Competition is hot in Chichester’s Frozen Toe races

Action from the Frozen Toe series at Chichester YC
Action from the Frozen Toe series at Chichester YC

The early high tide allowed only one Chichester Yacht Club Frozen Toe race to be scheduled for the day.

And with a forecast of deteriorating weather around midday, race officer Nick Colbourne got the fleet off sharply at 10am.

The breeze remained kind - around 12-18 knots - and it only rained a little. The wind was quite shifty, and coupled with the ebbing tide that presented challenges to the fleet in selecting the smartest route.

The fast fleet was narrowed down to three contenders, with a couple of the regulars doing duties for their average points.

The RS200 of Will and Rob Henderson from Itchenor, visiting for the first time in this series, showed the way to CYC sailors Nick and Roger Elliman in their RS400.

The Felpham Laser Vago XD team of Richard Bentley and Ian Anderson came third, retaining their lead in the series. The only boat to have competed in every race of the series, they can almost taste the chocolates, but with two more races to go, and one more discard, the tables could yet turn.

In the 12-strong medium fleet, Charlie Porter (CYC) shot off the start line in his Laser and led all the way round. Close behind him was Richard Bailey of Emsworth, also in a Laser, and third over the line was the CYC 2000 of Chris Hodge and Louise Varley.

On handicap, though, Lucy Boreham, showing increasing strength in her Europe, took a very creditable first place.

Series leader Guy Mayger did not sail, Boreham has moved up to second and Mark Harper lies third - so with these three very close on points it is all to sail for on the last day.

The ten boats in the slow fleet were again led round by Emsworth SC boys J Taylor and J Halliday in their RS Feva XL, but CYC youngster Charlie Elliott, crewed by Harry Cowell from Hamble, were not far behind in theirs.

Howard Lane (Lancing) in his Topper was third over the line to retain his series lead, but Henry Chandler from Emsworth SC took first place on handicap in his Optimist.

Sailors can soon look forward to the days lengthening for the CYC open Snowflake series, starting on Sunday, January 5 and running through to Sunday, March 2.

For full Frozen Toe results see


Although good wind conditions were forecast for the third and fourth races in the club’s Frostbite series, barely a ripple disturbed the waters around Dell Quay at the start of race three.

Progression from the start line was slow with most boats drifting down-harbour with the tide rather than the wind, making it very difficult for competitors to avoid collisions because of the lack of steering. Ironically one crew managed to capsize at the first mark as a result of overheeling their boat in an attempt to reduce the drag on the hull to a minimum.

However, the wind suddenly picked up as the racers approached the windward mark, giving a distinct advantage to those boats fortunate to have avoided the wind shadow region near the western shore.

Nevertheless, throughout the race, the fleet kept well together which made for exciting racing as many boats fought for position around the marks.

After the results were corrected for handicap, first place went to Bill Dawber (Solo), with Ken Baker and Viv Scally in second place and Malcolm Buchanan (Solo) taking third place.

Junior racers William Lynas and Adam Robinson, in a DQSC RS Feva, gave the adults a good run for their money achieving a respectable seventh place out of the 17 entries.

The wind continued to increase in strength for race four but remained steady, which once again made for close racing in the fleet and around the marks.

Because of the increasing wind force, and the prompt completion of race three, race officer Roy Dyton decided to put in two extra laps for race four.

First place went once again to Bill Dawber, with father and daughter team Graham and Lucy Dalton (Laser 2000) pushing Malcom Buchanan into third place once again.