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Hunt Cup 2021 at Lymington Town Sailing Club

by Dave Gorringe 6 Jan 04:03 NZDT 26 December 2021

The high winds forecast earlier in the week did not materialize. Instead no wind and dense fog for the finale of the 2021 season left LTSC race team with last minute decisions on changes to the sailing instructions.

This however could not deter competitors desperate to fill that last spot on the mantelpiece with the trophy for the toughest high-stakes winter race.

This year's fancy dress theme was dominated by superheroes.

After a briefing, outlining the course and amendments to the sailing instructions which included dynamic moveable marks, on the water judging and a reversing manoeuvre for crossing the finish line. The LCS flag was used to penalise competitors for "Lack of Christmas Spirit"

The race got away promptly. With a break in tradition the Le Mans-style start was from outside the front of the clubhouse with a glass of mulled wine ably prepared and distributed by Alex and Liam.

Spectators were treated to unenviable access to competitor vessels and despite their best efforts were unable to prevent anyone getting afloat this year.

Peter Barton (Bat Pete) was first to get on the water and got to just past the pontoon before the first capsize in the challenging conditions.

There was intense activity required to comply with the amended sailing instructions. As always unexpected ways to thwart the rules were imagined by competitors, followed by interpretation and subsequent penalties issued by the on the water judges Giles and Heather Chipperfield

After half an hour of rolling, pumping, ooching, paddling, motoring, fixing engines - in fact anything to propel the boats forward let alone backwards, including getting out and walking - muscles were getting tired and nerves frayed with the imagined pressure to complete as many laps as possible diligently recorded by ARO Giles Thornton.

Everyone was relieved to hear the fog horn of the approaching ferry which signalled the shortening of the course.

With everyone safely ashore, it was time to assess the results. It was a close run event this year with the 2019 winners Nick and Finn Simmons in the Bat Mirror getting an honorary mention, but they could not match the ineptitude of third placed John and Becci in the halloween-inspired and apparently unsteerable rubber dub and SUP combo. In second place, in the Bat Seafly MkII, were Bats Pam and Chloe. There was concern among the judges that with so many bat folk diverted to the Hunt Cup that crime would be running amok in Gotham City.

The 2021 Hunt Cup went to Spider Iona Willowes performing on an Aero.

A big thank you to all the competitors and spectators for supporting this event. Photos kindly provided by Sue Markham, Richard Russell and Abbey Knightly-Hanson.

Hope you all have a safe and prosperous 2022.

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