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Henri Lloyd 2016 Freedom

Hamble River Sailing Club Early Bird Wednesday Series - Day 1

by Trevor Pountain 31 Mar 15:31 BST 29 March 2017

Just after mid-day on Wednesday, Article 50 was triggered in Brussels, and, as the race team crept out of the Hamble everything looked grey and dismal. The committee boat "Obsession" kept a good look out for the cliff edge widely predicted for this occasion but, all they found was a lack of water at Mark and generally on the North Shore of the Solent.

Course Race Officer, Mike Dellar, pulled a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket, not a letter, as it turned out, but courses already prepared for such an eventuality. The team settled down with a chocolate bar and waited to see if any brave souls would wander out to the start area. Southampton VTS helpfully informed the RO that there would be no movements to concern the Race Team for the next couple of hours.

Suddenly, yachts began to appear at the mouth of the Hamble, and, by the time sequence began a very creditable nine boats were in the start area. "Forethought of Gosport", Mike James, led "Greyling", Peter Kay in a very tentative Class 3 start. Five minutes later, the combined Class 2 & 1 start was somewhat more exciting. The Impala 28, "Voodoo" nearly made an excellent fist of it, despite the skippers daughter, Verity, shouting "Get down Dad!" as they approached the Committee Boat.

The biggest fear of this post Brexit evening, and most other Wednesday nights come to that, was that the wind would die away and the competitors would get more use out of their CE approved nav lights than their sails. With this in mind "Obsession" went mobile and followed the fleet towards William and Royal Southern, the respective turning marks of the two starts. Class 3 were, by this time, making very slow progress against the strengthening flood tide on the beat up to Hamble Winter Series. As "Forethought" crept round Hamble Winter Series, the decision was taken to shorten the course at Hamble Point instead of the planned Club Line finish.

"Forethought" scampered home with the tide under her to win Class 3, and the wait began for the other eight boats. Gradually, out of the mist and murk, sails were identified and red and green lights began to twinkle. "M'Enfin?!", managed to beat the only Class 1 entry, the J80 XS, over the water to be first home in Class 2. This Corby 25, with its French owners (Sophie and Bertrand) and Irish sail number, having recovered from an awful start and bump on the bottom near William, saved its time on "Two Frank", Impala 28, Sam Flint and Olly Love. "Mist" Ross and Undraa Elliston's Nicholson 32 came third.

Last home was the Folkboat "Greyling" Peter Kay's recent acquisition. A combination of little wind and a strengthening tide meant that the egg whisk was called into action to bring it home.

Competitors and race team hurried back to the club house for hot food and odd beverage. For the first time in three years the NHC was not in use, it being replaced by the old club handicap system and so far everyone was happy. Next week, Mike Dellar, will be fostering goodwill with our European friends by delivering a Sigma 33 to Germany. The series will, however, go on regardless.

Full results can be found at www.hrsc.org.uk/club-results