An early start and a big spring tide with minimal wind greeted sailors at Chichester Yacht Club for the first races of the season – a one-day three-race mini regatta, the Warming Pan Races.
With a delayed start because of no wind, it strengthened during the racing, with the sun breaking through in the afternoon.
Race officer Andy Conway took a committee boat out to make the best of tricky wind conditions and all starts were in the middle of the Chichester Lake.
Competitors enjoyed excellent courses of three laps each in two handicap fleets.
In the fast fleet in all three races, the top of the fleet was engaged in close racing, with Jason and Sonia Kirk setting the pace from the front in their RS400 with firsts in races one and two.
Mark Harper in the Finn gave chase and made his way from third in race one to take first from the Kirks in race three.
Nick and Roger Elliman (RS400) could not match this pace but managed to keep ahead of the RS200 of Ian Payne and Meryl Deane and the Laser of Charlie Porter.
The Kirks were first ahead of Harper and Nick and Roger Elliman (RS400).
In the slow fleet, there was confusion about the course and a bit of pack following in race one, but this was resolved by the final races.
Racing was dominated by Optimist sailors the Mellers sisters and Arthur Fry, who had some close racing across the three races. In the end Lucy Mellers took two firsts and won the series, ahead of sister Julia and Fry.
ITCHENOR’S famous XOD fleet will be making their way to Cowes again this year for the fourth Metre & Classic Keelboat Regatta.
Year-on-year this regatta has welcomed more classes and more boats to sail at Cowes.
The fact boats now want to travel across the country to attend is a testament to the appeal of an event that brings together sailors with a shared passion.
In the past, almost every major yacht club would have had their own one-design fleet and these boats live on and are celebrated through this community.
This year’s celebrations include the centenary of the X One Design class and the 50th anniversary of the Daring class.
The XODs will race for the Royal Victoria Cup, awarded by the Royal London Yacht Club to any class with a significant anniversary to celebrate.
Full details of the itinerary are at www.cowesclassicsweek.org