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Clipper Ventures

Hamble River Sailing Club Wednesday Night Early Bird 1

by Trevor Pountain 5 Apr 16:02 BST 3 April 2019

Despite the less than appealing weather forecast, thirteen eager teams ventured forth for the first race in the Early Bird Series at HRSC.

Indeed XOD 36, Dolphin, Tom Rogers was already looking for breeze when the Committee Boat Obsession arrived in the start area at Bald Head. Dolphin was one of four XOD's that made the start of this race. Normally XOD's are reluctant to make an appearance much before May. Simon Russell in Swallow even commented to the Race Team "I'm not sure what I'm doing here".

The Race Team on Obsession were the usual EB suspects, with the addition of John Ramseyer, who is more use to looking down the Squadron Line at Cowes Week than bouncing off Bald Head. He was soon brought up to the required standard. When the CB anchored there was, as one old team member observed, "Three fifths of sod all breeze!" So, early plans to have a quick thrash outside and then disappear up the river to the club line were quickly revised. What wind there was had a lot of south in it, so a Coronation-Bald Head loop was decided on with lots of opportunity to shorten.

As the fleet arrived there were more clean bottoms on view than there had been indicative votes in the House of Commons. Hard to believe I know. There were dark clouds arriving and the threat of rain and it was very cold. The classes were combined, XOD with Class 3 and Class 2 with Class 1. This kept the start sequence to a minimum as the light is still in short supply in early April.

As the start sequence progressed, the wind veered to the West and increase to 10 knots. Those clean bottomed boats were now at hull speed. Dolphin, Tom Rogers, benefited from her extra time on the water by shooting into the lead, a lead she would never relinquish. Simon Russel;'s earlier comment came back to haunt him, as Swallow was " well early" as they say, and after a brief encounter with the CB went round and started again.

Steph Merry, the Commodore, in Midnight Cowboy, arrived in the vicinity at the last minute and then proceeded to lead the Class 1 & 2 fleet over the line in the second start. Mist, Nich 32, Ross and Undraa Elliston, also had a flyer leading the rest of Class 2 away. Rumour has it that the Eliston's plans to sell Mist were not received well by her crew. "I didn't need much persuading to keep her" Ross admitted.

The carefully planned course had now turned into a reaching loop. With the AP out of the question due to light constraints, the teams had to grin and bear it. The Race Team have promised some beating and running in future weeks.

In the XOD Class, Andy Hamlett, Satu, followed Dolphin home and Swallow managed to claw one place back and come third. Forethought of Gosport, Mike James had a sail round to take Class 3. Mist was unstoppable in Class 2 with Cheeky Monkey, Aiden Barr in second and Vlad the Impala, Peter Dessent in third. In Class 1, Midnight Cowboy held off Nightjar, Joe Banks and M'Enfin?! Sophie and Betrand.

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