Toes aren’t all that are frozen at Chichester Yacht Club

The snow had cleared but it was another cold day for the latest Frozen Toe series races at Chichester Yacht Club.

Conditions were very tricky for race boss Steve Kelsall with a light and fluky breeze.

A simple figure-of-eight course was set for the 40 boats who braved the freezing conditions.

In series race five in the fast fleet, Brian and David Earl in the Javelin got well away making the most of the boat’s large sail area to win by six minutes from Stuart and Yvette Lurney, who were second in a Merlin Rocket, nine minutes ahead of Luke Mapley, third in the Blaze.

In the medium fleet, Derek Jackman (Solo) was over the line, returning and re-crossing the line. This provided a bizarre advantage, for catching a better breeze Jackman proceeded to overtake the rest of the medium fleet.

The medium fleet all caught up the fast fleet by the windward mark. Even the Optimists in the slow fleet were making ground on the fast fleet.

In the medium fleet, Jackman won by a handsome margin from the Colbournes (GP14), who were three minutes ahead of Ian Lissamore (Solo) in third.

In the slow fleet, the youngsters in Optimists continued to show great speed and determination, nearly overtaking the Feva at one point.

Julia Mellers finally took first, overtaking sister Lucy Mellers just before the line, to win by ten seconds, leaving Lucy second, with Sophie Jenkins third. The first Topper sailor home was Ben Thompson in fifth.

In race six, the wind was even more fluky and it was difficult to cross the start line.

The fast fleet got away cleanly, but the conditions remained tricky. This time Nick and Roger Elliman in their RS400 won by seven minutes from the consistent Gurneys (Merlin Rocket), who beat the Javelin by some distance.

Mayhem was reported in the medium fleet with some sailing down the line on starboard. Eventually all got away, making the windward mark then creeping onwards.

The tide came into play with some boats going backwards at times. Finally the wind filled in to enable a finish.

Mark Harper (Finn) got an excellent start and could not be caught, winning by five minutes from the Solo of Roger Millet, with the Colbournes third.

In the slow fleet, only the Laser 4.7 of Toby Schofield managed to complete the course as the slower boats failed to make the windward mark against the strengthening tide.

It was excellent once again to see the enthusiasm of the young sailors, many of who are competing in racing for the first time this year. In particular it is great to see even numbers of girls and boys out on the water.

There was strong demand for hot soup and hot dogs when the fleets returned to shore, fittingly, with frozen toes and fingers.


Races five and six in the Dell Quay Frostbite series were very well supported by local sailors and visitors from farther afield.

The first race saw 16 boats set off in a northerly direction towards Fishbourne, with those choosing to start by the Quay getting a big push from the tide in the very light wind, although one boat misjudged it and was carried over the line.

Malcolm Buchanan and Warwick Hoddy took an early lead in their faster RS400, closely followed by Bill Dawber in his Solo and the young guns of the Laser Radial squad including, Toby Hamer from Langstone, Ben Chrystall, Alex Benbow from Stokes Bay and David Paul from Queensmead.

The latter group enjoyed some close racing, having their own race within the main race.

Also towards the front of the fleet, Bob Marshall and Neil Bryant and Peter King and John Nash in their RS400s were in contention.

On the downwind leg towards Crouchers, Buchanan and Hoddy made a poor tactical decision to tack round the mark while still carrying their gennaker.

This lost them valuable time as they subsequently hit the mark and had to make a penalty turn with the rest of the fleet fast approaching.

Behind the leading boats, there was much changing of places with Chris Turner and Greg Byrom in their Fireball, Peter Binning and Helen Dignum (Laser 2000) and Phil Sanders and Andrew Shepherd (Laser 2000) all vying for positions.

The final result after handicaps were applied gave Buchanan and Hoddy first place, Dawber second, Marshall and Bryant third and King and Nash in fourth place.

The second race saw similar light and variable conditions, but this time the RS400s of King and Nash and Marshall and Bryant led the way for the first half of the course before being overtaken by Buchanan and Hoddy.

Behind them, Dawber and Binning and Dignum as well as Ken Baker in his Solo were all well-placed.

The race concluded with Buchanan and Hoddy holding on to first place by ten seconds on corrected time, with Dawber second, Marshall and Bryant third and Binning and Dignum fourth.