Stormy weather did nothing to dampen enthusiasm at the 5th Hamble Classics Regatta hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club even with the entry of 43 yachts whittled down to just 30 racing. On Saturday full racing had to be cancelled due to strong winds in the Solent but instead an all-in handicap fun race up Southampton Water was offered with eight boats taking up the challenge. Principal Race Officer Peter Bateson aboard the Wetwheels Hamble boat skippered by Dick Long set a two-lap course from Fawley Deep to the Netley buoy. The three Spirit 46’s were soon streaking ahead but after 85 minutes of racing it was Simon Osgood’s Nordic Folkboat ‘So!’ that saved her time by almost 4 minutes. Second on handicap was David Grylls' 'Helen of Durgan' three seconds ahead of her Spirit sistership ‘Dido' with Michael Briggs’s ‘Mikado' close behind.
To entertain those not taking part in the fun race a yachting quiz of 50 questions was assembled by the event organisers Jonty Sherwill and Vicki Weston and issued on the WhatsApp event group with self-scoring, with 33 correct answers the top score claimed by two boats.
The forecast for Sunday was a steady 14-20 knots from the west so PRO Peter Bateson on the Red Line and CRO Stephen Parry with the Green Line team set up a mile or so apart. While the gusty and shifting breeze held up on the Brambles Bank, the inshore fleet with weather marks in the entrance to Southampton Water experienced squalls and near flat calms during their races. With non-spinnaker mode ratings offered to match the reduced crew number requirements to observe COVID-19 social distancing guidelines some in the Regatta classes chose this option but all boats in the IRC class decided to retain their spinnaker rating. Giovanni Belgrano’s ‘Whooper’ pipped Peter Morton’s Swan 36 ’Scherzo’ by one point overall both scoring a race win, with Richard Hargreaves long and lean 30 Square Metre ’Aeolus’ in third place.
In the IRC Zero class comprising three Spirit 46 modern classics, Daniel and Suzie Anthony’s ‘Dido’ and David Grylls’ ‘Helen of Durgan' both scored a first and second, ‘Dido' prevailing overall by virtue of a lower total aggregate of corrected times to break the points tie. Ian Ratnage’s ‘Whisper of Lymington’ was never far behind and helmed by his 18 year old daughter Anne-Marie. In the Regatta 1 class with a varied entry of dayboats and cruising boats it was Chris Preston’s West Solent One-Design ’Suvretta’ winning from the two International Dragons, Carl Whitewood’s ‘Tschuss’ and Adrian Green’s ‘Aurora’ with Harry Tilling’s Nicholson 35 ‘Premier Cru’ fourth.
On the Green Line, David Aisher’s ‘Thalia’ sailed the course as the lone old gaffer, while in the Regatta 2 Class close racing saw Simon Osgood’s Nordic Folkboat ’So!’ winning the class ahead of the Mark and Liz Rushall’s ‘Ragdoll’ and the 94 year old red dayboat ‘Cockleshell’ all on equal points. The XOD class including David McGregor sailing Peter Baines’ second boat ‘Sphex’ but could not catch the old master in ‘Felix’, followed by Andy Hamlett’s ‘Satu’ on equal points, ‘Little X’ owned by Gary and Claire Rossall third, and young contender Andrew Pimm sailing ‘Muse’ on equal points with ‘Sphex’.
Onshore the requirements of social distancing meant the scope for the usual post-race camaraderie was much limited so there was to be no Elephant Boatyard Rum Party this time. Nonetheless the club staff delivered an excellent bar and dinner provision but could only be enjoyed by a limited number. Even so the mood was upbeat and notable was how many participants were grateful that the event was taking place at all. One comment perhaps sums it up for others: "For many of us it will probably be the only occasion this year that we experience a bit of competitive sailing and the opportunity to push the boat a bit harder than normal. Very well done."
At the 'virtual' prize giving on Sunday afternoon (available to view on Facebook) the Royal Southern YC house team, race team volunteers, committee boat owners and Wetwheels, and the event sponsors were all thanked for their support by the event organisers Jonty Sherwill and Vicki Weston, with particular mention of Paul Ward, Peter Bateson and Emily Robertson. The class winners were then announced plus the special annual awards including the Tea-for-Two trophy for two-handed crew, this year going to ‘Blueberry’ owned by Nicola Simper, and the Norlethe trophy for outstanding contribution to the event presented to Peter Bateson.
The Concours d’Elegance Awards were supported this year by Joseph Perrier Champagne with the award for most authentic yacht going to both Sir Michael Briggs’ 1904 ‘Mikado’ and David Aisher’s 1888 ‘Thalia’, the best GRP boat Simon Osgood’s 22-year-old Nordic Folkboat ’So!’ and the top prize for both best Spirit of Tradition yacht and overall Concours d’Elegance winner to Daniel and Suzie Anthony for their immaculately presented Spirit 46 ‘Dido’, designed by Sean McMillan and built by Spirit Yachts in 2005.
A successful Hamble Classics Regatta always relies on the generous cooperation of the club berth holders who allow their yachts to be moved out of the PPYH to make room for visiting yachts. This is much appreciated as the spectacular sight of classic boats and varnished spars adds to the ambience of our superb club facility and makes the whole event even more enjoyable for all involved.
Members’ powerboats kindly made available were Colin Hall’s ‘Boysterous' as the Green Line committee boat and Richard Jacobs’ ‘Allegro’ with Chris Gillingham also onboard with his camera in hand. As in previous years the Wetwheels Hamble boat was also made available for committee duty and in return the regatta supports the charity with a prize raffle, plus further donations received after the weekend. The two winners at the charity raffle draws on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, this year supported by Joseph Perrier Champagne, and each receiving a magnum bottle of its Cuvee Royale NV Brut were David Aisher (Thalia) and David Pennison (Satellite).
This year’s event sponsors were Spinlock, Classic Marine, Performance Rigging, the Sandeman Yacht Company, the Elephant Boatyard, OneSails GBR, and Joseph Perrier Champagne.
Full race results at: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=13039
Hamble Classics - Notes to Editors:
The Hamble Classics, founded in 2016 by Jonty Sherwill and Vicki Weston, is designed as a late season extravaganza of classic yachting to welcome all styles of classic yachts, with racing formats to suit each type including the International Metre classes, Classic Racers, Cruisers and Dayboats, Old Gaffers, Spirit of Tradition Yachts and classic One-Designs.
Hosting Club 2020 - Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble, Hampshire, UK
Any press enquires to: Jonty Sherwill
T: +44 (0)1329 835555