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Hamble River Sailing Club Wednesday Night Early Bird 2

by Trevor Pountain 12 Apr 18:23 BST 10 April 2019

The second race of the Early Bird Series was blessed with a beautiful sunny evening and a cool breeze from the North East. The Race Team, mindful of the fact that the crews did not get any windward work in week 1, ventured south to Coronation Buoy to research the conditions.

With the 4.4 metre tide about to rush out, there seemed to be the chance that the small boats would get a good course in the Coronation, Hook and Sposa triangle. The bigger boats would need more water to play in than was available at Sposa and so, after an indicative vote, it was decided to send them to and Royal Southern. The backstop, in case of a failing breeze, was that all would leave Coronation to port for shortening reasons. No extensions would be granted.

The classes were combined again to facilitate a shortened leaving sequence. The XOD fleet and the one Class 3 starter, Forethought of Gosport, Mike James, spread themselves down the line and headed for Coronation. Whimbrel X155, Peter Baines, was it has to be said a little tardy at the start. However, it was their first go of the year so they can be forgiven. The second start brought Mist, Nich 33, Ross and Uundra Eliston, close to the CB where the stronger ebb tide was. Polly, Impala 28, Meakins and Cudmore, was also making its first appearance of the year and arrived just in time to follow the fleet south. Classes 1 & 2 would now not be seen until the end of the end of the race but the battle for supremacy in the XOD fleet was closer to home and could be observed by the Committee Boat, Obsession.

The two beats from Hook to Sposa and Hook to Coronation were challenging. As always, the wind off the north shore was unpredictable in direction and with a strong ebb tide across the course; big snakes and ladders were possible. Positions were changing all over the fleet and to add to the excitement on the second rounding of Hook two tugs and a tanker arrived, heading for Esso No 2 Berth. There were a number of close calls with Hook but no green paint was spotted on XOD top sides.

Peter Baines, in Whimbrel, did the best ladder climbing and came home 36 seconds ahead of Swallow, Simon Russel. Little X, Gary Rossall was a further 14 seconds back and all six XOD's were home inside the next two minutes. Forethought had a lonely sail again in Class 3, except that every time she reached a mark, there were at least four XOD's to keep her company.

The Class 1 & 2 boats now came back into range. In Class 1, Midnight Cowboy, Steph Merry, crossed the line first followed by M'Enfin!?, Malas and Chudziak. Sophie Chudziak shrieked with pleasure as M'Enfin!? crossed the line and everyone thought that she knew they had saved their time on the Cowboy. It turned out however, that Sophie had been granted permanent leave to stay in the UK. A good bit of Brexit news at last! It was clearly Impala conditions in Class 2 as Polly, sailed by Steph Meakins, became the second first timer to win a race. Cheeky Monkey, Vlad the Impala and Uproar filled the next three places. Mist, with its 33 feet could not repeat the success of last week and Dino Volante brought up the rear.

Full results at

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