CHANGING winds, multiple capsizings and a broken mast were all features of a testing day for competitors in the latest round of Highcliffe Sailing Club's Sea Spring Points Series on Sunday.
The blustery, south-westerly wind fluctuated between two and 17 knots in an unusually busy harbour with the RNLI's annual fun day also taking place.
A square course was set for race one with the determined Ken Fowler (Laser Radial), relatively new to sea racing, pushing hard at the front of the fleet.
Fowler was quickly followed by Pete Bell (Europe) who was awarded the race win on corrected times with Chris Perry (Laser) in third.
With the gusts gathering pace, the race team set a triangular course for race two.
John Phelps (Laser) enjoyed better fortunes to storm across the line some 40 seconds clear of second-placed Fowler with Bell close behind.
Highcliffe youngsters Josh McCormick and Jamie Perry traded their Lasers to double up in the club's RS Vision but their inexperience in double-handed sailing and an unfortunate capsize 10 metres from the finish line held them back.
Bell leads the series so far ahead of Fowler in second and Phelps in third.
- Last weekend saw Poole Yacht Racing Association's fleet head east across the bay, racing into the Solent with a 20-knot south westerly in a run to Lymington and back.
In Saturday's leg, Ian Stanbridge's Elan 40 led the boats through Hurst, closely followed by Lis and Alan Bennett (J109).
With the wind dropping, the fleet rounded Hampstead Ledge before a beat back to Lymington Bank. Tide avoidance was essential with Stanbridge being followed by Brian Thompson and Ivor Graham (Dehler 36) heading north to the Lymington shore and the remainder of the fleet hugged the island coast.
Stanbridge was able to hold off Bennett when they converged at what was a significant tidal gate, but Mark Brook and Keith Lovett (Match 35) made up considerable time and despite rounding in fourth were able to run into Lymington as winners of Class One.
Following a lively night in Lymington thanks to sponsorship from Wareham-based Morgan Carey, an 8am start on Sunday saw the fleet returning west with Stanbridge and the Bennetts again out in front heading into Christchurch Bay.
Giles Alden (Sun Fast 3200) split away from the pack, taking the Needles Channel whilst the remainder headed north of the Shingles Bank.
When the fleet converged before a windward-leeward loop in Poole Bay, Alden was vying for third place with Thompson and Graham, but Brook and Lovett came through to secure third place behind dominant duo Stanbridge and Bennett.