Hayling Island Sailing Club 11/12th June 2016
85 optimist helms came from far and wide to make up a highly competitive fleet for the 2016 Harbour Chandlers Optimist Open, there was even an Australian visitor on his Europe wide tour of the major events. The hosts HISC put out 22 boats, from National Squad sailors to those trying the big courses of the Main Fleet for the first time.
In previous years the Open has been held in the harbour but in what was also a test event for the forthcoming Late Summer Ranking event the sailors left the beach at the Lifeboat Station and headed out into Hayling Bay. They were welcomed by calm seas and light winds, refreshing after the humidity of the dinghy park.
Our Race Officer for the weekend was Tim Hancock, who set a course just off the Hayling Beach. The fleet got away first time in 8 knots of breeze and with a gently flooding tide over the shallower waters. It was slow progress upwind but Aussie Blake Wilson established a comfortable lead and took the first bullet of the day.
There was much jostling for position at the committee boat end for the start of Race 2 and after a general recall and 4 black flagged boats the race was underway. The sailors who opted for the right hand side came out smiling and finished with much cheering as the first 7 sailors crossed the line…all members of Royal Lymington.
By the time Race 3 was in sequence the wind had lightened to 6 knots, but Archie Leckie had the measure of it and took the win.
The ever decreasing wind called an end to the days racing and it was Henry Heathcote from Royal Lymington YC who was the overall leader with 10 points clear having put in consistent top ten results during the day.
Once back ashore sailors tucked into a BBQ before heading to the beach for football and general larking around whilst parents enjoyed a sundowner on the club terrace.
Sunday arrived gloomy and wet but with the promise of a fresher breeze there was no dampening of enthusiasm amongst the sailors as boats hit the water for the sail to the bay.
As the fleet got underway for Race 4, with the stronger winds giving some closer racing, it was local sailor Kuba Staite who took line honours in style with Callum Davidson-Guild from Trearddur Bay leading from the first windward mark to claim Race 5.
Finally the sun made an appearance and Hayling Bay was at its finest, 15 knots of breeze, sparkling waves, it couldn’t get much better.
Archie Leckie enjoyed his second win of the event in Race 6 which took him into the overall lead.
The final race saw sailors crowding the back of the committee boat once again, and after a few general recalls the fleet was away. A new face at the front of the fleet in Alfie Dowson-Mcgill, from Royal Lyminton, leading them home with a tightly packed bunch giving chase just behind.
Well done to all the sailors. Overall winner was Archie Leckie (LLSC), 2nd Callum Davidson-Guild (Trearddur Bay), 3rd Kai Wolgram (Llyn Brenig), 4th Blake Wilson (RQYS/SYC), 5th Henry Heathcote (RLymYC)
First girl and 6th overall was India Page-Wood from HISC.
Oscar Morgan-Harris, Royal Southern Yacht Club was awarded the 10 and under prize.
Thank you to Harbour Chandlers for some superb prizes, and thank you also to all those who helped make the weekend such a success.
We look forward to welcoming sailors for the Regatta Open on 29th July and all sailors and many more back in early September for the Late Summer Ranking event.
View article in Yachts and Yachting.