Sailors’ toes are frozen no more at Chichester

The final races of Chichester Yacht Club’s Frozen Toe series took place on a bright day with a light but patchy wind.

Race officers Nick and Biddy Colbourne laid a course on the west side of Chichester Lake to take advantage of the better wind in that area.

Conditions brought challenging sailing conditions, but the racing was enjoyed by all competitors.

In the fast fleet, the RS boats set down a challenge to the Merlin Rockets, with Jason and Ryan Buchanan (Dell Quay SC) taking first place in race seven, with Paddy Campbell and Glen Dale from Hayling Island SC in an RS200 second and Steve and Sarah Cockerill third in their Merlin Rocket.

There was some swapping of positions in race eight with Campbell and Dale taking first, the Cockerills second and the Buchanan team third.

Fast fleet series results: 1 Steve & Sarah Cockerill (Merlin Rocket, Hill Head SC), 2 Brian Earl & John Mortimer (Javelin, CYC), 3 Jeremy & Joanne Deacon (Merlin Rocket, Cookham Reach SC).

In the medium fleet, the Solos dominated the front of the fleet with Derek Jackman (CYC) taking two firsts.

Lucy Boreham of CYC in her Europe managed to take second place in race seven, following it with a fourth in race eight.

Roger Millett (CYC) in his Solo managed to give Jackman some competition in both races, finishing with a third and a second.

Jimmy Carter (CYC) in his Laser managed to sneak into third place in race eight.

Medium fleet series results: 1 Mark Harper (Solo, CYC), 2 Roger Millett (Solo CYC), 3 Derek Jackman (Solo, CYC).

The slow fleet had some good racing and consisted largely of young sailors, most of them under 16.

These youngsters have been really committed to sailing during the winter and more than 30 young people have taken part in the series.

The final two races were dominated by Alex Butler (Hayling) in his RS Tera - he was first in both races.

Charlie Elliott consolidated his position as the leading single hander with a fourth and a second.

Michael and Ethan Miles (Emsworth SC) in their RS Feva followed a second in race seven with an eighth in race eight

as the wind died.

The Mirror of Archie and Bruce Grant managed two third places to win the series.

Slow fleet series results: 1 Archie & Bruce Grant (Mirror), 2 Charlie Elliott (Optimist, CYC), 3 Celia Hansell & Paddy Jefferies (Mirror, Itchenor).

There was an overall prize for the leading boats across the series. The Frozen Toe trophy was won by Archie and Bruce Grant (Mirror) ahead of Charlie Elliott (Optimist) and Steve and Sarah Cockerill (Merlin Rocket).

Racing was followed by mulled wine and mince pies and prizegiving in the clubhouse.

The Snowflake series makes up the second half of CYC’s winter programme.

PORTSMOUTH HARBOUR

Christmas Day was described by one national paper as the ‘wettest and most miserable one in living memory’.

But despite gale force winds and lashing rain, Portsmouth Sailing Club managed to run their first annual cold turkey race in Portsmouth Harbour, with West Sussex sailors invited to join in.

Normally, private sailing boats are not allowed to sail in and out of the harbour entrance - but as there would be no commercial nor military vessels using the harbour on Christmas Day the Queen’s Harbourmaster kindly gave the club special permission to run a race starting and finishing in the harbour mouth.

Up to eight boats were expected to take part but most were put off by a forecast of plenty of rain and gale-force winds.

The plan was for the race to start in the harbour entrance and sail round Spit Sand fort and back. At the last moment organiser Dennis Barber decided that would be too testing for even experienced sailors but he could run a race up the harbour and back.

Safety was well looked after as members of the club braved the conditions in four ribs which were out to look after the competing boats. The race was supporting the RNLI.

Three boats were up for it - two Victories and a Lugger.

Nigel Sefton-Smith and his crew in Victory Z50 Zara stormed away - bravely flying their shocking pink spinnaker. By the time the fleet approached numbrer-three buoy, the turning mark, a heavy squall came through and the pink sheet was quickly stowed.

The two Victories felt it was like rounding Cape Horn but the skipper of Pickle could not agree - he had seen slightly worse conditions at the Cape!

Zara managed to keep their lead back to the finish line off the Still & West pub - giving them first place.

Jim Page and his crew in Z73 Zafirah should have been second but managed to go the wrong way round the mark, despite the skipper having set the course, so second place went to Sir Robin Knox Johnston with family in his Lugger Pickle and Zafirah had to be content with third.

It was all over in half an hour and crews made their way back to the club for mince pies and mulled wine.

PSC commodore John Hughes presented all who braved the conditions with certificates based on those originally designed by one of the distinguished early members of the club, Jack Ashdown, for the club’s frostbite series.

This was the first running of what’s to be an annual race staged by Portsmouth SC. It was dreamed up in the bar last Christmas.

The name of the race was recognition of the risk that by the time competitors returned to their families, there might be only cold turkey left on offer.