Fine hospitality, hot weather, light winds and tight racing characterised the RS Elite Class’s return to the Royal Yacht Squadron for the Hudson Wight sponsored Southern Area Championships on July 26 / 27.

With the result hanging in the balance as the two leaders swapped gybes in drifting conditions when the breeze died at the final leeward mark of the final race it was warm and tense work for the crews.

The RS Elite Class enjoyed a fabulous Nationals at the RYS in 2012, so it was a welcome return to enjoy their fabulous setting, wonderful hospitality and great racing, impeccably organised as ever by Charlie and Julia Egerton-Warburton. No amount of planning, however, could overcome the wind not playing ball on the first day as the competitors sweltered in their boats, waiting for as long as they could handle it. But Sunday brought just enough breeze to complete four races in the kind of conditions that tested everyone’s nerve at some stage.

Class Chairman, Steve Powell’s team in E’Tu opened their excellent series with a fine and popular win in Race 1 after leading around every mark by no more than a few metres ahead of the Wadhams’ in Kiss. They followed up with consistent starts and scores of 3, 5, 4 in the remaining races to secure third overall and two points ahead of the furthest travelled boat, John Patterson’s Momentary Laps from Belfast Lough.

As often seems to happen, a battle built up between recently re-crowned National Champion Jono Brown’s team in Aeolus and Martin Wadhams team in Kiss, with the boats on level points going into the final decider. Aeolus rounded the top mark ahead but Kiss found better breeze downhill and took the lead, then lost it again a lap later when the wind died. After a long duel, sometimes conducted going backwards on the tide, Jono Brown once again found the zephyr that counted and became the worthy winner of the Hudson Wight Southerns title to add to his trophy cabinet.

Some excellent Hudson Wight foul weather gear was collected at the prizegiving and most of the boats remain in Cowes and the crews will return next weekend for the “off road” racing and party time that is the inimitable Cowes Week!

Overall results

1st Aeolus Jono, Lyn and David Brown – 8pts

2nd Kiss Martin & Amanda Wadhams & Piers Thomas – 9pts

3rd E’Tu Steve Powell, Donald Maclean & Ken – 13pts

4th Momentary Laps, John Patterson, Neil & Buzz – 15pts

5th Wombat, Jason & Jonathon Proctor & Rory – 25pts