We’ve reached the halfway stage in the 2014 Garmin Hamble Winter Series and a well-deserved mid-series break weekend. A range of weather conditions has tested competitors, with everything from flat calms to thirty knot gusts keeping fleets mixed up and boats changing positions from week to week. Looking ahead to the next half of the series, some exciting battles are lined up throughout the 80 plus black boat fleet.
In some classes, it’s super close at the top. In IRC 3, one point separates the J/97s ETB Tyres Just Like That and Blackjack II from first and second. In others, the leaders have sailed a perfect series, boats like Bernard Olesinski’s Xinska, with 5 wins from 6 races. But in each class there are battles between boats which look set to provide some tactical and busy racing as the series resumes on Sunday 9th November.
With just one race per day for the four remaining weekends, it’s not too late to knock the leaders off their podiums.
In IRC0, Martin Dent’s J/111 JElvis currently leads the fleet, four points ahead of Farr 45 Kolga and J/111 Journeymaker II, who are tied on points in second and third places. Xinska might be leading the IRC1 class by seven points, but Tim Octon’s Doyle Sails in second place and Stuart Wilkie’s Puma in third are only two points apart and look set to chase Xinska hard for her first place.
Richard Searle’s JPK1010 Pincer Movement leads IRC2 by seven points, but second-placed Hot Rats and third-placed Malice are only a point apart after 6 races and will be fighting to the end.
In IRC 3, J/97s take the top two spots, with ETB Tyres Just Like That and Blackjack II separated by only a point. Wee Bear in 3rd place isn’t far behind, engaged in her own tussle with fellow Hamble boat La Nef IV.
Sigma 33 Stan the Boat has a healthy lead over the rest of IRC 4, five points clear from X-95 Crakajax, herself five points clear of Impala 28 Polly in third. Quarter Tonner Flashheart is only 1.5 points behind in fouth, leaving much to play for in the second half of the series.
Polly leads the 7-strong Impala fleet in IRC 4, with Two Frank in second, but a close battle is building for third place, with Magic and Imptish equal on points. The Impalas’ larger David Thomas-designed sister, the Sigma 38, has the biggest one deisgn fleet in the series, and is led by 9 points by Nigel Goodhew’s Persephone who has sailed a cracking series so far with a near perfect scoreline of five firsts from six races. John and Susan Rainger on Light are only two points ahead of third-placed Kindred Spirit. This close fleet should produce some exciting racing in the second half of the series.
Things are also close in the J/109s, where Adrian Wheal’s Jolly Jack Tar is only one point ahead of Roger Philips’ Designstar II. Owain Franks’ Jynnan Tonnyx, in third, and Chris Burleigh’s Jybe Talking in fourth are close enough to make for a good battle in the second half of the series, starting this Sunday.