A grand fleet of 54 entries lined up for the first races in Chichester Yacht Club’s Frozen Toe series – the first stage of the club’s winter programme.
In the fast fleet the Javelin of Brian and David Earl put in a quick time on the water while the Merlin Rocket of Alex Jackson and Nicola Brook had a close race with Nick and Roger Elliman (RS400), with Merlin finishing ahead on the water and well ahead on handicap. Second were the Earls, third the Ellimans.
In race two the Earls were again fastest on the water with Jackson and Brook getting well into stride to finish third on the water and taking first on handicap. Andy Conway in his Blaze (CYC) was second, ahead of the Earls.
In the medium fleet in race one, drama ensued with one of the leaders taking some of the fleet the wrong way – and later retiring.
Afterwards he admitted he had been rigging his daughter’s Oppi so she could attend the pre-race briefing, but had not allowed enough time to work out the three different courses himself. The confusion led to a large number of Laser retirements.
William Warren and Sophie Mackley had their National 12 going at great speed well ahead of the fleet. Ian Payne, back in his Laser, was the only boat anywhere near. Roger Millet in a Solo (CYC) was third, just ahead of Ian Lissamore, also in a Solo.
In race two Warren and Mackley were again well ahead. Charles Porter and Ian Payne were closest and ended second and third.
Most of the 18-boat slow fleet was made up of young sailors in Toppers and Optimists and it is fantastic to see the ever-increasing skills and enthusiasm among them.
Race one saw close racing between the Laser 4.7s and Toppers with Ben Thompson (CYC) in his Topper making the most of conditions to take first. Lucy Mellers and Charlie Elliott (both CYC) had a close race in their Optimists with Mellers coming in second.
In race two, Mellers got off to a good start in her Optimist and while some of the faster boats were quicker on the water, she put in an excellent time to take first. Second was Thompson and third Julia Mellers, also in an Optimist (CYC).
The Frozen Toe Series is an open event on alternate Sundays until Christmas, after which the Snowflake open series takes over until March. The next Frozen Toe races are this Sunday.