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Lymington Town Sailing Club Hamble Scramble

by Robin Milledge 15 May 09:34 BST 11-12 May 2019
Lymington Town SC Hamble Scramble © Robin Milledge

The first races of the LTSC Cruiser Racing Series took place over the weekend of the 11-12 May, with the traditional Hamble Scramble event. Ten boats came to the start line off Baverstock on Saturday afternoon, in bright sunshine and a shifty, but solid NE breeze.

The course took the fleet on a short leg to the west, to round Dunford to port, followed by a downwind leg across the Solent to Caldwells and a close reach east to South Bramble and East Bramble, before the final beat to windward to finish at Coronation, just south east of the Hamble River entrance.

Leading the fleet to the first mark, and demonstration that he still has the competitive bug was Tony Hodges aboard his Sweden Yachts 390 'Ayres & Graces', although he was closely followed by Steve and Will Homewood sailing their catamaran 'Molly 5'. Contessa Catherine rounded in third place, having started at the favoured pin end of the line. 'Ayres & Graces' and 'Molly 5' were side by side going around Caldwells, but then 'Molly 5' showed her potential when just cracked off the breeze and started to stretch away to a good lead. Pat Stables and crew of Sue & Nigel, on 'Google Eye' hung on to the leading pack whilst having their own battle with Richard and Becky Valentine's Beneteau 211 'Mahu Hau'. Neil Kendricks Bavaria 43 'Allura' made good use of her waterline length and charged through the pack on the reach, but was reeled in again on the beat to the finish.

The leading group were past Cowes by the time a large container ship passed by and split the fleet as it made its turn to starboard around west Bramble buoy. Nick Ingram, sailing his Folkboat 'Otter', submitted and early nomination for the Mick E trophy has he was politely invited to give way to the ship by the Southampton Harbour Master!

With the fleet settled in to Port Hamble Marina, and joined by Commodore Chris Barr and his wife Jackie on board 'Fernweh' all the crews enjoyed drinks at the marina bar, before heading to the Dolce Vita, in the village square for dinner.

Bright sunshine and lights winds greeted the crews on Sunday morning as they gathered back at Coronation buoy for the start of the return leg to Lymington. With very little wind and the prospect of a building flood tide the decision was made to move the start to the west of Lepe Spit, so the fleet motored down to Sevenstar Yacht Transport, the racing buoy just off the Beaulieu River. The race was eventually started in a light easterly breeze. All boats were tightly grouped on the line, with spinnakers flying for the down-wind start, but once under way they spread out a bit, with 'Molly 5' and the smaller boats, making the most of their shallow draft and heading close inshore to get out of the foul tide. 'Fineline', Chris Stroud's Hawk 20, was even seen with her rudder lifted as she sailed over the shallows off the Beaulieu foreshore.

The easterly breeze predictably died away leaving the fleet becalmed and waiting for any sign of a south westerly sea breeze. Those that had anchors at the ready kedged to avoid being washed east on the flood tide. 'Ayres & Graces' were the first to retire, choosing lunch ashore over a potential long wait for the wind. Paul and Glenys Fox on 'Fly Orchid' were next to throw in the towel as the tide threatened to sweep them in to shallow water risking a grounding. 'Contessa Catherine' followed shortly after. Team Homewood on 'Molly 5' pushed their luck a little too far and touched the bottom off Park Shore, leading to their retirement. This left only the smaller boats in the fleet, kedged waiting for the breeze. They were finally rewarded for their patience as a good south west breeze took hold, leading to a long port tack to the finish at Baverstock. Full results are on the club website at ltsc.co.uk/results

Thanks to Alastair for acting as Race Officer for the weekend and organising the berthing at Port Hamble.

The next race in the LTSC Cruiser Racing Series will be a long inshore, round the cans race on Sunday 23rd June.

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