Hamble River Sailing Club, ‘HRSC’ to sailors around the globe, launched its second century this year after a remarkable Centenary of celebrations in 2019 that culminated in a 100-boat sail-past on the Club’s ‘birthday’, August 6th. On that date in 1919 nine Hamble men had gathered to form the club, full of optimism after the devastating Great War, with a mission statement “to encourage the sport of small boat sailing and racing”. It was also the end of an era when in December we said ‘farewell’ to Patrick Pym, one the illustrious group of six HRSC members who competed at the 1972 Olympic Games.
It’s a strange irony that a worldwide pandemic would become the major feature of year-one of the club’s second century, but in true HRSC style the flag officers and members under the leadership of Commodore Stephanie Merry rose to the challenge as the first club on the River Hamble, and possibly in the Solent, to restart organised activities after the COVID-19 lockdown was eased, when all activity on the water had been prohibited by government guidelines.
On Sunday May 17th a colourful Foxer fleet of 17 dinghies could be seen racing in ‘Foxer Bay’ near the Warsash shore, and soon after the cadet group resumed their regular weekly meets, then the Men-on-Board (MoB) and Women-on-Water (WoW) groups, all adhering to the strict COVID guidelines. Wednesday evening keelboat racing started up on 3rd June with family members crewing their boats with four weeks of ‘white sail’ all-in handicap racing including the ‘X’ One-Designs (with kites), before separate class racing resumed in July.
On 16th August the HRSC Club Regatta postponed from 28th June took place for all boats from junior sailors in their dinghies, to the XODs and yachts, again under crew restrictions to comply with the developing RYA guidelines. First run in the centenary year as a revival of the traditional HRSC Summer Regatta it is now billed to become an annual event once again.
HRSC has a proud history in team racing including a hat-trick of wins at the Patriot’s Cup in the USA, 2003-2005 at Newport Rhode Island, and this year another notable victory was chalked up on the Isle of Wight at Seaview Yacht Club. Two teams from HRSC were invited to enter the Prince Philip Cup sailed in Pico dinghies on 12th September. The ‘Foxer’ team won and was congratulated in a letter to the SVYC from HRH the Prince Philip, with the HRSC ‘MoB’ team in a creditable 5th place out of eight teams.
Starting in the late 1990’s junior or so-called ‘cadet’ sailing became a major HRSC activity, now with a former cadet Alice Ryan driving the initiative forward. This year for the first time at HRSC an open event for Optimist dinghies was held on 19-20th September attracting entries from as far as Parkstone, Lymington and Burghfield. With racing for the long established Uncle Bob’s junior events run alongside it the weekend was a huge success.
To encourage more people to go sailing HRSC is an RYA accredited training school, offering sailing courses for all ages and abilities, including powerboat tuition in well maintained club-owned boats, and now it also offers SUP paddle-board sessions. In this way the club caters for all ages and tastes, from tiny tots to great-grandparents. You can sail or race dinghies or keelboats and if you no longer wish to go out on the water you can remain part of the sailing community by helping to organise events.
Since the early 1980’s the UK yachting calendar would not be complete without the annual Hamble Winter Series run by HRSC during October and November. In previous years with up to 280 entrants it still attracts the best of British yachting including the Performance 40 yachts, IRC Classes, plus SB20 and J/70 sportsboats. https://www.hamblewinterseries.com
Wednesday Evening Racing has for many years been the focal point of midweek activity when members enjoy a couple of hours of relaxation during a busy week, and often invited crew migrate to club membership and boat ownership. The club always welcomes new members who may be starting out in sailing or those seeking competitive racing within the established racing classes. We look forward to seeing you at HRSC, membership details are at the website – https://www.hrsc.org.uk