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Ocean Elements 2018

Diam 24od UK Spring Championship at Hamble River Sailing Club

by Bertrand Malas 16 Apr 20:50 BST 14-15 April 2018
Diam 24od Spring Championship at Hamble © Bertrand Malas

This week saw the first Diam 24od UK Spring Championship, hosted by Hamble River Sailing Club and sponsored by GP Sails.

On Saturday morning the competitors and the Race Officer Paul Howard met at the Ketch Rigger in Hamble for a short briefing outlining the details of the weekend. The thick jog in the river did not concern many people at this stage, as it was predicted to clear before the first scheduled start. The race committee headed out to 4Q and arrived there with almost no visibility whatsoever.

AP was displayed onshore as the visibility remained very poor. Members of the race team were kept busy trying not to lose sight of 4Q, and also on AIS as the North Channel was not far away. A couple of ships passed on their way into Southampton but could only be heard, not seen.

For a short while things looked more encouraging as visibility improved, and the shore was briefly sighted, though sadly the murk soon closed in again. Having kept in contact with those on shore throughout the day, at 14.00 it was decided as the visibility was still too poor to start racing that we would abandon racing for the day. Unfortunately, as is often the way with these things, on the way back to Hamble the fog began to clear away, yielding bright sunshine and a nice breeze. All was not lost as each of the teams ventured out at varying stages of the afternoon for their first outing of the season, and managed a good sail.

On Saturday evening HRSC hosted a meal which was attended by most of the competitors and the race team. This included the inaugural Diam 24 UK AGM, which formally adopted the class constitution and the appointment of officers with commendable efficiency.

The forecast for Sunday promised more wind, so it was agreed to run 3 short windward-leewards and one longer around the cans race to compensate for Saturday's cancellation.

However the weather gods were again not fully cooperating, providing tricky conditions for competitors and the race team alike. Suday's Solent featured a light and unstable wind, ranging in direction between 100 degrees and 150 degrees and in speed between 4 and 8 knots, and a fair amount of tide. Race 1 was scheduled for a 10.30 start, but had to be slightly delayed due to half the fleet struggling to make it out to the start line.

Three Wise Monkeys (Jon Hutchings, Hugh Watson and Emma Hutchings) made an excellent port flyer start and managed to hold on to the lead to win Race 1 in front of Race Team Buzz (Phil Cotton, Matt Eeles and Scott) and Team Maverick SSR (Piers Hugh Smith, Sam Van de Velde and Rory Hunter). The end of the race was difficult for the competitors as the wind dropped to about 3 knots.

A short postponement ensued, though a new breeze fortunately decided to arrive and after a quick relay of the 4 marks of the course the second race of the day was underway. Again, Three Wise Monkeys crossed the rest of the fleet on port and led the whole race. This time Team Maverick SSR finished second and Deka (Matthew Muhlenkamp, Gavin Stanley and Ben Forbes) managed to sneak past Race Team Buzz on the finish line thanks to a timely gust and a slow tack from the blue boat.

The Race Committee was really keen to get 4 races in, so the course for Race 3 was shortened even further to more of a "sprint" course format, which also aided cooperation with the nearby Etchells fleet. This time, Three Wise Monkeys did not have a great start, but they clearly have good speed and managed to overtake everyone else and yet again finished first, despite having Race Team Buzz about 30 seconds behind them. Team Maverick SSR finished third.

The last race was planned to be a longer round the cans affair. In a building breeze and fairly strong rain, the fleet was sent on a long upwind leg to South Ryde Middle, and then back down to Coronation via a few other marks for a finish close to the River mouth. After some close racing in the first part of the beat, differnet tidal strategies split the fleet into two distinct pairs. Team Maverick SSR led around the windward mark and held on to win their first race of the weekend, chased hard all the way by Race Team Buzz who finished just 17 seconds behind them. Three Wise Monkeys had a bad start, but managed to overtake Deka just after the top mark and finished third. The Cowes based boat decided they didn't want to face the long beat back to the Island from Coronation and retired.

The discard kicked in with the fourth race, which allowed Three Wise Monkeys to post a perfect scoresheet with three firsts and claim the 2018 Diam24od Spring Championship. Team Maverick SSR and Race Team Buzz both finished on 6 points, but thanks to their race win Team Maverick SSR take second place.

Grant Piggott from GP Sails and Steph Merry, Commodore, presented the prizes and sail repair vouchers back at the club. We hope all competitors enjoyed the racing and will make sure that the weather is better next year.

Overall Results:

PlaceSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewR1R2R3R4Pts
1GBR202Three Wise MonkeysJon HutchingsHugh Watson & Emma Hutchings111‑33
224Team Maverick SSRPiers Hugh SmithSam Van de Velde & Rory Hunter‑32316
3GBR24Race Team BuzzPhil CottonMatt Eeles & Scott2‑4226
4USA20DeKaMatthew MuhlenkampGavin Stanley & Ben Forbes434(RET)11

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