Chichester Yacht Club’s Snowflake series came to an exciting end – ironically with no sign of snow anywhere.
After the week of snow and ice, Sunday was relatively mild with no sign of snow around the sailing area. A total of 40 boats arrived for races seven and eight on a bright morning with a force-four wind from a southerly direction. The water was a chilly 3°C.
Richard Anderton stepped in as race officer after illness prevented the scheduled officer attending. He set a trapezium course which provided something for everyone with a long beat, two close reaches and a run downwind.
The wind was quite shifty with gusts and changes of direction causing sailors to gain or lose ground depending on how well they anticipated the changes.
In the ten-boat fast fleet Itchenor SC’s Will and Mary Henderson won race seven in their Merlin Rocket, closely followed by the Merlin Robert sailed by Sophie Mackley. Third was Thomas Southwell in his first appearance in this year’s Snowflake in a Devoti D-Zero.
In race eight, Mackley won from Merlin Tiger Tiger sailed by Alex Warren and William Carroll. Third were the Hendersons.
In the 20-boat medium fleet, Mark Riddington from Emsworth Slipper SC won both races seven and eight Sailing his Aero7, followed on both occasions by Toby Schofield in another Aero7.
In race seven third place went to Iain and Sarah Yardley sailing a 2000. In race eight Charlie South in his Laser Radialwas third.
In the slow fleet Oliver Randall-May sailing a Laser 4.7 finished ahead of Thomas Lawson in his Topper. The faster Laser completed five laps to the toppers’ four, and Randall-May managed to build enough of a lead to take the first race after the handicap was applied.
In the eighth race, Lawson was fast enough to win by one second after the handicap was applied. Second was Owen Rowlands and third Randall-May.
As far as the overall series goes, the fast fleet Snowflake Trophy was won by Itchenor SC’s Will and Mary Henderson, followed by Alex Warren and William Carroll, Third were Simon and Eve Townsend in their RS400.
The medium fleet was won by Steve Cockerill, followed by Mark Riddington, both sailing Aero7s. Third were Iain and Sarah Yardley in their 2000. Fourth was Dave and Hugo Dobrijevic sailing in a National 12.
Ian Payne was the highest placed CYC sailor. Roger Millet won the Jack Holt trophy for the highest-placed Solo.
The slow fleet was won by Alice and Richard Bullock sailing their Mirror from Itchenor SC. CYC’s Thomas Lawson took second, followed by CYC’s Oliver Randall-May in third. Felpham SC’s John Stokes won the Snowflake Optimist Trophy, finishing a very creditable ninth overall.
Derek Jackman (medium fleet) and Tony Purser (fast fleet) won prizes for being highest placed in the CYC Legend category for sailors aged 70-plus.
The racing season began early at Dell Quay SC, with the extra challenge of the water left icy by the Beast from the East.
The first two Early Helm races were cancelled, but kinder conditions next day saw good competition in both Solo and handicap Early Trophy fleets in a southerly breeze.
Each time, Roger Puttock led the Solos round the windward mark, in race one opening a huge gap over his rivals, headed by Simon Verrall.
Mike Shaw, third in that race, proved a much closer challenger to Puttock in the second race, while Verrall recrossed the line after thinking he was too early in the tight start. He sailed to third place.
The handicap fleet ranged in speed from RS400s to Laser 4.7s – and both fastest and slowest designs ended up with first places. Bill Dawber and Chris Campbell (RS400) swept off into a long lead in race one, lapping the slower of the 4.7s even before completing the third of their four laps round the triangular course.
Roger Francis and Lizzie Kies (Graduate) kept closest to the RS400s, but it was Sue Manning (4.7) who took second place when the handicap corrections were applied.
Dawber/Campbell again led the fleet through the first half of the second race, but with their gennaker impossibly entangled they retired.
Manning was the comfortable winner from Rob Corfield and Philip Guimaraens (RS400), with Stephen Holcroft (Streaker) third.
Use of the average lap system kept waiting time to the minimum between the two races, and the safety boat crews did sterling work in laying temporary course marks to replace the permanent buoys ashore for annual maintenance.
Next races in these two main club series are in mid April; in between are training and other events, including an important on-shore one, the annual darts match against Emsworth Slipper SC.