Winter finally came to the Garmin Hamble Winter Series in time for the final race, to show crews just how lucky they’ve been throughout the unseasonably warm event. A brisk, cold westerly wind that fluctuated between 10 and 25 knots gave the assembled sailors a challenge when it came to choosing their sail wardrobe, not to mention working out how to make their boat go quickly upwind in a nasty chop. The regular finishing positions in many classes were turned on their head as boats came from behind after a windy series’ practice to beat the top-placed boats.
In many classes, the overall series winner had been obvious for some weeks – and in these cases the real battles were for the remaining podium places, especially in the Sigma 38 class, where Persephone of London and Pavlova III were tied for second place, and in IRC 4, where Peter Slimming's Anne Louise and Allan Fraser’s Sigma 33 Prospero of Hamble have been fighting tooth and nail for third place overall. Pavlova III pulled out all the stops and won its race to take second overall, behind Chris and Vanessa Choules’ With Alacrity. Anne Louise beat Prospero of Hamble in IRC 4 to take third overall, behind the Impala 28s Polly and Trudi.
In IRC 0, Andrew Howard’s Belladonna carried on her run of firsts to take the top spot, but having only sailed three races this series, this could only take her up to sixth overall – leaving Paul and Julia Aisher’s ultra-consistent Tangent Minus One to win overall. Similarly, in IRC1, Jim MacGregor’s Premier Flair crossed the line first, but it was the consistent Visit Malta Puma that took the overall prize.
Despite electrical and engine problems on the way to the startline, Mike Bridges’ Elan 37 Elaine won IRC2. That put them equal on points with overall winner Steady Barker, who retired from the race but won overall on countback.
In the J/109 class, David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish won, with overall winner, Richard and Valerie Griffith’s OutraJeous finishing sixth. In IRC3, ImaDjinn beat J/97 Jika-Jika, but this wasn’t enough to stop Jika-Jika taking the overall prize. And, as ever it was a match between J/80 Jester and Hunter 707 Turbulence in the Mixed Sportsboat class, with Jester taking the day’s race, but Turbulence taking the overall class prize.
Day prizes were provided by MDL, and that rounds off the 2011 Garmin Hamble Winter Series nicely. All that’s left is the prizegiving next Saturday, at 1800 in the HRSC clubhouse. Next year’s series will be run from October 7–December 2 – see Hamble Winter Series for the full programme and final results and be sure to check out Paul Wyeth's wonderful photos from the series.