Sailing: Dawber leavres Frostbite rivals out in cold

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Although Dell Quay SC’s Frostbite trophy was already in Solo sailor Bill Dawber’s hands, he stamped his authority on the series with two more perfect results in the final races.

Those two victories ensured he remained unbeaten in every one of the seven races he started.

Finally, the sun shone on the competitors and winds were gentle, so there was little of the drama which had characterised earlier Saturdays in the series. The wind direction posed the biggest problem: it was a westerly which made it difficult to set a long windward leg across the narrow creek, but a triangle-and-sausage course made the best of the conditions.

Boats crowding over the line at the first start forced a general recall, unusual in club racing. But the second attempt was clean although the fleet bunched in the calm round the first mark.

Rob Corfield, crewed by fellow RS400 sailor Bob Marshall, found the best wind and opened up a long lead, followed by the second RS400, sailed by Chris Rowsell and Jason Mortimer, and Dawber, who kept in touch with the faster boats through his ability to sail a straighter course downwind.

By the finish, the RS400s were well short of the advantage they needed to keep leading their places, and on handicap Dawber was ahead by well over a minute from the Dayboat of Ken Baker and Ron Warren, with Corfield and Marshall third.

Race two, with a somewhat shorter course which allowed the full three laps to be completed, saw the fleet safely away first time.

Rowsell and Mortimer led for much of the way, with Dawber close behind and Warwick Hoddy and John Denyer (Laser 2000) initially challenging well. As the leaders rounded the last mark, it looked as though Dawber would celebrate overall victory by finishing first on the water, as he overtook Rowsell and Mortimer when they struggled with gennaker problems.

But it was not to be – the RS400’s much larger sail area gave it greater speed on the final reach and allowed it to cross the line ahead. The handicap victory, however, could hardly have been more emphatic – Dawber won by a five-minute margin, with Baker and Warren repeating their second place. The next Solo, sailed by John Purdy, took third place.

The morning’s results meant Rowsell – the only competitor to compete in every race, with Sarah Webster crewing most times – took second position in the series. Third was junior Phoebe Noble (Byte), whose consistent sailing throughout and two fourth places in the final races gave her a one-point overall advantage over Purdy.

Overall results (best five races to count): 1 Bill Dawber, Solo, 5pts; 2 Chris Rowsell and Sarah Webster/Jason Mortimer, RS400, 18pts; 3 Phoebe Noble, Byte, 25pts, 4 John Purdy, Solo, 26pts; 5 Rob Corfield and various crews, 32 pts; 6 Andy Gray, Solo, 33pts.

LIZ SAGUES