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Centenary Race Report

The sailing celebrations to mark the 100 year anniversary of Hayling Island Sailing club culminated in the Centenary Race at the club on Sunday 29 August 2021.

Over 150 boats entered the handicap race, including 20 cruisers and a wide range of dinghies, with many families and juniors taking part. Boats started simultaneously from four different lines, with each fleet sailing a course of a different length around a mix of inflatables and the fixed marks in Hayling Bay; 8 miles for the cruisers and slow handicap, 12 miles for the medium fleet and 16 miles for the fast boats. All fleets finished on the club line, and the results were amalgamated to produce a single winner of the event.

The race start was postponed 1 hr by PRO Charlie Bradshaw as the water was glassy at the scheduled start time of 11.00, but with a bright day and a northerly gradient the sea breeze started to build sufficiently for a start at 12.00.

Over the next four hours as the land and sea breezes tussled, the wind served up every direction and strength; at times sufficient for the leading Flying Fifteen to plane, at others so light that the entire Fireball fleet were becalmed – leading to a special Endeavour Award for Mike Partridge and Clare Davis who were last to complete the course, out of time but resolute, to record an elapsed time of 4 hrs 35 minutes.

The brief for the race was to be memorable, and the sight of all the boats sharing Hayling Bay mid-race was particularly spectacular.

The winners of each fleet won centenary glasses and a presentation pack from celebration sponsors  Salcombe Gin.

The cruiser fleet was won by Guy McBride and his crew on Exeat a Storm 33; triumphant in the Fast fleet were Andy & Tom Partington in their International 14, and taking line honours for the race and topping the Slow fleet were Judith Massey and Graham Williamson in their Wayfarer.

The overall winner of the Centenary Race also won the Medium Fleet, where James and Alison Yearsley with Jonny and Sophie Costard sailed their RS Elite to beat all comers.

There was an emotional moment when they were presented with the Centenary Trophy, which was commissioned for the event and incorporates elements of a prize from the first club regatta in 1921 into a new mounting made of wood from the iconic Scots Pine Tree in the club grounds (depicted on Delia Clark’s 1979 creation for Centenary Flag Project!) on which many members have played as children since 1921.

As always, enormous thanks to the member volunteers who supported the event in the preparation and build up, and on the day providing mark laying, rescue cover, results recording and race management, and of course the club staff for their loyal and enthusiastic help.

Graham Williamson
Vice – Commodore Sailing