Big winds force abandonment of small class racing at Garmin Hamble Winter Series 29/10/07

The Solent showed its teeth yesterday for the first time in this year’s Garmin Hamble Winter Series with a south-westerly wind that was never below 20 knots, and at times was over 30. The race officers made the prudent decision to abandon all racing for the smaller White Fleet classes, but then laid on a ripper for the yachts of the Black Fleet.

First away was the IRC 3 class, whose Race 2 a couple of weeks ago was abandoned after a timing problem made the results unreliable, and the idea was that they would have a second race on Day 4 to bring them up to quota. However, the day was not really suitable for that to happen, so another attempt will be made on Day 5. Winners of the race that did take place were the remarkable Meakins Family in their Sigma 38 Festina Lente, not making haste slowly, but very rapidly indeed.

Next to depart were the 45 footers of the Garmin Hamble Big Boat Series which was into its fourth and final day (see previous news story here) , followed by the Big Boat Series IRC 0 class combined with the Winter Series IRC 0 yachts – Tony McBride’s ‘Novus Arca’ was the winner of the Winter Series part. Lucy Macgregor’s ‘Premier Flair’ won IRC 1, as she had the previous week, and Mike Brough’s ‘Steady Barker’ won IRC 2 to take over the class lead.

The J/109s and J/105s generally enjoy a good heavy weather race, and it was Ben Richards’ and Michael Ewart-Smith’s Zelda that won the former, with Vernon Bradley’s Dream On winning the latter.

Perhaps not surprisingly on a tough day like this there were a number of incidents and accidents that led to retirements, including a couple of crew members overboard, but these were handled in a seamanlike manner and neither was the worse for the experience. One of the things that competitors in late season series racing need to be prepared for is to take on the elements in a variety of conditions, and Day 4 was certainly at the tougher end of the scale. One thing that is always noticeable in the Hamble Winter Series is that there is very little difference in the number of starters in each class whether the conditions are light or heavy.

The day’s racing was sponsored by Quantum Sail Design Group.

Next Sunday is the mid-point of the Winter Series, and a little light relief from the intensity of the Winter Series will be introduced by the annual Pursuit Race. As previously, the race will be in aid of The John Merricks Trust, Hamble Inshore Lifeboat and Sail-for Cancer.


Black Fleet Race Winners

IRC 0, ‘Novus Arca’ Tony McBride
IRC 1, ‘Premier Flair’ Lucy Macgregor
IRC 2, ‘Steady Barker’ Mike Brough
IRC 3, ‘Festina Lente’ Meakins Family
J/105, ‘Dream On’ Vernon Bradley
J/109, ‘Zelda’ Ben Richards & Michael Ewart-Smith
Sigma 38, ‘Festina Lente’ Meakins Family