Pics: Tim Olin
The 2017 SailRacer Round Hayling saw over 100 competitors gather at Hayling Island Sailing Club for the annual long distance race. With glorious sunshine and balmy temperatures Hayling Island was at its best.
Hayling Island is considered the spiritual home of windsurfing, with the iconic Round Hayling Race dating back to 1980. In recent years the race has been open to other craft including the increasingly popular Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) and outrigger canoes.
The 2017 SailRacer Round Hayling was certainly a game of two halves, with the paddlers benefiting from a following breeze up to Hayling Bridge and the windsurfers enjoying a fast reaching leg across Langstone Harbour. With the wind backing east as the fleet passed Hayling Seafront, the paddlers struggled to make progress against the head wind and building tide.
First off at 13:00 were the Outrigger Canoes, with a strong fleet of OC6s looking very impressive with their six crew vigorously paddling to gain best advantage off the start line. At the bridge Richard Parrott’s team had a good lead, arriving in under 30 minutes and leading John Galilee by 45 seconds. Aided by a following wind, times to pass the bridge were ahead of the record times for this stage of the race.
By the time the OC fleet had reached Hayling Ferry and leaving the comfort of Langstone Harbour, heading out to sea and Hayling Bay, leg times were down by a good five minutes on last year’s record. An indication of the less than ideal conditions for the paddlers was that several of the leading windsurfers had already over hauled the OC6s despite starting five minutes behind.
With the wind shifting more to the south east as the fleet passed Hayling seafront, speeds on the SailRacer GPS trackers were falling as the paddlers struggled against the head wind. Despite the tougher conditions on the penultimate leg, Richard Parrott’s team had built up a solid 300 m lead as the OC fleet hugged the shore to dodge the tide.
As they rounded the final point and home straight, John Galilee’s team had taken a more inshore route and closed the gap with Richard Parrott’s team. By the time these two were in sight of the finish line, they were neck and neck, with John Galilee’s Team securing the more favorable inside berth and slacker water. At the line it was a virtual photo finish with John Galilee’s Team taking the gun at 2 hours, 3 minutes and 8 seconds, with Richard Parrott’s team a mere 4 seconds behind, with these times over 20 minutes slower than last year’s record circumnavigation.
Starting five minutes after the OCs a big fleet of windsurfers set off with a solid ten knot breeze. Multiple winner Rob Kent was looking to make it an amazing seven straight wins. Young Lewis Barnes, a race regular and with two podium positions under his belt was looking to make 2017 his year, reaching the bridge first just ahead of Paul Leone another top competitor. Rob Kent was in third place enjoying a close battle with his wife Annette and daughters Emily and Rebecca.
With the favourable wind direction, the windsurfers were enjoying some great reaching conditions and high speeds recorded on the SailRacer GPS trackers, with Lewis Barnes topping 20 kts, almost twice the wind speed. At the end of Langstone Harbour the front runners in the wind surfer fleet had passed the OCs, with Lewis Barnes pulling away at a rate of knots. With an upwind leg and punching the tide, the windsurfers slipped back merging with the OCs as the former had to tack out into the tide.
By the final turning point, Lewis Barnes was back out in front of all craft and pulling away at great speed to take line honours and a record time for recent years of 1 hour 55 minutes 29 seconds. Paul Leone was 2nd for the second year running, three minutes behind Lewis. Rob Kent completed the podium with Alysia Gibson not far behind in 4th and first lady.
For the SUP Company Round Hayling Challenge, top riders Paul Simmons and Jamie Harman battled it out in the 14 ft division. Paul was first to the bridge in 37 minutes, quite a bit faster than his record breaking time last year. Phil McCoy led the 12 ft division, not far off the pace of the larger boards.
On leaving Langstone Harbour, Paul Simmons was still on target to smash his record time for the 14 mile circumnavigation. Unfortunately with a stiff head wind and building adverse tide, progress for the SUPs was painfully slow, with Paul now around five minutes behind as it entered the final straight. With an ever stronger tide Paul finished in 2 hours 32 minutes and 20 seconds, seven minutes slower than his 2016 record breaking time. Amazingly Paul Simmons was over 23 minutes ahead of second place Jamie Harman, again demonstrating the power of the building tide.
Replays of the 2017 Round Hayling Race available via the SailRacer GPS trackers on the event website :
1st – Andy Trunks 2:22:04
1st – John Galilee 2:03:08
Windsurfers (Gold – full circumnavigation)
1st – Lewis Barnes 1:55:29
Windsurfers (Silver – Hayling Ferry Finish)
1st – Anthony Thomson
Windsurfers (Bronze – Bridge and Back)
1st – Brendan O’Connor
SUPs – 14 ft Division
1st – Paul Simmons 2:32:12
SUPs – 12 ft Division
1st – Phil McCoy 3:08:52
1st – Neil Lovesey (Inflatable)
1st – Mark Rose (Inflatable)