Hamble Winter Series: OFFBEAT Wins on Weekend Five

(Hamble, England)- A cold calm morning marked the restart of the 2010 Garmin Hamble Winter Series with a two-hour wait for racing to get underway. This long postponement was broken at its halfway point by two guns, these marking either end of the two-minute silence to observe Remembrance Sunday.

By midday the expected breeze filled in from the north, and with seven Black Fleet classes to start these were combined into three groups to shorten the sequence. A single course was set for all classes, with the Fastnet Insurance and North Ryde Middle buoys as the first two marks of a six-mile course, with East Bramble as the finish. As the shifting breeze steadily backed and built to over 20 knots by the finish what had been conceived as a windward leeward course soon turned into power reaches and provided some exciting moments for the concentrated fleet.

In race 9, Dave McLeman’s team on OFFBEAT sailed well to claim the coveted winner’s thorny wreath to wear down at the pub after the races. Second was J2EAU sailed by Steve and Jody Maine, third ME JULIE raced by Dom Monkhouse, fourth was AUDAJIOUS captained by David Jobson and fifth was DESIGNSTAR skippered by Roger Phillips.

The J/109s continue to set the pace for large offshore one-designs in England. It’s not coincidental that certain teams continue to hang in the top five despite what are obviously challenging conditions. Near the top in most events happens to be J-DREAM; Kirsty and Dave Apthorp’s team are clearly not relying on "bangers and mash and Guinness" to power them to victory. "Pasties" for sure are not part of their lexicon. Nevertheless, there’s is a story of remarkable consistency over the course of time. This past weekend was an exception, finishing 9th and staring at a few transoms they’ve never seen before– "who are those blokes?" was a refrain overhead a few times.

Overall, the Apthorp’s J-DREAM continues to lead with just 8 points followed in 2nd by Dave’s OFFBEAT, 3rd is OUTRAJEOUS sailed by Richard and Valerie Griffith with 27 pts, 4th is ARIA led by Luca Rubinelli with 29 pts and 5th AUDAJIOUS skippered by David Jobson with 37 pts. The series continues on November 21st.

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