Saturday the 2nd of April, 2011 saw a fleet of yachts and dinghies with very strangely dressed crews heading down the river Hamble and out to a start line in the Solent. Most of this gathering had just enjoyed a King or Queen cooked breakfast (depending how hungry you were) at the King & Queen pub in Hamble otherwise known as the "Rum Pub"
The reason for the gathering was the annual King & Queen pursuit race which is in aid of the independent Hamble River Lifeboat, with all entry fees, monies from a charity auction and collections go to. With prizes for the best dressed crew, the boat having the most fun, the best rounding of one of the marks, 2nd to last boat across the line etc etc you can start to understand what a strange looking race it is. That said it is still one of the most enjoyable local races around, with many tales and stories of races over the years going down in local folk law.
Twenty five boats in all entered this year ranging from a Mirror dinghy, RS600 through to J boats & Dehler's, basically whatever you wanted to enter. With two time served race officers on hand the handicaps where quickly sorted out and five separate courses set with the same start and finish lines. Handicaps did seem to be open to bribery and corruption, be it all in a good cause.
The first start was at 1030hrs and most boats had finished by 1215hrs in perfect sailing conditions of dry and sometimes sunny with a force three wind slightly gusting.
Peter Delbridge of Boatshed Hamble was racing with friends on board "Amigo's" a Dehler 34 which was heavily handicapped because it was deemed to have a bunch of BANDITS on board (See Photos). "Amigos" did win a prize though, a bottle of Mount Gay rum, be it for being the second from last boat across the finish, something to do with having to much fun and the drag effect of wearing Sombreros & Ponchos was mentioned afterwards in respect to their poor performance.
It was then back to the King & Queen Pub for a BBQ and even a gorgeous Paella. This was then followed by an auction of prizes donated by local companies such as Hamble Estate Agency and Boatshed Hamble.Com etc. The auction raised over £2,800 along with about another £500 from entries, and the funniest amount of £230 was raised by the male band members agreeing to play with their tops off !
After the auction it was time for the prize giving. 1st place went to "Never Give Up" the Mirror dinghy sailed by Martin Moody, 2nd place was won by "Tom" in the RS600 and third went to "Cejenica" an Achillies 24. All in all a great day was had by all with nearly £3,500 being raised for the Hamble River Lifeboat.
Ps. By the time the dancing started there was not much of the Rum left !
See you there next year.