Hayling Hull Trophy 2016– Saturday dawned with a chilly 10 – 15 knot Northerly blowing through Chichester Harbour for the annual Hayling Hull open meeting. Hayling Island Sailing Club is playing host to the 2016 Nationals ( 16th – 19th June), so was the perfect opportunity for travelling boats to experience the challenges that Bracklesham and Hayling Bay have to offer.
The first big decision of the day was what to wear? Some would say this was more difficult than trying to work out the shifty offshore conditions. It turns out that those who donned dry suits were the only winners! With the fleet keen to escape the stinky onshore chat from Jones/Fitzgerald racing got underway at 1pm in a very wintery 12 – 15knots.
The next question on everyone’s minds was how was the radically looking ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ hull, built by Peter Crockford, going to compare against the usual suspects. Unfortunately, we will have to await the next instalment as they didn’t make the start due to a jib car failure.
The first race went the way of the ever-present World, National and European Champions, Team Truscoe, with a short gap back to Jones/ Fitzgerald, backing up their strong winter pursuit race form, with the Partingtons hot on their tails.
The second race saw the reformed partnership of Gilbert/ McGrane take up the mantle of trying to break Glen and Sam’s current dominance, which they just fell short of, with Andrew Peake and Graeme Oliver closing out the placings in Glen’s old boat.
By now the wind was starting to become slightly more unstable, with some big shifts and larger differences in pressure across the course. Gilbert/ McGrane used their experience to sneak past Team Truscoe on the final beat to take the win with the Partingtons taking a ‘death or glory’ approach to the right-hand side to overhaul four boats and take third.
One of the main talking points of the day appeared to be about how blooming cold it was and why Ed Fitzgerald was doing press-ups in the boat between races. Many thought it was an attempt at intimidating other crews, others believe he was trying to impress his master, Neale Jones. Once ashore the fleet warmed its cockles with dinner and drinks in the Hayling Island club house, before a relatively early night when the bar called last orders.
Sunday dawned with a very different prospect, bright sunshine and a very dodgy looking forecast. The forecast and proposed start time of 11am caused a few issues for the Itchenor fleet to sail out into the bay in order to make the first start. Rumour has it Katie Nurton launched at 7:30 to make it out on time and was duly rewarded as the race officer started the first race as soon as there was sufficient wind. She was handed another gift as the majority of the Hayling fleet also decided against launching with enough time to make the first start. With only four boats on the start line, Team Truscoe took the win, Gilbert/ McGrane second and Nurton/Ash third.
The rest of the day proved to be a race officer’s nightmare, with an ongoing fight between the North Westerly Gradient and developing sea breeze hampering attempts to start the second race. After a succession of failed attempts, the breeze finally settled down, allowing us to get the second race underway. A similar pattern to previous races occurred, with Team Truscoe showing excellent speed to take the win, Gilbert/ McGrane second and Jones/ Fitzgerald third.
A 12-14knot sea breeze finally arrived for the final race of the weekend. Obviously this caused too much excitement, with a general recall and then the subsequent start, there were some big casualties in the form of Team Truscoe, Jones/Fitzgerald and Peake/Oliver. This allowed Gilbert/McGrane and the Partingtons to battle it out at the front. Gilbert/ McGrane made the most of a big left hand shift to ease to the win. Fleet newcomer and RS200 supremo George Yeoman sailing with brother, Jack, took a well-deserved third.
Congratulations to Glen and Sam showing once gain why they are the ones to beat and to Roger and Ben for putting in a solid string of results to take second. An excellent weekend’s racing was had in some varied and challenging conditions. With people starting to throw their hat into the ring for the PoW showdown in two months’ time and up to nine new boats due to hit the water before the 2016 Worlds in Carnac, the 14 class is certainly an exciting place to be.
by International 14