56th Warming Pan 24th & 25th March 2018
Published 10:24 on 29 Mar 2018
56th Warming Pan 24th & 25th March 2018
Race Officer, Kathy Smalley, informed the fleet at the briefing for the 56th Warming Pan that "This is river racing; if the wind shifts I cannot move the river!" What she failed to mention was that she would also be unable to move any 50 foot motor cruisers that had yet to work out where astern was on the throttle lever. The relatively mild weather and light breezes saw an unusual number of motor and sailing cruisers desperate to go to sea after a disappointing winter. The great majority of these vessels timed their departure for 10.30 am which of course was start time for the Warming Pan. Even Paul Heys, of Key Yachting, arrived with a very large block of flats (Catamaran), just before the warning signal. Clearly, he had not read the memo banning yacht sales between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm on Warming Pan days!55
Despite these additional little challenges, the start sequence was completed just about on time and the fleet proceeded to beat and fetch down the river before looping between two laid marks in Southampton Water. The quicker Merlins looped 3 times and the slower Aeros and Finns looped twice before running back to a mark off the Hamble Public Jetty and thence to the start and finish line. The crews, who were not as cold as they thought they would be, then came ashore for baked potatoes and hot drinks at Hamble River Sailing Club.
So balmy were the conditions that, during the afternoon start sequence, the Aero's could be heard discussing how hot they were. The second race followed the same course as the first and at the end of day one Chris Gould and Chris Kilsby in Peer Pressure, led the Merlin Silver Tiller fleet with two bullets. Toby Schofield in the Aero 7, named Aero 7, was leading that fleet. Ian Southworth, in Giggles, was leading the Foxers, who as usual were operating in the pool on the other side of the river.
Day two saw similar weather to day one, with grey clouds and the odd bit of sun breaking through. The wind however, had conveniently moved to the North allowing Race Officer Smalley to lay a windward mark off the Chinese Bridge one mile north of the club line and a leeward mark in the pool just south of the "School of Nav" and its pier. Once again cruising boats timed their arrival to perfection, and to the delight of all on the starting platform, one unlucky owner was spotted in full astern trying to stay ahead of the sixteen Merlin Rockets. This was a race he was not going to win.
As the Merlins completed the beat to the Chinese Bridge it became clear that the big decision was where to go after rounding the mark. The first ten or twelve boats headed back down the Fairway or off to the West bank. The Oldie, Caroline Croft and Matt Lullham-Robinson, had other ideas and went for clear air and no tide on the East side. In doing so, they took out eight of their competitors in less than half a mile and it was no surprise when there was a mass gybe eastwards as a gap in the pontoons became available.
At the end of day two, as you would expect, things were very close in the Merlin results. Night Fury Stuart Bithell and Tom Pygall, had pipped Gould and Kilsby in Peer Pressure by one point. Kayser Soze, Andy Davis and Alex Warren, was separated from Peer Pressure on countback. The battle in the Foxer fleet was no less keen. Chris Hamel managed to squeeze Booby Sparkler ahead of Giggles Ian Southworth, on countback in the fifteen strong Foxer fleet. Snow Fox, Shaun Barber was third. An honourable mention must go Georgie Vintner in Bonkers, a very creditable 8th in only her second outing. Toby Schofield in Aero 7 hung on to his day one lead with Gareth Griffiths, G on an Aero Sting, second and Minty, Karen Main in third.
The raffle in aid of Sail for Cancer, which preceded the prize giving, raised £355.
Full results can be found here: http://www.hambleriversc.org.uk/hrsc-results/open-results
Last updated 13:04 on 28 March 2019