Hamble River SC Early Bird Series Race 2, 6/4/2016
Published 10:22 on 12 Apr 2016
Early Bird Series Race 2
Race 2 in the Early Bird Series saw the wind from the same NW direction as the previous week. This was the only similarity however, as this time there was a constant 15 – 20 knots with the odd gust of 28kts. In addition, the tide was flooding hard after a big Spring run that had left plenty of sand and mud round the edges of the course area.
The problem with accurate modern weather forecasting is that owners and crews can focus on the predicted gusts for a couple of days in advance of the race and this tends to lead to sail configurations that are ready for the top end of the scale. So it was that one, or two reefs were the order of the day in the start area, as crews looked for control lines in the blustery conditions that they had not used for a few months.
After P&O's Oriana had vacated the start area, Race Officer Mike Dellar decided on course that would be roughly windward leeward, with a charge up the Hamble to the Club Line to finish. The first leg would be on the wind from the start line to Fawley Deep a very convenient new green channel mark just a couple of cables NW of Hamble Point. To save some time and ensure everyone got round the course in daylight, the starts were combined.
There were five of the now ten strong HRSC Impala 28 fleet out, but two of them did not seem to understand the concept of starting together. "Voodo", Pete Rouse, despite full knowledge of the danger, already highlighted on Channel 72 by the RO, strayed east of the aptly named Bald Head and spent a minute or two spinning on its keel instead of crossing the line. Meanwhile, on "Imptish", Barney Smith, the crew had to drop the mainsail to repair a hole where the spreader patch should have been. They crossed the line under jib only and hoisted the main on the way to Fawley Deep. I am told that back at the dock after the race, two patches were found in the sail bag with "Port Spreader" and "Starboard Spreader" written on them!
The rest of the fleet made a much better fist of it, with those who chose the Committee Boat end of the line, like "Uproar", Scott, Akhurst and Palmer shooting ahead in clear strong air. Off the mouth of the Hamble, crews reported that strange wind patterns and sea monsters led to a few unexpected place changes. My own theory is that the passing Car Boat had something to do with it.
John Noe's "La Nef IV" was the first to start the downwind leg against the flood towards Stormforce Coaching, with "Vlad the Impala", Peter Dessent, and "Needlework" Patrick Pym and Peter Smith, in hot pursuit. "Imptish", now with mainsail aloft, followed by "Forethought of Gosport", Mike James, brought up the rear.
Rig configurations varied considerably again on this leg. Two boats including "Imptish", who had nothing to lose, hoisted kites and looked very comfortable. Others opted for the jib and reef set up, presumably on the advice of the Met Office.
Progress round the course was so swift that the Race Committee barely had time to prepare the finishing hooter, now with remote control activation, before the first boat "La Nef IV" appeared off the club, to take the Class 1 bullet.
"Vlad the Impala" finished next, but was unable to save her time on "Mist" Ross and Undraa Elliston who took the Class 2 victory. Those well-known record producers, Scott, Akhurst and Palmer brought "Uproar" home in third place, whilst "Voodo" and "Imptish", who like to give everyone a chance at the start, were split by "Cheeky Monkey", Aiden Barr.
Finally, "Forethought of Gosport" came home to win Class 3. All repaired to the club for Pork loin or Scampi, chips and beer.
Next week numbers should be up again as members gradually get their boats back into shape. The Impala 28 "Polly" Ben Meakins nearly made it this week having left the paint shed and stepping the mast. They have been replaced in the shed however, by National Impala Champions "Two Frank" Olly Love and Sam Flint, who are doing something to the decks.
Last updated 11:57 on 16 June 2021