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Hamble Classics Regatta 2017

by Jonty Sherwill on 19 Sep 15-17 September 2017

The 2nd Hamble Classics Regatta hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club (15-17 September) delivered another exceptional weekend of close competition for a diverse entry of 64 yachts split into eight classes, with celebrated classics plus gaffers, Metre yachts, dayboats and cruiser-racers racing in the Solent and based at the club's superb Prince Philip Yacht Haven.

The welcome arrival of the Spirit Yachts 'Oui Fling', Irvine Laidlaw's flush deck racer and Michael Hough's elegant 65ft Chloe Giselle spurred the addition of an IRC Zero division and this included Richard Loftus' iconic S&S Swan 65 Desperado, a yacht designed at around the event's pre-1971 eligibility benchmark and adding a thoroughbred classic profile to this exciting upshift in yacht size.

With a light northerly airstream forecast for the weekend the total contrast with the windy conditions in 2016 would provide new winners in some classes while in others established star performers showed typically consistent form. Racing on the 'green' course with Race Officer Stephen Parry and team, Fenton Burgin sailing Sioma won the all-Classic 6-Metre class from Tom Richardson's Thistle and Andy Short's Nancy, Simon Russell scored 4 wins in the 20ft XOD one-design class, while Adrian Green in Aurora pipped Rupert Street's Tschuss in the classic Dragon class, with newcomer Anthony Talbot in third place.

On the 'red' course for the larger yachts with PRO Peter Bateson in charge, Oui Fling won both races from Chloe Giselle and Desperado, while Steve Meakin and Andy Cassell of Ratsey Sails sailing Cormorant won the Gaffer 1 class, and in the 19-strong Regatta class Tim Yetman's West Solent One-Design Suvretta had the speed to win both races.

Giovanni Belgrano's all conquering Whooper again dominated IRC1, the class boosted this year by the much admired S&S designed 43ft Firebrand now owned by Ramona-Ann Gale (skipper Peter Cyriax), Lutine of Helford (James Youngman), the S&S yawl Laughing Gull (Barney Sandeman), David Murrin's Cetewayo, Brian Smullen's McGruer 55ft Cuilaun, Andrew Pearson's Bojar and Tim Gaukrogers' Swan 55 Kira, these new arrivals joining Breeze (Robbie Boulter), Misty (Stephen Card) and Charm of Rhu (Martin Thomas) but sadly missing was Jason Fry's Shantih of Cowes due to a faulty engine and Chris Frost's Swan 36 Finola, entered but not sailing.

As sailors enjoyed the Elephant Boatyard's Rum Party the Concours judging team of David Aisher (owner of Thalia, built in 1888) with Jane Coombs from the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and Rob Peake, editor of Classic Boat magazine, got to work inspecting the yachts before deciding the three category winners.

For the top award of Concours d'Elegance it was the fabulous Laurent Giles designed Lutine of Helford, for Concours d'Authenticité, the S&S yawl Laughing Gull, and for best presented GRP yacht it was Gloriana, a 1914 designed 16ft Hereshoff 12½ gaffer built in 1977 and owned by Ian Armstrong. Expertly crewed by his 7-year old son Rory they were also convincing winners of the Gaffer 2 racing division.

With the six event sponsors, Spinlock, Ratsey and Lapthorn Sailmakers, Performance Rigging, Classic Marine, Sandeman Yacht Company and the Elephant Boatyard all taking part in the racing and a charitible element (£900 donated to the Wetwheels charity during the weekend) the focus for next year's Hamble Classics will be to encourage even more classic style yachts, dayboats and gaffers to visit the River Hamble for this attractive and inclusive end of season regatta.

More information and full results can be found here.

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