Richard Stenhouse wins yesterday's 35th Hoo Freezer 30/1/06

The 35th Hoo Freezer, sponsored by Hoo Marina, Pirates Cave and Medway Bridge Marina (Boat Sales), was held over the weekend 28-29 February.

Hoo Ness Yacht Club hosts the event, with assistance from Wilsonian Sailing Club and help from other clubs on the Medway, the Coast Guard, Scouts and St Johns Ambulance, providing safety boat and medical cover.

A practice race was held on the Saturday, the Hoo Freezer on Sunday, a lapping course with results based on average lap times and separate starts for fast, medium and slow handicap boats.
A dusting of snow on the downs and a chilly Force 3-4 north-easterly set a suitable scene for the 34 entries in the practice race. Richard Stenhouse (Musto Skiff) led the fast handicap boats all the way, survived a 20-25 knot squall in the final lap to claim line honours, but relegated to fourth on corrected time. Chris Lewis/Jane Beaumont (Merlin Rocket), last year’s runner-up, stormed round the course ahead of the medium handicap fleet to win on handicap and lift the Sun Wharf Cup, while club team-mate Howard Paterson/Austin Scully (Merlin Rocket) chased close behind for runners-up spot.

Cloudless skies, a steady Force 5 to 6 north-easterly and a heavy overnight frost greeted the 57 entries on Sunday morning – what could be more perfect and appropriate for the Hoo Freezer?
The set course provided exhilarating downwind spinnaker reaches to complete the perfection.
However, these conditions also took their toll as just 31 boats managed to get a finish, many giving up the struggle after numerous dunkings.

Stenhouse was again in great form, this time chasing Neil Ashby/Roz Allen (RS 800). Ashby/Allen gradually eased ahead over the three laps for line honours to finish five minutes clear, but Stenhouse won on corrected time by an eight second margin to claim the Hoo Freezer Cup and the Gransden Marine Trophy for highest placed boat Saturday and Sunday combined.
Simon Allen (International Canoe) won the close tussle for third, with David Hall/Paul Constable, sailing the new 29ER XX, settling for fourth, and Martin Scarth/Nigel Sheppard (Fireball) fifth, just three seconds adrift on corrected time.

Tony Hunt/David Bourne (Laser 3000) led the medium handicap fleet over the first round and despite a dip on the homeward leg, which allowed Steve Restall/Simon Cory (Buzz) through, they were awarded sixth prize on corrected time with Restall/Cory seventh. Mark Heather/Doug Horner (Laser 4000) rounded the course unscathed to pickup eighth prize while the Merlin Rockets of Lewis/Beaumont and Rien Zilvoid/Jullie Nuttal won ninth and tenth prizes respectively.

Tom Sims awarded ‘The Race Officer’s Prize’ to Kit Stenhouse, for superb seamanship in sailing her Musto Skiff in the challenging conditions.

Richard and Kit Stenhouse also shared the ‘Highest Placed Class Team’ prize with Barry Sutton.
While the ‘Highest Placed Club Prize’ was won by Chris Lewis/Jane Beaumont Howard Paterson/Austin Scully and Neil Ashby/Roz Allen

Overall Results/Prizes

Hoo Freezer (Hoo Freezer Cup)

1st Musto Skiff, Richard Stenhouse (Rutland SC)

2nd RS 800, Neil Ashby/Roz Allen (Whitstable YC)

3rd International Canoe, Simon Allen (Hayling Island SC)

4th 29ER XX, David Hall/Paul Constable (Thorpe Bay YC)

5th Fireball, Martin Scarth/Nigel Sheppard (Blackwater SC)

6th Laser 3000, Tony Hunt/David Bourne (Wilsonian SC)

7th Buzz, Steve Restall/Simon Cory (Downs SC)

8th Laser 4000, Mark Heather/Doug Horner (Wilsonian SC)

9th Merlin Rocket, Howard Patterson/Austin Scully (Whitstable YC)

10th Merlin Rocket, Rien Zilvoid/Jullie Nuttal (Whitstable YC)

First Youth Sailor (Hoo Marina Cup)

Topper, Joseph Macgregor (Bewl Valley SC)

Highest Placed Club Team: Whitstable YC

Chris Lewis/Jane Beaumont, Howard Patterson/Austin Scully, Neil Ashby/Roz Allen

Highest Placed Class Team: Musto Skiff

Richard Stenhouse, Kit Stenhouse, Barry Sutton

Race Officer’s Prize

Musto Skiff, Kit Stenhouse (Rutland SC)

Practice Race (Sun Wharf Cup)

1st Merlin Rocket, Chris Lewis/Jane Beaumont (Whitstable SC)

2nd Merlin Rocket, Howard Patterson/Austin Scully (Whitstable YC)

3rd International Canoe, Simon Allen (Hayling Island SC)