Races 7 and 8 of the Chichester YC Snowflake Series took place in freezing conditions on 16 December
When on Sunday 16 December Winter finally showed its true colours, with a stiff arctic breeze from the north-east and freezing temperatures, only the hardy sailors took to the water for races 7 and 8 of the Chichester YC Snowflake Series. Even so, there were 89 boats setting out for the race course and quickly finding the light winds of several previous weeks had dulled their reactions. There were many capsizes and retirements as the sailors felt the severe wind chill. However, the breeze moderated and became light in the middle of the second series.
In the Medium Handicap fleet, both races were again dominated by the National 12, sailed by Geoff Camm and Amelia Hall, from Pevensey Bay. Their boat cutting through the water like a knife, finished in the lead in the first race and won from their fellow National 12 sailors, John and Katy Meadowcroft from Henley. Both boats benefited when the handicaps were applied and extended the margin over the Laser of Steve Lee from the RYA. A retirement through gear failure in the first race did not diminish the determination of Andy and Edward Fitzgerald of Itchenor and they took their RS200 into the lead in the second race but failed, by 35 seconds, to beat Geoff Camm’s National 12 on handicap. Steve Lee came in third but now finds he has relinquished the overall lead to the National 12.
The Slow handicap fleet suffered most from the chill as many were sailing small singlehanders and were sitting almost in the water. The racing was close, however, with a real battle between the Toppers of a newcomer to the event, Jon White (15) from Pevensey Bay, and that of Tessa Cooper (14) from Lancing. Jon held the lead in the first race until the last turning mark but, sadly, capsized in an exciting manoeuvre trying to squeeze around the buoy, letting Tessa through into the lead to win by 11 seconds. Positions were reversed at the finish of the second race with Jon prevailing by just 25 seconds. Anna Perkins and Jane Turner of Bosham, sailed consistently well in their Mirror to score third pace in both races.
The Merlin Rocket domination of the Fast fleet continued but honours were shared between Ross and Alex Jackson of Shoreham and Will Rainey and Jennie King of Cookham Reach, each winning a race. Behind them Paul Davies and Liese Ward from Bowmoor, near Oxford, quickly got into their stride for their first races in the series with a third and second. William Warren and Rachel Cooper of Shoreham, jumped into the overall lead with a solid second and fifth places, while the overall second boat of Philip and Christina Kaye had a slightly disappointing day in seventh and sixth but held their position. Although a couple of Merlins, lying ahead of Colin Smith and David Sloper in their RS400 in the overall rankings, did not take part, the RS400 could not improve its position as other Merlins took the top places and held the RS400 back to fifth and seventh despite the stronger wind in the first race.
Spirits and warmth were revived with mulled wine and mince pies after the racing, heralding the short break for the festive season, with racing resuming on Sunday 30 January.
Overall Results (after 8 races)
1st William Warren and Rachel Cooper (Merlin Shoreham SC)
2nd Philip and Christina Kaye (Merlin Bowmoor SC)
3rd G Truswell and T Blake (Merlin Beaver SC)
4th Laurie Smart and Rosie Frost (Merlin Shoreham SC)
1st Geoff Camm and Amelia Hall ( National 12 Pevensey Bay SC)
2nd Steve Lee (Laser RYA)
3rd Ron and Julie James (Albacore Royal Forth YC)
4th Ryan Buchanan (Laser CYC)
1st Will Kerr (Topper CYC) aged 15
2nd Anna Perkins & Jane Turner (Mirror Bosham SC) aged 14
3rd Tessa Cooper (Topper Lancing SC) aged 14
4th Natasha Meik (Topper Lancing SC) aged 14