Sub zero temperatures greeted competitors for the final weekend's racing at Wilsonian SC's winter series

The Open Winter Series at Wilsonian Sailing Club came to an end on 12 December with grey skies and a cold easterly wind gusting to 20 knots giving a wind chill factor well below zero.

The scheduled 13 race series starting on 4 November attracted 26 entries, including three visitors, with a choice of long or short courses. There was a wide range of conditions over the seven Sundays including a light fickle westerly, a moderate south-westerly, a Force 3-4 easterly and a flat calm resulting in two races being abandoned.

As only eleven races had been held, six results were to count. In the final race, although most of the overall top placings had already been decided, six competitors for the long and five the short course decided to brave the conditions. In the long course event John and Steve Tinnams (Laser 4000) romped round the course for line honours but relegated to second on corrected time by David and Stuart Mason (Laser 4000) who finished 5 minutes later to consolidate their second place overall with eight points. Tim Kift and Steve Offer (Osprey), already assured of the long course crown on seven points came home in third spot after taking an icy dip at the downriver mark. The fourth slot picked-up by Graham Smith (Vortex) lifted him to sixth overall. While Chris Ashby/Mike Smith (RS400), Ian Parris (RS600) and Nick Lett (RS300) won the third, fourth and fifth place prizes respectively but did not contest the last race.

Brian Lamb/Brian Warwick (Wayfarer) secured overall victory in the short course event when the other contender for top spot, Bob Dutton/Peter Good (Wayfarer), decided to take their Christmas holiday early and settle for runners-up spot. However, third and fourth was still to be decided and the contenders Roy Winnett/Paul Morley (Laser 2000) and John/Andrew Smith (Miracle) were out on the water. But the Smiths had to gain at least second for third overall and they were up against the other Miracles of Peter Horner/David Brooker and David/Jackie Hudson, competing even though they had no chance of top honours.

Lamb/Warwick got off to an excellent start while the Smiths had to return to shore to make emergency repairs to a broken mainsheet traveller. Winnett/Morley after keeping up with the leaders for some time felt they were getting too cold, so returned to watch events from the comfort of the club house. Horner/Brooker in trying to avoid the flood tide got trapped on the mud in Gillingham Reach and were overhauled by the Smiths who had started some five minutes late. Meanwhile Lamb/Warwick extended their lead for a comfortable victory.

The Smiths were holding second place on the homeward leg but had written down the course incorrectly and went off the direct route to round a mark unnecessarily. This allowed Horner/Brooker to regain second spot, which they just held to the line. The overall fifth prize was awarded to Richard Stone/Roger Brenner (Wayfarer) who had done enough previously.

Overall Results

Long Course

1st Tim Kift/Steve Offer (Wilsonian SC) Osprey 7pts

2nd David/Stuart Mason (Wilsonian SC) Laser 4000 8pts

3rd Chris Ashby/Mike Smith (Wilsonian SC) RS400 16pts

4th Ian Parris (Wilsonian SC) RS600 18pts

5th Nick Lett (Blue Circle SC) RS30028pts

Short Course

1st Brian Lamb/Brian Warwick (Wilsonian SC) Wayfarer 7pts

2nd Bob Dutton/Peter Good (Wilsonian SC) Wayfarer 10 pts

3rd Roy Winnett/Paul Morley (Wilsonian SC) Laser 2000 16pts

4th John/Andrew Smith (Wilsonian SC) Miracle 17pts

5th Richard Stone/Roger Benner (Medway YC) Wayfarer 23 pts