HAMPTON SC REGATTA 19-20 JUNE - Richard Cannon

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    Saturday started with not a breath of wind and as the weather forecast was for a hot fine day we had visions of drifting races. But by the time Richard Cannon, Rodger Wheeler, Brian Clements and Laurie Bridges left for Hampton SC with a Signet, the Club Graduate, a Mirror and the rescue boat we had already been drenched by a hard shower and there was a good 2-3 westerly wind. The rescue boat could barely keep up with the sailors. One of our new junior members, Robert Britton met us at HSC to crew for Richard.
We raced in the handicap fleet. In past years there have only been 1 or 2 Hampton boats in this fleet but this year there were 2 Graduates, a Topper and a Mirror to keep us company. Merlin Rockets (12), GP14s (8), Enterprises (12), Lasers (6) and the Handicap Fleet (9) each had their own start.
The fresh, but patchy and shifty, West wind gave an interesting sail with over 30 dinghies racing, especially with other fleets, cruisers and rowers passing though the line at the start.
Richard had quite a boat to boat tussle with Steve Goulter, the Hampton Commodore, in his Solo and on handicap managed to win both long Saturday races (one and half hours each) by the small margin of about 4 seconds/lap from a ”Hampton” Graduate.
There was even a good wind for a remarkably easy sail back to AQSC and the rescue boat wasn’t needed to tow us back.
For Sunday Keith Hatton replaced Laurie Bridges and Charles Dennis joined us in his Graduate. There was some North in the somewhat stronger wind and this made for a remarkable change in the sailing conditions; there was very little wind
 
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  sailing past Platts Eyot and at Hampton the wind was force 0-4, extremely gusty and shifty . We were told it was about as bad as it gets there.
It was an eventful day. Rodger with Keith retired in the first race after capsizing. Richard with Robert had three very close shaves; they survived 6 consecutive death rolls on the run, a violent wind reversal while leaning right out on the beat, and a blow over in a gust which took the mast head to about a metre from the water and completely filled the boat. Robert had only been out in light winds before and was learning very fast, but found it somewhat scary with the extreme conditions amongst 47 boats.
During the lunch break Rodger had a nasty incident when his leg slipped down between two of the floating pontoons and badly grazed it from the calf to the thigh; he was fortunate to be able to continue sailing.
The afternoon had less extreme wind than the morning but we had yet another incident when Rodger’s mast fell down on rounding a mark and just missed Richard who was rounding behind him. The clevis pin had come out from a shroud.
The last race was uneventful and Richard let Robert helm on the runs and when we weren’t amongst a crowd of boats; Robert learnt a great deal over the weekend and was an excellent crew.
 
  Aquarius had a very enjoyable and successful weekend with Richard first in the Handicap fleet and Charles coming 3rd after a tie break between three boats.
This time we decided to use the rescue boat for a tow back to Aquarius and as we passed the Hampton Club there was a resounding ‘Three cheers for Aquarius’ from the row of Hampton members lining their balcony. This was typical of the excellent welcome we had from them throughout the weekend.
 
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