Tom Hewitson and crew in Shaken not Stirred were overall winners in the RS Elite Southern Area Championship held at Hayling Island Sailing Club (HISC) over the weekend of 10/11 July in what was effectively a dress rehearsal for the National Championship also to be hosted by HISC later this month.
The weekend was characterised by light and shifty winds which proved tricky both for the competitors and for the race team, who did an exemplary job in providing competitive and enjoyable racing.
On Saturday morning Race Officer Mark Darling held the 17-strong fleet inside the Harbour while the drizzle cleared and a light breeze began to fill in on cue at lunchtime. After a couple of general recalls, Race 1 finally got under way under black flag in a shifty 5 to 10 knot south easterly and a significant east west tidal set across the course in Bracklesham Bay.
More T Vicar (67, Ossie Stewart, Alice Masterman, Tom Stewart) showed great boat speed to build a comfortable lead by the first windward mark. Whilst they came under pressure in the light runs downwind, they held on for the win with Riff Raff (20, Russell Peters, Greg Wells, Zeb Elliott) in second and Shaken Not Stirred (7, Tom Hewitson, Colin Smith, Jo Hewitson) in third. A change of tide direction led to a black flag start for Race 2 with the fleet being pushed perilously close to the line. Urafiki (92, James Yearsley, John Costard, Anna Wells) read the shifts well to establish a lead over More T Vicar who they held off for the remainder of the two lap course. Finishing fast were Riff Raff who battled through the fleet to record their second place of the day pushing More T Vicar into third.
Sunday got off to a drier start with a similarly light south easterly breeze. The day’s racing was to be dominated by Shaken Not Stirred working the shifts with boat and crew in the groove. They showed a clean pair of heels in Race 3 with Lazy Daisy (66, Andy Partington, Gareth Edwards, Karen Partington) reading the breeze well to finish second and Riff Raff chasing hard in third. Race 4 was once again led from start to finish by Shaken Not Stirred finishing first from Riff Raff in second and Vagrant (65, Toby Strauss, Rob Cruickshank, Aidan Mitchell) third. The final race was a much more shifty affair with Urafiki and Shaken Not Stirred battling all the way round for the lead. Urafiki read the final beat to perfection to take the lead when it mattered most and seal the race win from Shaken Not Stirred in second and Riff Raff third.
Shaken Not Stirred’s spectacular performance on day 2 was sufficient to fend off the strong challenge from reigning champions Riff Raff, who finished second with an impressively consistent set of results and Urafiki third.