Hare & Hounds –
6 December 2016

Well, the Hare & Hounds has one more weekend left before the final showdown between ESC, ESSC and Thorney, and what a great series it has been so far! The results are immaterial ... of course, this may be because I have been sailing for ESC (sorry, Thorney) and I think Slipper may win, but who cares?

So why is it that a series which takes place in the middle of winter is so popular?

Here a few possible reasons:
  1. The great interclub rivalry. It is one thing to try to do well individually but it’s much more fun to feel part of a team (even a losing one).
  2. There are so many different boats and you can always find someone of a similar pace to race. Even the super quick Musto Skiff may get challenged by an International Canoe or a cheeky young barefoot windsurfer.
  3. At the other end of the spectrum, there are folks in boats made of wood (remember that old stuff from trees) such as Dean in his Solo and Steve in his Enterprise. They still come off the water with huge grins. I guess if they weren’t sailing they might have to do some varnishing.
  4. For some reason it attracts husbands and wives, who clearly like to test their marriages to the limit.
  5. It attracts single handers – self-centred individuals whose wives won’t sail with them any more.
  6. It attracts families who prefer not to sail in one boat together but love to compete against each other, determined never to give in to their offspring (like the Kennedys, Jenkins, Fifields), but I think the young’uns are winning!!!
  7. Then there are dads who sail with young sons and daughters, giving them a chance to experience something more exciting than a TV, iPad, phone or PlayStation. These small folk may go on to love the sport themselves one day, and then they can play the same nasty trick on their kids.
  8. There are those offspring who already have way more talent than their old folks, but are kind enough to take them out for a spin, even though they know their chances of doing well will be massively limited with such doddery crew (Vicky and Sprout, Ethan and Mike or Henry and Nigel spring to mind).
  9. The start line is always exciting and often simulates a big fleet, but with far more potential for carnage especially in those downwind humdingers.
  10. The racing tends to be compact, with lots of mark roundings to test your boat handling and rules knowledge. If you don’t want to read a rules book then point your boat at the other type of Mark (either Riddington or Rushall) and they will help you understand the rules, one in an angry way, immediately, and the other in a more sympathetic way in the bar. And remember, no swearing, because there are GoPros recording all sorts out there – I’d love to see some footage, Claire!!
  11. Most of all we love it when the cruisers are off the water. So much more space ...
  12. And of course you really do earn that pint, with a bit of rugby and perhaps even an afternoon snooze thrown in for good measure.

This is club racing at its best. Why wouldn’t you want to do it?

If you haven’t done a Hare & Hounds yet then Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December are your last chance.

Thanks to ESSC for running a brilliant event, although I suspect the last RO might have finishing me a second late ...

Dave Acres
Photo: www.fotoboat.com



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