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Hamble Community Sports College Regatta

by Trevor Pountain 19 Jul 2014 17:28 BST 17 July 2014

Thursday 17th July saw the Hamble Community Sports College Regatta at Hamble River SC. Students from HCSC have been coming to the sailing club for six years now to gain their RYA Stage awards, supported by the Flagstaff Trust. This years student groups' skills were put to the test in the first ever regatta, sailed in front of the club and supported by parents, teachers and school governors.

Race Officer Chris Hamel set a windward/leeward course with a spreader mark in the pool between HRSC and MDL's Hamble Point Marina. The 4.8 metre high tide and the light southerly breeze coming up the river made the conditions ideal, and the mark layer, former pupil, now instructor Kieran James dropped the buoys in exactly the right spots. The start line between the club and the red channel mark is well known to competitors in the famous season opening Warming Pan, held for the 52nd time in March, though they never get the chance to start this far inshore.

The first two races were the heats for the single handed Pico class with Ben Harris running away with Race 1 by a huge margin and immediately installing himself as favorite for the final. Marcie Russell reached the final by coming second with Jimmy Earl just missing out. Race 2 was a much more closely fought affair with Ella Boxall just keeping Anna Wilson and Aaron Lennard at bay in second and third places.

The first two in each heat went on to the final and as in Race 1, Ben Harris shot up the first beat but this time with Anna Wilson in close company. The pair of them were so busy sailing each other that they overstood Mark 1, allowing Marcie Russell to slip inside them and lead out the spreader mark. Despite the best efforts of Ben and Anna, Marcie held on for a well deserved win.

The final race of the day was the Pico 3-crewed 2 lap relay race, surely an Olympic event of the future. Here two sailors complete the first lap of the course before changing one crew member for the 3rd person by coming alongside the quay wall. After the first round Anna Wilson and Poli Sinclair, arrived at the Quay well ahead to pick up Marcie Russell and drop off Poli. Ben Harris and Jimmy Earl looking for Aaron Lennard got there second, with the two Mike's, Kinsella and Mercer, hoping to find Ella Boxall waiting, in third place.

As in all relay races it is the changeover that can make all the difference, so whilst Anna, Poli and Marcie procrastinated, Ben and Aaron dumped Jimmy quickly and left in first place. They hung on to this lead for the second lap with Anna, Poli and Marcie second and Mike, Mike and Ella in third. The team of Tiegan Smith-Gibbs, Amber Stonehouse and Oliver Phillips retired having been so far adrift in fourth at the change over.

Back in the clubhouse the students first received their RYA stage awards and RYA On Board medals from Chief Instructor Tom Watkins and his team of Phoebe Hutchins, Natalie Fowler and Kieran James. Abigail Robins and Imogen Beesley, already Stage 4, gained special attendance certificates whilst Holly Le-Fur one of the latest students to join the group received highly creditable Stage 2 award.

College Governor, George Angus then presented the cups for the winners of the races. Finally, Tiegan Smith-Gibbs and Amber Oliver were presented with the Instructors prize for most improved sailors.

Hamble River Sailing Club is already looking ahead to next years event when Jeremy Ord, Julian Spears and their students will be back for more. In the meantime the clubs summer training programme is about to swing in to action allowing local children to learn to sail and have fun on the water.

Once again the Flagstaff Trust will be subsidising the cost for children living within 50 miles of the River Hamble. For further information or to book a course click here.

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