It has now become the tradition to hold Hamble River Sailing Club’s annual Charity Pursuit Race on the middle Sunday of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series, and a reasonable quorum of boats motored out to the starting area despite an obvious lack of wind.
With the breeze becoming more and more feeble as the appointed hour approached, the race officers made the bold decision to get things moving without delay, on the reasonable assumption that things were unlikely to improve.
Among the early starters, the black Faroux Quarter Tonner ‘ASAP’ of Alex Christie and friends made the most of the available breeze, which amounted at that time to only 3 or 4 knots, having chosen their route to the windward mark well to round with a handsome lead. With the wind still in the process of taking a nosedive and becoming very patchy it was crucial to spot the best areas of pressure, and ‘ASAP’ continued to do just that. However, as can often happen in a game of snakes and ladders such as this, the little black boat eventually found itself in an awful flat spot, and was gobbled up by some of the larger boats.
Surprisingly ‘ASAP’ got back into contention, and it began to appear that she really had the measure of the other front runners, but it was not to be and she fell victim to David Wadsworth’s Dubois 40 ‘Audacious’ which had sailed right through the fleet after being the last boat released at the start of the race. By this time the failing breeze was down to only 1 knot, and more and more engines were started and bows pointed towards the Hamble, despite the pleasant sunshine out on the Solent.
Eventually, just seven boats stuck it out to the bitter end, but it had been fun in the sun, with the bold move on the part of the race officers allowing a race to be sailed and a winner to be found. However, the real winners are the John Merricks Trust, Sail-for-Cancer and the Hamble Inshore Lifeboat who will receive cheques at the main prize-giving when the Garmin Hamble Winter Series has been completed in December.
1. ‘Audacious’ Dubois 40, David Wadsworth
2. ‘ASAP’ Faroux 1/4 ton, Alexander Christie
3. ‘Batfish II’ J109, Bill Blain