Weekend four of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series delivered some tight racing - Photo Hamo Thornycroft.



A suitably eerie mist  descended to finish off the Halloween weekend, and with it the fourth weekend of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series and Rule 26 Hamble Big Boat Series.

With racing on both days for a large fleet of 15 boats in IRC 0 and four Farr 45’s in the Big Boat Series, Saturday’s steady 8-12 knots tracked slowly right during the day to enable the fleet to get four races in by 1500. In IRC0, the Mills 40 Tokoloshe won the day’s first two races, but J/133 Jammy Dodger took the second half’s top spot. Her sister-ship Jeronimo put in a solid performance with two podium positions, as did the Swan 42 Brevity, who took two seconds. In the Farr 45 class, Niklas Zennstrom’s Ran won three out of the day’s four races, with Alice II second overall after a 2, 2, 1, 3 scoreline.

With the end of BST and an hour’s extra sleep, Sunday dawned with 12-18 knots from the WSW, which let the race team squeeze two races in for all classes in the Rule 26 Big Boat Series and Garmin Hamble Winter Series, which this week was supported by One Sails GBR. With windward-leeward courses for all classes, the race area became a little congested at times, but courses of different lengths kept classes apart in a fine drizzle that gave way to a damp mist.

Peter Rutter’s Quokka 8 won both races in IRC 0, ahead of Bob in race one and David Bartholemew’s Tokoloshe in race two, but it wasn’t enough to stop Tokoloshe taking the series overall. Ran won both her races to complete her near-perfect weekend scoreline in the Farr 45 class, but it was Simon Henning’s Alice II that sailed consistently well to take first overall in the Big Boat Series.

In IRC 1, Jim MacGregor’s Premier Flair won both races convincingly – but the racing was close in the whole fleet, with only 39 seconds separating 5th and 8th place. Match 38 Steady Barker continued her run of form in IRC 2, ahead of Elan 37 Elaine, who scored two second places.

The J/97 Jika Jika, sailed by Mike and Jamie Holmes, topped IRC 3 in both races. In the J/109s, Just So won the first race, while OutraJeous took the second. The J/109 class actually finished their own race after a communications mix-up with the finish-line boats led to a brief but conspicuous absence of committee boats at the finishing line!

Some of the closest racing of the day was seen in the evergreen Sigma 38 class. Chris and Vanessa Choules’ With Alacrity took the first race, with many a needle match throughout the fleet. Max and Rebecca Walker won the second race in Pavlova III, giving them a two-point lead overall in this competitive fleet.

Impala 28 Polly headed the IRC 4 class, pursued hotly by Peter Slimming’s Hunter 30 Anne Louise, and Graham Edwards’ beautifully varnished self-built My Dream not far behind. The mixed sportsboat fleet had a mix of classes this week, and saw J/80 Jester and Hunter 707 Turbulence taking a race each.

So after four weekends, where competitors have experienced everything from big breezes to calms, fog and drizzle, next weekend sees a mid-series break. The fifth weekend of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series returns in a fortnight, with some tantalizing battles lining themselves up in each class.

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