30 Jul Hayling Hull 2013
The Hayling Hull had been recently reinstated on the i14 calendar on the last weekend of July and offered a final trip out before those going to the i14 worlds in Toronto put their boats into the container.
A wedding within the fleet decimated the turnout on Saturday, with only four boats putting to sea in a dribbly 5 kt breeze. This swiftly gave way to a thunderstorm and 30kts, sending the ‘fleet’ back to shore, where the subsequent 5kts didn’t look appealing, and racing was abandoned for the day.
Sunday dawned much more promisingly with a solid 15kts plus and bright sunshine. There was a brief delay to allow the sea state and depth on the way out to the race area out in Hayling Bay to become more navigable. Ominously, the Moths that were to be sharing the course were held ashore.
With some boats not even making it to the race course, the first race got off in the most solid breeze of the day, probably as much as you’d really want to race a 14 on open water. Andy Fitz, having chosen his black boat for the day, did a great job given the conditions of winning the very biased pin end of the line. Fitzgerald/Dobson and Holman/Elliott raced out beyond the layline to the bumpier left hand side of the course.
On converging on the top mark, it was Andy & Tom Partington in the lead having come out of the right hand side, with a little buffer allowing a decent lead down the run. Behind them it was all action, with Massey & McLean capsizing at the mark, Holman/Elliott rolling Fitzgerald & Dobson on the hoist, and taking Pattison & Tait who had a kite problem. After a hairy run and some very poor layline calls, the next beat saw the Partingtons’ lead suddenly evaporating as they checked what they thought was a serious mast problem. Luckily it turned out that the lowers had slipped out of the cleat on the shiny new B6, so with that fixed they resumed racing.
At the head of the course, Holman & Elliott held on despite some risible layline calls meaning four tacks in quick succession near the last windward – deeply unsound methods given the circumstances. Behind them, national champions Pattison & Tait had looked to have the better of the Partingtons until a capsize just shy of the line. Some of the rest of the fleet crossed the line under two sails, and provided some amusing wipeouts for the rest of the fleet.
The second race started in similar conditions, which moderated slightly as cloud rolled over during the race. The Partingtons and Elliott & Holman both crossed the line on port at the pin, winning the right hand side and giving a healthy lead over the rest of the fleet by the windward. At this stage, due to a combination of apathy / tiredness / breakage / fear of a week of all night repairs before container loading for Toronto / even greater fear of missing the very precise window for tea and cake in the clubhouse at Itchenor, many of the fleet started peeling off to go home.
The only finishers were the Partingtons, Holman & Elliott, and Fisher & Williams, perhaps having chosen the least suitable day in living memory to have two helms in the boat.
Fisher & Williams decided that discretion would be the better part of valour and went in rather than go around the washing machine for the final race.
And then there were two.
Many of the world’s best restaurants feature more staff than those that they serve. Wary of a similar imbalance here, and appreciative of already having dined handsomely at the table of HISC, and the staff wanting to shut the restaurant and go home, Holman and Elliott decided that something had to be done.
In order to provide some entertainment to the splendid race team, Holman & Elliott decided to engage the Partingtons in some half-baked match racing moves. After a brief palate cleanser of Lucozade Sport, and petits fours of soggy Twix fingers, the protagonists entered the starting area.
Given the conditions, the modern International 14 is about as suitable a vehicle for the purpose of match racing as a 72ft wing-sailed catamaran, and trying to perform a credible move could be likened to keeping a dog in a bath. Probably a big hairy one with teeth, like an Irish wolfhound.
Despite no doubt being somewhat precious about their new craft, Daddy Partington swatted away the advances of Holman & Elliott in much the same way as he would those of an amorous puppy. Holman & Elliott almost provided a bit too much entertainment, narrowly avoiding crashing into the committee boat. From then on, the outcome of the ‘match’ race became as predictable as one involving one or even two 72ft wing-sailed catamarans.
Team Partington romped off to a decent lead, one tacking the beats, one gybing the runs. After a great final run on the shortened 2 lap race, Holman & Elliott closed to within almost overtaking range. Alas it was not to be, and the Partingtons won overall by a point, and must feel very confident going towards the world championships in Canada having been sharpened up so rigorously for any last race shenanigans.
Top 3 results:
1st GBR 1549 Andy & Tom Partington, HISC
2nd GBR 1515 Daniel Holman & Jeremy Elliott, Netley
3rd GBR 1512 Steve Fisher & Adrian Williams, HISC
By Daniel Holman