Merlin sailors show their wizardry at Chichester

Frozen Toe action at Chichester YC
Frozen Toe action at Chichester YC

After plenty rain the day before, the latest Frozen Toe race day at Chichester Yacht Club started with beautiful sunshine but very little wind.

As competitors arrived, the lake was a mirror with just a few areas with wind ripples. While the race team prepared for the event, the wind gradually filled in from a westerly direction.

The Noyce Memorial Trophy is the final race in the Dell Quay sailing calendar and is for all helms who have won a race during the season.

Race officer Pete Harrison set a simple trapezium course for the fast and medium fleets, and a triangle for the slow fleet.

In the first race, 17 boats in the fast fleet started with a few over the line, but quickly given the all-clear as they dipped back through the line.

A large medium fleet of 27 pressed the line at the committee boat end leaving some boats squeezed on to the wrong side of it.

Harrison had judged the length of the course perfectly, with the slow fleet getting away before the fast fleet returned at the end of their first lap. The slow fleet was 12 boats, containing a mixture of Toppers, Bytes and Laser 4.7s.

The light wind and strong tide forced the competitors to concentrate on every shift in wind direction. A number of competitors were caught out at the windward mark and had to tack again to make it round.

Over the two races, the Merlins of Will and Mary Henderson and Alex Jackson and Mark Oakley took a win each in the fast fleet.

Felpham’s Guy Mayger maintained his unbeaten run with two first places in the medium fleet followed by CYC’s Charlie Porter in the first race and CYC’s Tim Boon in the second.

In the slow fleet Felpham’s Dylan Collier just beat Felpham’s Jill Gill in her Byte CII by a second after the handicap was applied.

The next Chichester Yacht Club Frozen Toe racing is this Sunday (December 3).

Full results are available at


The Noyce Memorial Trophy is the final race in the Dell Quay sailing calendar and is for all helms who have won a race during the season.

The silver cup was presented to the club in 1936 and attracted ten entrants this year. Those who have not won a race during the season can enter a second race for the Ward consolation plate.

The races should have been held just before prizegiving but were cancelled because of the weather conditions trailing in the wake of Storm Brian.

With a light two to four-knot wind from the north-west, it was always going to be a challenge for any race officer to set a suitable course for the re-run of these two trophy races. However, race officer Mark Harper decided to lay additional race marks in a figure of eight course to provide a short beat across the estuary, suitably located away from the western tree shadow. 

In the Noyce race the three crews in the RS400 fleet quickly got away, with Bill Dawber and Claire Power leading the charge, Rob Corfield and Chris Campbell second and Peter King, with Bob Marshall, chasing hard.

The strong Dell Quay Solo fleet had at times close racing, with Roger Puttock over time building a good lead over Simon Verrall.  Meanwhile, fellow soloists Mike Shaw and John Purdy enjoyed some close competitive racing.

With the wind backing west at times and dropping, and the tide starting to ebb, three laps of the custom course were completed in just over one hour.  Line honours went to Dawber/Power, who also came first on corrected time, to take the Noyce Trophy with Roger Francis (Graduate) second and Puttock third.

In the Ward race, which attracted only two entries, Richard Bridgmont (Solo) came in first to claim the trophy, with Roy Dyton (Streaker) in second place.