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The sun shines for Hamble Classics Regatta 2021

by Jonty Sherwill 15 Sep 10:13 BST 11-12 September 2021

Champagne sailing conditions in September might sound far-fetched but that's how yacht crews in the sixth Hamble Classics Regatta hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club described the near perfect conditions last Saturday. With 51 boats racing and new arrivals in all classes, hot competition was ensured with intense racing amongst the strongest entry list yet for the competitive IRC class and one-designs.

A classic fleet deserves a committee vessel to match and Andrew Tseng's Nicholson 55 Quailo III was on station near the QXI International race mark for the 'Red Line' classes with PRO Peter Bateson in charge. With a flood tide and westerly breeze rising from 10 to 20 knots the IRC and Regatta handicap classes had tough windward beats to the RORC and RTYC marks where fine judgement of the starboard lay line would be crucial.

By contrast, the seven Gaffer class entries ranging from the magnificent 63 foot gaff cutter Kelpie to Will Maskell's 18 foot Whimbrel were set a reaching start and a more leisurely course for the one race scheduled, Ossie Stewart's 1894 Thames Rater Dorothy winning by 22 minutes from David's Aisher's 1888 Thalia, just two minutes ahead of Pelham Olive's 1903 Kelpie on corrected times.

With two races completed on Saturday in the 16-strong IRC class Rory Heron's Swan 37 Mojitabel and Giovanni Belgrano's Whooper were tied on 3 points while in the Regatta class Cockleshell sailed by the event's creators Jonty Sherwill and Vicki Weston held a one-point lead over Philip Cotton's Gauntlet 8-tonner Nausikaa and Susan Rutter's British Folkboat Folkdance.

Two miles away on the 'Green Line' one-design course near the Royal Southern mark Chief Race Officer Kathy Smalley and her team managed to fit in three race for the four classes, with Fenton Burgin's Sioma on three firsts in the 6-Metre class from Simon Williams's Abu on all seconds and David Roberts's Melita sailed by John Mellows in third place.

The Nordic Folkboat class is keen to re-establish regular class racing at Hamble and they were racing in European non-spinnaker mode as practice for next year's championships. Michael Stoner's Svenja scored 1,1,3, with the newly refurbished Cidron Too of James Walters second, ahead of local FB-promoter Kim Morley's Valhalla and the ever-cheerful Edward Donald in an uncustomary 4th place.

For the XODs this year's Hamble Classics was a Traveller open meeting and attracted four visitors to the fleet of ten boats. Cowes Week champion John Tremlett maintained form ahead of Etchells European Champion Stuart Childerley, Peter Baines, and class chairman David McGregor, with Cordelia Ellis fifth sailing out of Cowes to join the racing.

To boost the Dragon class entry owners of Cowes based modern boats were invited. The racing was close with Owen Pay in Furious scoring 1,2,1 ahead of Gavia Wilkinson-Cox in Jerboa, just back from the Edinburgh Cup. Michael Issaias sailing Fanfare was third with Adrian Green in his vintage wooden Aurora fourth.

After racing on Saturday an enjoyable supper evening featured 'soon to be a star' Sophie Bassett-Hughes entertaining the crews with medleys of classic hits, and Paul Moxon, owner and skipper of 'Amokura' described his two-handed 2021 RORC Rolex Fastnet Race aboard the oldest boat in the race, along with sailing partner Steve Jones, complete with keg beer and a coffee grinder!

With the forecast of almost zero wind on Sunday soon confirmed the prize-giving was set for 1100, with special awards presented after the overall class winners based on Saturday's results. The only tie-break required was in the IRC class where Rory Heron's Swan 37 Mojitabel pipped Giovanni Belgrano's Whooper by just ten seconds over the two races using aggregated corrected times, the Hamble Classics preferred method.

The Tea-for-Two (short-handed) Trophy went to Alan Thorne in his Nicholson 32 Tivoli, Kismet sailing model to Richard Hargreaves and crew (30 Square Metre Aeolus) and the Norlethe trophy to Steve Hughes for his regular commitment to helping at Hamble regattas. The Wetwheels charity tombola and raffle supported by Salcombe Gin raised £715, raffle prize winners Peter Diamond (XOD Gem) and Jane Challener (Hustler 30 Orthops).

After thanks to the event sponsors Spinlock, Performance Rigging, the Sandeman Yacht Company, Classic Marine, OneSails GBR, Blakes & Taylors, the Elephant Boatyard, Collars, Walcon Marine and Salcombe Gin, and to all those who so generously give their time, the Concours d'Elegance Awards were announced.

The overall Concours winner was Giovanni Belgrano's Laurent Giles designed 1939 Whooper for her unique charm and charisma, and continually improving finish. The award for most authentic yacht went to Andrew Harvey's immaculately restored S&S designed 1966 Clarionet, best Spirit of Tradition yacht to Jeremy John's 2007-built Pilot Cutter Polly Agatha, and best GRP yacht to Andrew Tseng's 1970 designed Nicholson 55 Quailo III, not racing but in prime position as the main committee vessel.

Full race results at: yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=14378

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