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The Harbour Dash is a legendary race that has been contested in Weymouth since 1986. The BIG Dorset Outdoor Weekend was the perfect excuse to bring the event back from its dormant state, with a view to making it an annual feature in the calendar. With the exact day and time of the race remaining fluid for as long as possible leading up to the weekend, it enabled us to choose the best possible conditions … and to our great relief the conditions turned up as predicted. The light winds and showery squalls of Saturday morning gave way to winds gusting up to 25knots and wall-to-wall sunshine, come the race brief at 14:30. Some brave competitors sailed down from the harbour, Tom Squires realising his choice of a 7.8m and hydrofoil may have been a little excessive! He quickly changed to a fin…

At exactly 15:00 the race commenced and it was soon clear that Nick Dempsey’s record time of 16min 40sec (2011) was not going to be under threat on this occasion. With a SW wind direction, the hardest part of the race was going to be the beat up to the north entrance of the wall … and so it proved. Despite the clear visibility of Portland’s harbour wall, you don’t quite appreciate its scale until you lose sight of windsurfing sails as they charge upwind towards it. The total distance of the race, as the crow flies, is 7.2nautical miles … and yet the competitors covered much more than this, having to tack several times to get to the north entrance.

The reach inside the harbour wall perimeter takes no time and it wasn’t long before the leading two sails of Kev and Tom were visible once again from the bay. It was then just the mother of all broad reaches back to Overcombe beach and the start-finish line, the clock stopping as the rider’s feet touched the shore. The results from the day are as follows:

1. Kevin Greenslade   24min 29sec
2. Tom Squires 24min 48sec
3. Scotty Stallman 27min 52sec
4. Nick Beaney 29min 12sec
5. Simon Pettifer 29min 56sec
6. Sam Anstey 34min 42sec
7. Andy Chandler 38min 53sec
8. George Fulton 39min 14sec
9. James Faley 39min 15sec
10. Polly Perkins 50min 29sec
11. Paul Arnold 74min 47sec
12. Mark Lee 76min 32sec

Many thanks to all the competitors, helping to raise a fantastic £360.00 for the Will Mackaness Trust. Thanks also to Andy Stallman for the photos – he knew it was going to be a wet adventure on this occasion and sensibly opted to wear a full diver’s dry suit! Thanks also to ASSC and Phil for the loan of their RIBs for rescue cover. Super satisfying to reignite this special local event and lets hope to make it a regular feature for years to come.