The final weekend of January saw Wessex Sailing Club, welcome 13 alumnus teams to Spinnaker Club, Ringwood. The lineup was completed by the current second team, as the First VI were away representing at the Oxford Top Gun. The depth of talent assembled showed; there were countless National, European and World champions in all manner of classes and disciplines. Additionally a number of umpires swapped giving penalties for taking them and this gave ChUmp (Greg Ansell) a challenge, nevertheless 7 umpires over 4 boats kept a good eye on proceedings. Although the lack of wind meant sailing had to be cut short on Sunday afternoon, nearly a full round robin was run with everyone getting to sail everyone else.
Saturday dawned cold, but with otherwise perfect team racing conditions. Sailing was underway before 1000 am and the competitors seemed to appreciate re-living their university years; although some seemed to have enjoyed re-visiting Southampton drinking holes a little too much on the Friday night. The steady force 2 to 3 conditions allowed for great racing with some teams managing to do 10 races before the end of the day.
The active teams seemed to have a distinct advantage over the rustier entries and by the end of day one, Wessex Hawks and Team Fun were unbeaten with Wessex Allstars and Wessex Pirates chasing hard but getting better all day as they re-learnt their forgotten team racing talent!
A big social on Saturday night did not deter the PRO, Mike Greenland, from scheduling a 0930 warning signal for Sunday morning.
Amazingly the competitors were ready but the wind was not, fickle light winds meant sailing eventually started at 1030 and held just long enough to finish the last 25 races in the round robin. Early victories on Sunday morning for Team Fun and Wessex Hawks meant that only these two teams were unbeaten. Their meeting could decide the event, and the light fickle winds meant that knockouts were unlikely and thus this race was fully umpired.
As expected it was an easy victory for the current world champions, a great pin end start from Cornah/Fairclough, coupled with a clinical pre start at boat end by both Field/Foster and Findlay/Harrison meant the Hawks had the upper hand all race and secured a 1 2 3 by the downwind leg.
This meant that second place was wide open and Allstars championed over Team Fun by sailing fast within the rules whilst Team Fun spun for rule 42 infringements. This meant that they drew on wins, but Allstars took second on count back.
The event was the first of many this year for the Wessex/Spinnaker partnership. It was a great test bed for the upcoming Deloitte Wessex Winter Warmer, BUSA Qualifiers and RYA BUSA Ladies Championships. Many thanks must go to all the helpers, and expertise, from Spinnaker as well as the many current students who helped out.
1. Wessex Hawks – 13 wins
(Andy Cornah, Kate Fairclough, Ben Field, Tom Foster, Matt Findlay & Sophie Harrison)
2. Wessex Allstars – 11 wins
(Steve Tyler-Coate, James Williams, Rob Sherrington, Mel Sherrington, Ben Vines & Jenny Vines)
3. Team Fun – 11 wins
(Andy Shaw, Holly Scott, Stevie Tiernan, Tim Goodhew, Ed Morris and Emily Giles)
4. Wessex Pirates – 10 Wins
5. 1991 – 8 wins
6. Frog and Frigate RIP – 8 wins
7. Fresh Scum – 6 wins
8. SMVC – 6 wins
9. Hammer Heads – 5 wins
10. Soton 2 – 1 Win
11. Exiled Monkeys
Did Not Finish Round Robin:
1. Banzai Slayers (6 wins from 12 races)
2. The Fats and Furious (2 wins from 11 races)
3. Wessex Mish Mash (2 wins from 12 races)