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Hamble Classics 2020 - breezy but beautiful

by Jonty Sherwill 24 Aug 22:46 PDT 21-23 August 2020

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 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's, Daniel and Suzie Anthony's 'Dido' and David Grylls' 'Helen of Durgan both scored a first and second, Dido prevailing by virtue of a lower total aggregate of corrected times to break the points tie. 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'.

At the 'virtual' prize-giving on Sunday afternoon and available to view on Facebook, the Royal Southern YC team, race team volunteers, committee boat owners and the event sponsors were all thanked for their support by the event organisers Jonty Sherwill and Vicki Weston before announcing the class winners. Other annual awards include 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 to Peter Bateson.

The Concours d'Elegance Awards were supported this year by Joseph Perrier Champagne and 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 presented to Daniel and Suzie Anthony for their immaculately presented Spirit 46 'Dido', designed by Sean McMillan and built by Spirit Yachts in 2005.

This year's event sponsors are Spinlock, Classic Marine, Performance Rigging, the Sandeman Yacht Company, the Elephant Boatyard, OneSails GBR, and Joseph Perrier Champagne.

Full race results at

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