Sailor Dawber won’t be left out in cold in Frostbite series

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With just the final two races in Dell Quay SC’s Frostbite series to come, the battle of the Solos continues.

Bill Dawber leads comfortably after five first places. But should any circumstances prevent him competing in the final races, Andy Gray, with a run of single-figure positions, could overtake him - providing he does finish each time.

So too could Chris Rowsell and Sarah Webster (RS400), the only competitors to have completed all six races so far.

The weather could be a major factor as well, for if conditions force cancellation of sailing on January 26 – as they did on December 29 – the trophy will certainly be Dawber’s.

Conditions were hardly pleasant for the penultimate pair of races, but heavy rain and a gusty wind from the south east – a difficult direction for course setting – failed to deter a good number of keen sailors.

Warwick Hoddy and John Denyer (Laser 2000) took off fast from the first start, rounding the windward mark narrowly ahead of Roswell and Webster, but the RS400’s larger sail area off the wind took it into the lead.

The Solos, including Malcolm Buchanan making his first competitive outing in a new boat, were not far away, and on the second beat Dawber found the right windshift to close even more.

At the final gybe, Rowsell and Webster capsized, letting the L2k back into the lead, though they recovered to be only 30 seconds behind at the finish line.

But Dawber, crossing third barely a minute later, narrowly overtook the Hoddy/Denyer partnership on handicap, for his fifth straight win of the series. Buchanan and Gray took third and fourth places.

A much-depleted fleet headed off on race two, and again Rowsell and Webster lost their lead with a capsize – exactly at the site of their previous ducking.

With a good choice of course on the second lap, Buchanan overtook Hoddy and Denyer - but a gust on the leg to the finish saw the RS400 pull through again to cross the line inches ahead.

The Solo’s handicap advantage brought Buchanan well clear when the results were calculated, with Becky Manning (Laser 4.7) taking third behind Hoddy and Denyer.

But neither Buchanan nor the L2k team, despite the day’s good results, have sailed enough in the series to have a chance of making the overall prize list.

LIZ SAGUES