Hamble Classics Regatta 2020 - breezy but beautiful - REPORT

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 in 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.

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 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 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’ and Daniel and Suzie Anthony’s ‘Dido’ won their competitive IRC classes with James and Rachel Youngman’s ‘Lutine of Helford’ adding extra classic style. In the Regatta 1 class Chris Preston’s West Solent One-Design ’Suvretta’ won from the two International Dragons of Carl Whitewood and Adrian Green with club member 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 Simon Osgood’s Folkboat ’So!’ won overall from Mark and Liz Rushall’s ‘Ragdoll’ and Jonty Sherwill and Vicki Weston’s ‘Cockleshell’, all on equal points. The XOD class was won by Peter Baines’ sailing ‘Felix’ with Andy Hamlett in ‘SATU’ on equal points, Gary and Claire Rossall in ‘Little X’ third, and young contender Andrew Pimm sailing ‘Muse’ on equal points with David McGregor sailing ‘Sphex’.

Onshore the requirements of social distancing meant the usual post-race camaraderie was more limited and this time no Elephant Boatyard sponsored Rum Party, but the club staff delivered an excellent bar and dinner provision. Even so the mood was upbeat and notable was how many participants were grateful that the event was taking place. One comment sums it up:
"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 at Royal Southern Facebook) the event organisers Jonty Sherwill and Vicki Weston thanked the club team, race volunteers, committee boat owners, Wetwheels, and the event sponsors, with particular mention of Paul Ward, Peter Bateson and Emily Robertson. The class winners were announced and the special awards; Tea-for-Two trophy to Nicola Simper in ‘Blueberry’ and the Norlethe trophy for outstanding contribution to the event to Peter Bateson. The success of the regatta is also helped by the generous cooperation of club berth holders who allow their yachts to be moved out of the PPYH and is much appreciated.

The Concours d’Elegance Awards were supported this year by
Joseph Perrier Champagne. Michael Briggs’ 1904 ‘Mikado’ and David Aisher’s 1888 ‘Thalia’ were judged the most authentic yachts, best GRP boat was Simon Osgood’s 22-year-old Nordic Folkboat ’So!’ and top prize for both best Spirit of Tradition yacht and overall Concours d’Elegance winner to club members Daniel and Suzie Anthony for their immaculate Spirit 46 ‘Dido’.

Members’ powerboats kindly made available were Colin Hall’s ‘Boysterous' and Richard Jacobs’ ‘Allegro’ with Chris Gillingham onboard with camera in hand. The Wetwheels Hamble boat was made available for committee duty and supported with a prize raffle and other donations. David Aisher and David Pennison (Satellite) were the winners at the raffle draws supported by Joseph Perrier. This other sponsors were Spinlock, Classic Marine, Performance Rigging, the Sandeman Yacht Company and OneSails GBR.
Full race results at:

Words by Jonty Sherwill