Visitors from Cowes and Burnham along with the locals from HISC, made up an impressive fleet of 22 RS Elites racing for the Southern Area Championships. They were dished up a big weekend of weather with 22-27 knots of southerly wind kicking up a monster sea over the windward-leeward course in Hayling Bay. The fleet got away on time for Race 1 on Saturday, setting off on an epic one mile beat before surfing downwind with big gains to be made steering down the waves. Foudafafa (76 – Mike McIntyre, Caroline McIntyre and Simon Childs) came out on top with Wombat (55 – Russell Peters, Zeb Elliott and Mark Darling) second and No Riff Raff (20 – Tom Hewitson, Mitch Webb and Andrew Bonsey) in third.
The breeze eased to 15 -20 knots for Race 2 with reigning champion More T Vicar (67 Ossie Stewart, Cameron Stewart and Tom Stewart) breaking clear of the pack to build a comfortable lead and take the win with Wombat once again in second and Foudafafa in third. The third and final race of the day was a much more genteel affair in 12-14 knots of breeze with Foudafafa and Legs Eleven (11 – Paul Fisk, Martin Grady and Caroline Fisk) taking advantage of a left hand shift to open a gap to the battle for third place between No Riff Raff and Centurion (101 – Robert Holbrook). Once again Foudafafa took the race win with Legs Eleven in second and Centurion third. So, at the end of Day 1 and after 1 discard, Foudafafa were overnight leaders counting two bullets, with Wombat in second on 4 points and Legs Eleven third on 6 points.
After a Jägerbomb-tastic party night shared with a magnificent wedding party, the skies cleared on Sunday morning and the breeze was back up to 20-25 knots from the west for the start of Race 4. Wombat got off the start line cleanly from the pin end to open up an unassailabe lead by the windward mark. After a mediocre day on Saturday Aelous (33 – Mike Thomson, T Price and H Mclean) found the go button to lead the chasing pack of Foudafafa and Shaken Not Stirred (7 – Colin, Paul and Jamie Smith) who had also had an indifferent first day (by their standards) due to gear failure. The finishing order was Wombat, Aeolus and Foudafafa. For the final race, the breeze built further to a solid 25-30 knots as Wombat and Shaken Not Stirred fought for the lead with Aeolus chasing in third. They finished in that order with Mzungu (65 – Toby Strauss, Rob Cruickshank and Quentin Strauss) recording their best result of the regatta in fourth.
With five races completed, Wombat came out Championship winners on six points with Foudafafa close behind in second on eight points, Shaken Not Stirred third, No Riff Raff fourth and Legs Eleven fifth.
A huge thank you to Race Officer Steve Hine and his team for loading up on Stugeron and braving the big seas to lay on a first class regatta. The competitors went home smiling.