on corrected time. For the next start, IRC 2, last year’s winner ‘Quokka’ (Peter Rutter) also went left. ‘Flair IV’ (Jim McGregor) was caught behind the line and took some time to work into clear air. By the top mark ‘Flair IV’ had managed to climb through the fleet to round 4th but ‘Quokka’ was well down. Martin Moody helming ‘Quokka’ made steady progress for the rest of the race to finish 3rd and take 2nd place on handicap but ‘Flair IV’ now has two wins to her credit.

Since the bowsprit boats were given their own class the numbers have steadily improved each year. In this series there are 27 entries so far, divided between J/105s & J/109s with Nick Douthwaite’s Max Fun 35 ‘Mad Max’ as the only exception. Michael Jones’s J/109 ‘Joyride’ was leading boat at the first mark and was never threatened and he led home the bigger boat by 90 seconds. The margin of victory was even greater for ‘Cerefe’ (Richard and Valerie Griffith) in the Sigma 33 class. They led from the start and built up a five-minute plus lead by the finish.

White Fleet

The Cork 1720s were the first class to start and Darren and Georgie Baker’s ‘Mad Cow’ pulled out a 90 second lead on ‘Running Guns’ (John Evans) to take the first race. Using a separate committee boat for finishing enabled the race team to start their afternoon race whilst the other classes were still racing. And the roles were reversed. John Evans kept a small lead until the final tack of the last leg when he dropped the tiller and allowed the Bakers to snatch another victory. Heaven knows how many rounds of drinks he will have to buy the crew before he is forgiven!

Surprisingly, for a class that has such close racing, Mark Gillett (‘Pocket Battleship’) managed to pull away from the rest of the 707 fleet in the first race and he was followed home by ‘Sword’ (Simon Law and Chris Eddy) who had also got away from the pack behind. In the afternoon ‘Sword’ went one better and took her first win of the series and the prize for best in class for the day. In the other classes Paul and Marie-Claude Heys’ entry ‘Key Yachting’ won both Sportsboat races and although numbers were slightly thinner in the Laser SB3 class Geoff Carveth won in the morning from Messers Morland, White and Groves, who which to ‘Remain Nameless’. The Sarahs , Webb and Ayton were 3rd and then went on to win the 2nd race from ‘WKD Red Vodka’ (Ben Duke).