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Foxers to the fore at the Royal Southern Yacht Club 175 Regatta

by Peta Stuart-Hunt 3 May 2012 06:55 BST 8 June 2012
Foxer Class from Hamble © RSrnYC

It was a Royal Southern Yacht Club and Hamble River Sailing Club member Hedley Bewes who first approached fellow member and yacht designer David Thomas 20 years ago with a brief for a small one-design sailing dinghy suitable for racing in the confines of the Hamble River amongst the moored yachts. Now, one of many highlights of the Royal Southern's 175 Regatta, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, is the Foxer Class racing on the evening of Friday 8th June.

The Hamble Foxer fleet now boasts well over 50 dinghies and, masterminded by Class Captain John Duff, the Foxer's have a year-round programme that includes racing every Sunday morning together with a Summer time Friday evening series. In addition, the Class holds an annual championship -(Interstellar) - and a ladies championship for the Stiletto Trophy.

Competitive and popular with the top professionals

With a simple single sail rig and built in buoyancy, the Foxer provides safe competitive one-design racing that attracts some of the best-known sailors around - a great tribute to Hedley's and David's brief and design concept. Vital stats are as follows:

  • Length: 3.25m (10' 8")
  • Sail Area (Mono): 6.3m² (68 sq ft)
  • Beam: 1.37m (4' 6")
  • Weight: 78 kg (172 lbs)
Amongst those usually at the front end of the fleet are Rob Greenhalgh who is currently Watch Leader on Team Abu Dhabi in the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race and lying 5th in the overall standings. "The competition in the Foxer class is great," Rob says, "and with so many world class sailors competing in the Hamble fleet, it is difficult to stay in front."

Ian Southworth has been the J24 European Champion four times in the past seven years and he ranks highly in the list of most competitive sailors worldwide. He started out by becoming the National Enterprise Champion. "The Hamble Foxer is the ideal fleet to hone your close quarters tactics; the competition here is as good as anywhere I have sailed and raced."

Shaun Barber honed his own racing skills in the B14 Skiff class. Such was his prowess that he and his crew became World Champions on more than one occasion in a class that originated down under and where previously the Aussies had dominated. Shaun comments that while the Foxer is no skiff it requires skill and application to reach the front end of the fleet. "The competition to win is intense," says Shaun.

During a visit to the Hamble by members of the New York Yacht Club who were team racing in Sigma 33s, they became involved and participated in Foxer racing and enjoyed themselves so much that they donated four boats to the Hamble Sailing Club for use by local members.

The Hamble Foxer fleet continues to flourish and credit should be given to those Hamble River SC members who each week man the committee boat and rescue RIBs, in conjunction with the Hamble River Harbour Master's office, to provide safe and secure racing on what can be described as one of the busiest rivers in the country. (With thanks to John Duff and Malcolm McDonald)

175 Regatta - the largest gathering of competitive yacht racing ever run under the Royal Southern Yacht Club burgee

The Royal Southern Yacht Club 175 Regatta sponsored by Brewin Dolphin and supported by Mount Gay Rum, Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, Gaastra Pro Gear and Swarovski Optik, comprises a 16-day racing festival commencing with registration on Friday, May 25th and, with an occasional reserve day built in, works its way through to the overall prizegiving on Sunday, June 10th.

The 175 Regatta, incorporates the Club's regular May and June Summer Series Regattas, includes activity ashore and afloat, encompasses all classes of day boats, keelboats and ocean racing boats that regularly support the Club and even introduces some spectator-friendly model boat racing.

During this packed schedule, the Royal Southern Yacht Club is hosting 35+ classes and over 500 sailors to participate in what will be the largest gathering of competitive yacht racing ever run under its burgee.

The Royal Southern Yacht Club is looking forward to welcoming the Hamble Foxer fleet to its 175 Regatta.

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