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Optimist Open at Hayling Island Sailing Club

by Sandy and Wardy 24 Sep 2021 17:04 BST 18-19 September 2021
Hayling Island Optimist Open © Andy Ramus

It's been a great year to be an Optimist sailor at HISC. The children have been working really hard at their training, but it was time to test those skills, the HISC Oppi Open had finally arrived. The weather didn't let us down, with wall to wall sunshine and 10-14knts of breeze.

The main fleet went to the bay in hunt of some serious sea sailing and was not disappointed. With the NE breeze being replaced by a SE sea breeze we soon had the fleet under way for the first race. As ever the SE sea breeze provided shifty conditions with rolling chop resulting in lots of place changing. Arthur Greaves from Datchet sailing club won the first race with Jo Jones taking the second one. With the breeze building for the last race, Hayling Bay really came alive and reminded us all of what a fantastic racing area it is. Lila Edwards provided her normal mind boggling racing performance taking the 3rd with a 1,2,3 on the score sheet that took her into day 2 looking pretty solid.

Day 1 of the regatta fleet was raced over West Mud. 40 boats took to the race track closest to the club beach to battle it out on a triangle course in 10-12 knots and an outgoing tide. With 4 races planned, the fleet had to be on their toes as the races were churned out back to back to allow them to stick to the schedule in a tight tide window. After a closely fought race 1, which saw the whole fleet finishing within 5 mins of the leader, the fleet started to get even more competitive in race 2 forcing a general recall and the black flag to be used. The following races continued to see brilliant tight racing with the 4th needing to be shortened slightly to allow the fleet to leave the race course before it dried out.

Motoring out in Lady G on Sunday morning the main fleet race committee was looking pretty glum with 2-4knts on the instruments and not a lot more on the forecast. Fortunately, the strong tide meant that the fleet took a long time to reach the race area by which time the wind gods had smiled on us and we had a solid 7-10knts from the West. Starting the day with a flag P start we quickly realise that we were dreaming with a strong east-west tide taking the fleet over the line. Even with the U flag, we ended up with 6-7 over on all starts.

Again we had shifting winds making for very interesting racing but this time Lila Edwards had changed up a gear and won the first 2 meaning that she had the regatta with a race to spare. The last race was again looking like a cracker until we had a 25 Degree shift prior to the last beat. The Committee let it go feeling that the race was still fair and it was finally won by Dirk Rogers from Lymington.

Regatta fleet were held on shore for 45 mins to allow the wind to fill in to a consistent NW 7-8 knots. This time the fleet headed to Pilsey race course to compete over another 4 races on a triangle sausage course. With a number of the fleet experiencing this course and race track for the first time, it saw some exciting racing as all the sailors enjoyed learning how to get to grips with some extra tide and the shifty and light winds. With a dying breeze for race 4 the fleet were shortened at the top of the 2nd beat, to allow for the entire fleet to get a finish before being towed home.

For a lot of the Regatta sailors it was the first time in this size fleet and for many experiencing a new course. All the race committee and spectators were extremely impressed with the effort and ability of all the regatta fleet which no doubt had some stars of the future among them.

I would really like to thank the club and all the volunteers for all their hard work in making this event possible. In addition the huge generosity of sponsors,,,

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