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2023 Hamble Classics Regatta - 8th edition is 'best ever'

by Jonty Sherwill 31 Aug 2023 09:24 BST 26-27 August 2023

The 2023 Hamble Classics Regatta with earlier than usual Bank Holiday timing provided great sailing conditions for a wide range of yachts, dayboats and gaffers on two contrasting days. A regular entrant described it as 'the best HCR ever!' with Saturday's dramatic skies, winds shifts and rain squalls making way for steadier conditions on Sunday but it was still demanding on crew work as an 8 knot breeze built to 19 knots in the afternoon.

With the RAFYC as the social base and race management by Hamble River Sailing Club the varied fleet of 31 yachts with build dates from 1886 to 2018 was split into six starts; IRC, Regatta Handicap, Old Gaffer, XOD, plus the International 6-Metres invited for practice before their World Championship starting this week in Cowes. The PRO Peter Bateson assisted by Kathy Smalley and a strong volunteer team of Assistant RO's and RIB crews set round-the-cans courses to suit each class plus windward-leewards for the two 6-Metre divisions, Classic and Open, and a mix of courses for the XODs.

With five entries total the 6-Metre owners requested to start together on Sunday for the final two of five scheduled races, with Simon Williams' Silvervingen winning the classics division from his other yacht Abu helmed by Klaus Diederichs and Andy Short's Olin Stephens designed Nancy skippered by Vince Hayter. In the Open Division Martin Westerdahl & Hugo Stenbeck's Sophie II scored 2,1,1,1,1 after a first race win by Foti Lykiardopulo's Aera.

As usual the IRC Class entry list was furnished with beautiful yachts and this time it was David Murrin's Cetewayo that got the upper hand over Giovanni Belgrano's Whooper and Philip Cotton's elegant Cal40 Breeze in third overall. Romana-Ann Gale's S&S 43 Firebrand skippered by Peter Cyriax and Steve and Cathy Lacey's Wild Rival were fourth and fifth, but Claire Locke's lovely West Solent One-Design Enchanted with two 4th places on Saturday had sustained spreader damage so withdrew from racing on Sunday.

The Regatta class for non-IRC rated boats attracted not one but two Borge Bringsvaerd designs, Graham Smyth's 1960 BB17 Joan and the BBII Cygnet, a popular 20ft one-design in her native Norway since 1956, this one built in 1969 but restored in 2010 and owned by naval architect Ignacio Oliva-Vélez Herbin. Andrew Quicke brought his smart blue Contessa 26 and the Mansfield & Frost team aboard the Nicholson 35 Samiotissa offered friendly competition as usual, but the class was dominated by two very different boats, Ed Broadbent's S&S 34 and Jonty and Vicki Sherwill's 97-year-old red dayboat Cockleshell that won three of the four scheduled races.

The Gaffer class with seven boats was a tour de force of traditional yachting featuring the stunning 1921 Starling Burgess designed 6-Metre Sheila, the 1894 Linton Hope designed Thames One Rater Dorothy with Ossie Stewart helming plus co-owner Damon Roberts amongst a stellar crew, last year's Concours d'Elegance winner, the 1897 William Fife designed UandI owned by boatbuilder Alastair Darling, Toby Bonnett's G.L. Watson designed Vivid of 1886, and the 1913 Humber Yawl Snippet owned by naval architect Paul Spooner and sailing with a young crew. Two more modern small gaffers completed the class, David and Sue Pennison's Satellite and Huw and Maggie Hallybone's Mincarlo, but none including Dorothy could not match the well-presented Sheila owned by Simon Williams and skippered by Charlie Couture.

In the XOD class racing Gary and Claire Rossall in their Little X upturned the form book with three race wins to Peter Baines in Felix on two wins, with Andrew Bates in his very neat Iona 3rd overall. Class newcomer Esmond Jenkins in Xactly scored consistently to achieve 4th ahead of Andy Hamlett in Satu, with Mos Fitzgerald helming Kathleen and Ian and Cariole Gould in Shri.

The raffle draw in aid of the Wetwheels charity had attractive prizes including a Spinlock Deckvest, Salcombe Gin, Force 4 Windward bag, Park Place Nursery shrub, and two trips aboard the Wetwheels Hamble boat. The charity fund was also boosted during the Hamble Classics Supper by generous bids at an auction of prize glassware that was not awarded at last year's event because of the death of the Queen.

At the prize-giving after racing on Sunday, event organiser Jonty Sherwill thanked both the clubs, Vicki his wife and hard working crew aboard Cockleshell, and the sponsor partners Spinlock, Classic Marine, the Elephant Boatyard, OneSails, the Sandeman Yacht Company, and the Salcombe Distilling Company, supporter the Concours d'Elegance Awards with their Start Point Gin. The prize winners were presented with Hamble Classics 2023 engraved champagne flutes by HRSC Commodore Serena Alexander, and each yacht with a OneSails permanent marker pen made from Pip Hare's recycled 4T FORTE sails used during the Vendée Globe Race 2020-2021.

For the special awards, the shorthanded Tea-for-Trophy was shared by Cygnet and Mincarlo, the Kismet yacht model went to Samiotissa's always jolly crew, and the Norlethe Trophy to Aiden Barr for his exceptional contribution to the event. Key personnel including PRO Peter Bateson were presented with bottles of Salcombe's latest creation, their Salcombe Rum 'Island Street', and with each bottle sold it contributes support to the RNLI.

The race results are available at hambleclassics.co.uk and all Concours d'Elegance division winners.

2023 Concours d'Elegance - top prize for Ultimate Condition and Provenance:
International 6-Metres Abu and Silvervingen owned by Simon Williams
Abu designed by Johan Anker, built 1932
Silvervingen designed by Tore Holm, built 1939

2023 Concours d'Authenticité - for Condition and Originality:
Snippet owned by Paul Spooner
Humber Yawl designed by George Holmes, built 1913

2023 Best presented GRP yacht - classic design in glass fibre construction:
Chasing Rainbows owned by Andrew Quicke
Contessa 26, designed by Jeremy Rogers in 1970, built 1972

2023 Spirit of Racing - awarded to a yacht modified during her history to remain competitive:
Firebrand owned by Romana-Ann Gale
Designed by Sparkman and Stephens, built 1965

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