HRSC Bottle Pursuit 3 May 2017: Race Report
HRSC the Bottle Pursuit 3 May 2017
With the Early Bird Series finished and the A Series not planned for another week, the Bottle Pursuit gives some relief from the cut and thrust of fleet racing when everyone starts together. In theory, in a pursuit everyone starts at a different time and they all appear on the finish line together. When the fleet comprises of a Sigma 38 at one end and an XOD at the other and all manner of boats in-between this can be a challenge. This minor miracle relies on two things, one, the handicap committee getting the start times spot on and, two, the race committee coming up with exactly one and a half hours of racing. Simples!
There was one element that the race team didn't have to worry about – water. First high was at 17.50 and second high was 19.15 with over 4m at both. This meant that all options in terms of race marks were go. The wind however was not quite as kind. 12kts from the NE meant that in order to get some windward work the fleet would have to go south first from the start at Bald Head.
The scratch boat(s) for the 90 minutes racing was the XOD. Fortunately, the Hamble Division Class Captain, Tim Harding, was on duty to help with the course length calculation. Six miles was the answer and the piece of string with the 5 mile knot in it was wound round the pins on the chart until the six mile course was finalised. Zetman, Sposa, hamblewinterseries.com, Darling Bouy, Reach and Hamble Point were the chosen marks, and at 18.30 precisely the XOD's crossed the start line prepared to be chased down by the bigger boats. One by one the fleet crossed the start line and in the case of the Impala's several at the same time until, at 18.56, the last starter, Steph Merry's 1720 "Midnight Cowboy" began the chase. In her immediate sights was Rob Denning's Sigma 38 "Light" making her first appearance of the season.
The Committee Boat "Obsession" went mobile in order to shorten the course at the 90 minute cut off, but it soon became apparent that the XODs were not going to struggle round the six miles at all. Indeed, they looked to be coming home early due to the flat water and the continued good breeze. When the windward legs turned out to be fetches this early finish became 25 minutes early and five of the six XODs became uncatchable.
X96 Paul Jones beat X166 Simon Russell by 1 minute and 28 seconds with X13 Wilson, Wilson and Neal a further 1 minute and 24 seconds back. That dealt with the chocolates and the rest, as they say, is academic. But, the readership will demand a few more details of their glorious failures. A trio of Impalas followed the XOD white wash, "Vlad" Peter Dessent, "Fearnought" Mike Jones and "Imptish Smith, Tullett and Hance. The latter going quite quickly with a clean bottom! Then after the final XOD came "Anne Louise" Peter Slimming and "La Nef IV" John Noe driven by son Peter.
The presence of the "OOCL Korea" in the very close by main channel lent a bit of excitement to the finishing fleet and "Light" was seen to tack very rapidly at the sight of it creeping past Calshot Castle. "Mist" managed to finish as the container ship cleared the finish area. "Light" Rob Denning came home last, which allowed Steph Merry to claim that they "overtook at least one boat".
Next week sees the start of the A Series, when serious racing will take place under blue skies with a steady warm breeze. Kathy Smalley will be in charge and all will be well.
Last updated 16:02 on 25 May 2017