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Hansa TT series at New Forest and District Sailability, Spinnaker Sailing Club

by Malcolm Bentley 16 May 18:17 BST 8 May 2019
Hansa TT series at New Forest and District Sailability © Chris Wales

The run up to the event was not without misgivings, the forecast for the 8th in the preceding few days consistently showing near gale winds. But sailing is very much a sport that demands turning up and seeing what the day delivers, weather being notoriously fickle.

In the event, it was very blustery throughout the day with the winds touching the guideline maximum limits at times, particularly for the Hansa 2.3s, but the limits were not exceeded. It was also very squally, hardly surprising for a lake venue surrounded by woodland. Despite the wind strength, many boats did not elect to reef and no boats decided not to sail. A couple did not complete the series, one being servo controlled that cannot react so quickly to dump the main halyard in a squall and another entering their first regatta and less experienced of such brisk conditions. But all credit to them for completing the morning races.

The day was largely dry although there was an incredibly strong rain and hail downpour in the morning.

24 boats entered with a good spread across the four classes and 10 competitors in the two-person Hansa 303s, seven of which were from the host club New Forest. Many of these do not yet compete in the away TTs at other clubs and the home event is a great opportunity to gain experience of a regatta and build on the race coaching that they receive each week.

This was only the second TT in 2019, Whitefriars having been cancelled, and it may be too early to form a view on success trends across all classes. However, looking at 2018 as well, it is fairly clear that Lindsay Burns in the 2.3s and Natalia and Alan Hillman in the two-person 303s continue to dominate and are very much the boats putting a challenge to the rest of the fleets.

However, in the 2.3s Harry Kennington, Lara Sturgis and Gregor Parker are maintaining last year's consistent competition, with Harry and Gregor both achieving 2nd places at New Forest. A squall got the better off Gregor and he was unceremoniously tipped from his boat into the lake in the fourth race. Fortunately he suffered no injury and was quickly plucked from the water and taken ashore. He was awarded the New Forest Chairman's discretionary trophy, reserved for an outstanding or exceptional performance during the event.

The one-person 303s remains a fairly wide open fleet at the top, where James Woosnam won in 2018 but Mike Everitt and Jessica Campbell both scored two firsts and consistent seconds and thirds.

Mike is making a determined effort to compete as much as possible this year and already has a win at Frampton to which he has now added New Forest. Jessica was second. Leslie Philip added to his first podium position as third at Frampton by achieving the same at New Forest.

It was interesting to note that even in the strong wind conditions the one-person 303s were consistently faster than the two-person, showing that weight appears to be an important factor in boat speed.

Natalia and Alan Hillman continued their unbeaten record that stretches back to their entrance to the TTs at the start of 2018, an impressive record. Last year the Ethertons, Steve Kitson and Philip Hall, the latter two with various crews, closely contested for second, third and fourth places and this was largely reflected this week at New Forest with Steve Kitson and his now regular crew Jane Knight drawing on points with Peter and Peta but being awarded second on count back. Philip Hall was further down the ranking with two local New Forest boats being fourth and fifth.

The Libertys seem generally to be a very competitive fleet with little separating the top four or five boats over the last couple of years. This week David Durston triumphed, gaining his first win at Spinnaker SC since 2017 and apparently relishing the strong conditions. A certain amount of reworking of the results occurred during the prize giving linked to a potential protest regarding completing the course, ultimately amicably resolved in the Hansa spirit. This left Chris Atkin unchanged in second place and Tessa Watkiss, Paul Phillip and Paul Pearson all tied on 9 points. Tessa having won the second race did pip the others for third place.

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