But ah, what might have been...
|Brian helms SSD Hurricane down the startline (image: Paul Wyeth, used with permission)|
Brian Thompson helmed us into a superb start, sailing right down the line and rounding up to cross literally as the gun fired, putting us into the leading pack from the very beginning. As we started to tack up into the very choppy, wind-over-tide conditions down the Western Solent, we held position among the front of the fleet without any great difficulty.
|SSD Hurricane (lower right) leads down the Western Solent (image: TH Martinez/Sea&Co/onEdition; free for editorial use)|
|Above two images: The fightback begins...and we're not even at Hirst yet! (images: Beken of Cowes, used under licence)|
|Above two images: Punching upwind in the Needles Channel (image: Pixstel/Colin K Work, used under licence)|
|SSD Hurricane powers up the Eastern Solent on the final leg (image: Beken of Cowes, used under licence)|
We were amazed, frankly, to get a podium position after all that we'd been through, but that didn't take away a sense of frustration: the time difference between third and first was very small, and but for our own errors with the foresail, even the earlier collision wouldn't have prevented us from scoring a class win.
Oh well. Better luck next year...