|Hayling Island Sailing Club played host to the 8th round of the 2019 Craftinsure Silver Tiller series over the weekend of 27/28 April. As the first sea category event of the year a highly competitive fleet of 26 boats entered the event.|
Storm Hannah also showed up and that put an end to any chances of racing on Saturday with over 35 knots blowing out in the bay. The club sensibly made an early call to cancel racing and sailors head off to occupy themselves in various ways, e.g. eating, drinking, exercising, buying sheds, studying tide timetables.
Sunday was bright and a moderate NW was a welcome change from the gales of Saturday. The fleet headed out under spinnakers readying themselves for a hike-a-thon but probably not expecting so many snakes and ladders. The course format was sausage triangle sausage and the racing was close throughout the day.
Simon & Ally Potts seemed to have won the start at the port end and looked set to lead at the first mark, however it was a group on the right hand side of the beat who benefitted from more pressure and a favourable shift. Ben & Roz McGrane took an early lead, however Team Potts made a great recovery on the run and 2nd beat to take back the lead. After a close tussle the final order was Potts, McGrane, with Tim Fells and Fran Gifford taking third.
Nick Craig and Toby Lewis thought they'd nailed the start, only to be caught OCS (the only one of the day). The McGranes led comfortably to win the race (thankfully their boat is bright blue, so they're always easy to spot on the horizon), but behind them it was a close race between the Potts, Chris' Gould & Kilsby, Chris' Jennings & Martin, and Roger Gilbert & James Stewart. Ultimately the top three was McGranes, Potts and Jennings & Martin.
The overall result was in the balance, however the McGranes took control to win the race and safely secure the event with the Potts having a rare bad race. Nick & Toby rediscovered their mojo to finish second, followed by the father/son combination of Will & Arthur Henderson. Newcomers David & Victoria Lenz showed big improvements through the day to finish forth in the final race.
Overall Ben & Roz McGrane won the event and second on the podium went to Simon & Ally Potts. After them the points were very close with Chris Jennings & Chris Martin taking third and the prize for the first boat crewed only by people called Chris.
The Silver fleet prize went to Tim & Lucy Harridge, with Joe Mclaughlin & Sean Roberts taking home the bronze fleet prize.
The month of May brings three more Silver Tiller events: 4-6 May Pwllheli; 11/12 May Starcross; and 18/19 May Brightlingsea.
The 2019 Silver Tiller is sponsored by Craftinsure, with Magic Marine as the clothing partner for the class.