Despite wet, cold weather, 48 boats turned out for the first day of the Chichester Yacht Club’s Snowflake winter series.
There was a good force-four breeze which filled in by the start of the race. But with the wind forecast to shift direction, race officer Phil Allen set a figure-of-eight course aiming to be flexible if the wind shifted.
At the start of the first race, at least one Merlin was over the line and had to double-back. The course took them on a beat from west to east toward the Marina, before bearing away on the first of a series of long reaches back to the start line.
Over the water, Simon and Eve Townsend’s RS400 from Emsworth Sailing Club finished first, but their lead was not enough to beat Will and Mary Henderson in their Merlin Rocket from Itchenor SC after the times were adjusted for Portsmouth Yardstick.
In race two, the Townsends won by a clear margin exploiting the asymmetric RS400s performance on the reaching course.
The medium fleet had a particularly good turn-out of Solos, 2000s, Lasers, as well as a strong fleet of the new lightweight single-handed RS Aero 7s.
In both races the front of the fleet saw a battle between Steve Cockerill and Mark Riddington in their Aero 7s. In both races, Cockerill held Riddington off by less than ten seconds. In the second race, Sarah Cockerill came in third to complete a 1-2-3 for the Aeros.
The slow fleet had a good squad of Toppers and Laser 4.7s with first-time visitor to the club, John Stokes, in his Optimist.
In the first race, there was nothing to separate the Mirror of Alice and Richard Bullock from the Topper, sailed by Alfie Lester, but after the handicap was applied, the Mirror won the race by 25 seconds.
In the second race, Lester finished ahead but not by enough to overcome the Mirror’s handicap.
The next Snowflake event is on February 4.
Itchenor Sailing Club have launched a new class of membership that will introduce recreational rowing for the first time.
The introduction of this class marks an historic change within the club that since 1927 has focused entirely on sailing.
A classic 30ft Solent Galley has been loaned to Itchenor by the Pat Sherwin Trust for class members to use. The beautiful clinker-built boat is rowed by four people with one oar each and a cox to steer and navigate. No previous rowing experience is required to participate.
With access to the stunning vistas around Chichester Harbour, Itchenor is perfectly positioned for regular outings to Bosham, Dell Quay and Chichester Marina.
“It’s a great way to enjoy the harbour and see the abundance of wildlife surrounding the mud flats” commented Chris Blevins, captain of rowing at Itchenor.
“Itchenor’s sailing season effectively draws to a close in November, but the rowing will breath new life into the club during the winter season.
“Regular outings will be made on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the winter, whereas in the summer when sailing re-commences, the rowing outing will take place mid week and in the evenings so that members can enjoy both activities.”
For more information call Itchenor SC on 01243 512400 or visit www.itchenorsc.co.uk