Enter online: http://www.garminhamblewinterseries.co.uk
Report from the Hamble River Winter Series by Liz Rushall on Whiskers
Hamble River SC did a cracking job running two Autumn Championship weekends over 8/9 and 22/23 October.
The Quarter Tonners were invited to join the 'One Design' start line, which was terrific as we were treated to a total of 14 epic windward leeward races.
HRSC did a great job banging off the starts quickly, and the QTs were frequently sent ahead of the J80s and SB3s when they hauled back under First Substitute, rather than being kept hanging about. Great race management although we did have one very interesting start line with the committee boat reversing down the line trying to stay on station - but closing the gap rather rapidly with the pin end. A bit like doing a gate start - but in reverse - as the line got smaller and smaller we all queued up to pop through the gap.
After a bit of ringing round and emailing, a quality fleet of Flashheart (Mike Webb and Annabel Vose), Bullet (good to see you back Howard) and Whiskers (Liz Rushall) went head to head for the whole series, with appearances from Runaway Bus, Innuendo, and Black Fun with new owner Rob Gray.
Conditions over both weekends ranged from moderate to gusty - to exceedingly wobbly, with a variety of spectacular wipeouts, and those unplanned pirouettes and triple toe loops performed by most of the fleet at some stage. (It's about 20 years since I've had the kite flying at the full extent of the halyard with sheets and guys flapping in the wind - like some corporate boat at Cowes Week - oops :-)
The first weekend left most of us going home to figure out how to get downwind in 25-30 knots and with a variety of spinnakers to patch up. Howard gets the prize for getting through every spinnaker in his sail locker!
Despite the small fleet size - the racing was highly competitive, full on and mostly importantly really good fun! Bullet and Whiskers seemed to have the windward mark magnet on, repeatedly meeting up there whilst creating different rules scenarios to try out - leading to much checking the books out and comparing notes afterwards and getting the grey matter going. All good learning.
The overall results finished with Whiskers 1st, Bullet 2nd and Flashheart third. Thanks to HRSC for great racing and very friendly reception for the Quarter Tonners - and hopefully we can extend the season again next year and get a few more boats out to play.