12:49 Sunday 11 Aug 2019 CWL/Sue PellingThree generations ready for action

Three generations of the Hill family prepare for the first race today CWL/Martin Allen

Charles Hill and his family have been at racing Cowes Week for 24 years aboard the team’s beloved Contessa Nimbus.

Owned by Charles, his brother Richard, father Michael, and good friend Dan Sharman, this 1983-built boat is a fine example of the class and often finishes in the top five overall.

For many years now, the Hill family have raced with three generations on board including granny and grandpa who generally stay below fulfilling important navigational roles. The age range is between 80 and 15 and today, family day, Team Hill were keen to share their story.

Chatting just before the race today Charles Hill said: “Family day plays to our strength but today is still windy so we are keen to keep everyone safe onboard.”

Commenting on the competitiveness of the class Hill added: “The idea you can go into any one-design class and have success, and suddenly find low-hanging fruit is unrealistic.

“Even what is a traditional family cruiser racer the people at the front are really, really good sailors, so a third is a great result for us, a fifth is a bit disappointing, so third and above is good. Fourth last year, so we are hoping this is the year for us.”

Grannie Hill chatting from down below added: “I love being on the boat with everyone. My role is to keep track on the position of the boat with a paper chart, and I give the helmsman the course, the distance to the mark, and I pack the spinnaker.”

Also from his below deck position, Grandpa Hill added: “I am on strategy and tactics and I also keep an eye on the detailed navigation on the iPad and give the helmsman and skipper warning of where we are and what’s going to happen next.”

The youngest family member, Ianthe (15) said she really enjoys Family Day: “Family Day always seems to have a good atmosphere and it is a really good themed day to encourage more youngsters to join in the fun on the water with their families.

“I love racing with my family during Cowes Week although I would have preferred it to be hot sunny and lighter winds, of course.”

So passionate about racing at Cowes Week, Charles Hill confessed to a situation he found himself in 19 years ago: “I was racing at Cowes Week when I had the call that my wife Sarah was just about to give birth to our daughter Jemima. We had to rush back up to London but missed the birth. The good thing is she always has her birthday here in Cowes when it falls on 3August, which makes Family Day at Cowes Week even more special for us.”



Earlier News Stories

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