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Hamble River Sailing Club Early Bird Wednesday Series - Day 4

by Trevor Pountain 21 Apr 13:01 BST 19 April 2017

The news that Parliament had voted overwhelmingly for a General Election on June 8th, drove unprecedented numbers of yachts to the Early Bird 4 start line on Wednesday evening; the prospect of 24 hour election news coverage at home being too much to bear. Thus, it came to pass that 21 boats ventured out on a beautiful spring evening.

The Race Team had plenty of water and a light SE breeze to play with so, the prospect of a windward/ leeward course between Coronation and Fawley Deep for Classes 1&2 was planned with a shorter leg to Bald Head for the smaller boats. The Class 3 and the XOD warning and preparatory signals had been sounded and signalled, when the breeze went 90 degrees right. The option of an AP with its associated delay was a no go, if the club supper was to be enjoyed on time, so the proposed beat to Coronation became a bit of a fetch. The return leg did give plenty of early season practice with a shy spinnaker and its associated bits of string.

This first start was uneventful. The same, however, cannot be said about the subsequent Class 1 & 2 start. With fourteen bigger and quicker boats reaching at the line something was bound to give, and sure enough there were two individual recalls and a bit of a do between" Imptish", (Impala 28, Barney Smith) and the pin end, Bald Head.

"Vlad the Impala" was the first OCS boat and she lived up the derivation of her name by trying to impale "Midnight Cowboy" when she returned without looking. Fortunately, there was only an audible bump with no holes or obvious damage to either party. "Vlad" did however have to perform a u- turn or two worthy of a Westminster politician before continuing on her way. The second OCS yacht was the Sothern's Academy J80. Having already used up the 3 free "see if you like it races" for non-members yachts the J80 was not going to be scored anyway.

The incident at the pin end was not reported fully until Beverly Smith (no relation) told me in confidence in the bar, exactly what happened. Allegedly, there were two riding turns in evidence on " Imptish" as she tried to squeeze past the pin and this severely handicapped Barney's ability to complete the manoeuvre. "Barney is a changed man" reported Bev," since completing his woodworking course in the West Country. He just shrugged his shoulders, and broke out the beer!"

Meanwhile, new member and returning Impala sailor Mike Jones got off to a flyer in his new purchase "Fearnought". Mike had originally sailed the Impala "Deer Hunter" back in the day, one of the clever Hunter names, for those of you old enough to remember the movie. Any thoughts that Mike and "Fearnought" might take time to get up to speed were dashed when he won Class 2 and beat the next Impala by 3 minutes 28 seconds. He did say after racing that it was a bit impolite of him to start like this, but I don't believe he was too concerned. The current theory amongst the rest of the fleet, beer driven it has to be said, is that "Fearnought" must be "well light"!

"M'enfin?!", Malas and Chudziak came second and Peter Dessent brought "Vlad" home third despite his eventful start. Take note Barney Smith. Despite "a lovely start", it is worth mentioning that Commodore Ken Munro only brought the Sigma 33 "Dino Volante" home in eight place, something to do with the guy and the genoa sheet being the same colour during a manoeuvre.

In Class 3, "Starfall", Adrian Hull, romped round the course to push "Forethought of Gosport" the current class leader into second place.

Paul Jones and crew in "Fantasy" won the XOD Class by some three minutes from" It" John Butt, leaving more fancied competitors such as Peter Baines in Tim Harding's "Calypso" and Andy Hamlett in "Satu" well off the pace. Andy was seen rushing off to throw buckets of water into "Satu" convinced she was too dry.

Steph Merry in "Midnight Cowboy" did not let the brush with "Vlad" deter her from winning Class 1 ahead of John Noe's "La Nef IV". An honourable mention must go to Trevor Wiffen who sailed his brand new Hanse 345 into 3rd place class single handed.

Next week sees the fifth and final race of the Early Bird Series and there are podium places up for grabs in all classes.

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