Fifty five dinghies took part in the 46th annual Hamble Warming Pan hosted by Hamble River Sailing Club over the weekend of 8 & 9 March. The event was blessed with decent winds throughout including a challenging 20 knots plus for the two opening races on Saturday.
Although the bright sunshine of 2007 was missing the competitors enjoyed four superb races up and down the Hamble River even if many started their season with the odd swim (or two!).
The 19 strong Firefly Class was won by five times National Champion Stuart Hudson sailing with wife Jane from Spinnaker who came out on top after a close race with the newly-married pairing of Andy and Liz Palmer-Felgate (Burchfield SC). Top youth boat in 9th overall was Robert Dann and Alexandra Olive from the host club. The Firefly class was the most closely fought of the event with three pairings taking race wins.
With the added attractions of Silver Tiller billing, the Merlin Class, swelled from last years numbers to 25 boats. However this didn't make a difference to the winner. Richard Whitworth, this year crewed by Chris Robinson, took home his second successive Warming Pan with four straight race victories.
Behind the unstoppable Whitworth & Robinson finished Glen Truswell and Olly Turner in second and Andy Davis and Ellie Bremner in third. The Merlins also took home the capsize trophy with their race course halfway through the second race on Saturday littered with upturned boats.
The local Foxer class was convincingly won by Chris Hamel. Despite having an entry of just seven boats this class had some of the keenest racing and provided excellent entertainment as they used some very small courses set adjacent to Hamble Green. Weekend convert from the Firefly class, Peter Slimming adapted well to finish second overall.
For the first time in many years the National 12 class returned to the Warming Pan with five boats visiting for the day on Sunday. John and Katy Meadowcroft took both race wins and the Warming Pan trophy and promised that the 12 fleet would be back in strength for next year's event.
Once again the many volunteer members of HRSC provided excellent race management, plenty of hot food all day, a friendly welcome and some superb Saturday night hospitality. Over the year the club will consider plans for the 46th Warming Pan which is likely to take place on 7/8 March 2009. Rest assured the event is now back on a firm footing and the club looks forward to welcoming an even bigger entry in twelve months times.