Close racing throughout a very mixed-speed handicap fleet saw different winners in races nine and ten of Dell Quay SC’s open Frostbite series.
But despite the successes of visitor Toby Hamer (Laser Radial) from Langstone SC and home sailor Ken Baker (Solo), the trophy is set to go to Bill Dawber.
Solo helm Dawber didn’t compete this time but will be impossible to beat, given his three first places and three seconds so far. Overall positions of the other boats will be decided in the final pair of races on February 5.
Race nine saw a number of contenders barely avoiding being pushed the wrong side of the line by the incoming tide.
In a northerly breeze, the first beat to a mark laid towards Fishbourne saw the Fireball of Chris Turner and Greg Byrom well placed, with a bunch of young Laser Radial and standard rig sailors challenging the faster RS400s. On the long run and reaches which followed Peter King and Alex Manning (RS400) made amends for a poor start and took a decent lead, with the Fireball and RS400 of Bob Marshall and Mike Savage duelling behind.
A capsize by Marshall and Savage put paid to their chances, while the single-handers kept in close contention.
King and Manning’s one-minute lead at the finish was nowhere near enough to keep them ahead on handicap, so victory went to Hamer, with another young visiting Radial sailor, David Paul from Queensmead SC, a close second.
Third place went to Ben Chrystall (standard Laser), with another Radial, sailed by Warwick Hoddy, fourth, and Baker fifth.
With less tide for the second start, the fleet were close to the line but comfortably clear, with Peter Binning and Helen Dignum (Laser 2000) best placed.
The fast young single-handers soon edged past, but this time it was the turn of Marshall and Savage to open out a long lead. Again, King and Manning were working through the fleet, but it wasn’t until the leeward mark second time around that they caught their classmates, then going ahead to lead comfortably to the finish.
The Fireball’s challenge was thwarted by a jammed spinnaker, and the fading wind put paid to the chances of some of the slower boats, including the Enterprise of Sue Nash and Fiona Holden, who had earlier been heading the Laser 2000s.
But the Radials and Baker’s Solo remained in touch, and Baker’s course to the finish, avoiding the worst of the tide, gave him handicap victory by a very clear margin, with Chrystall and Hamer following, then King and Manning, with Peter Frewer and John Cook (Wayfarer) fifth.
n Next week: latest action from Chichester YC’s Snowflake series.