Temperatures aren’t the problem in Frozen Toe races

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A scary forecast of 20-30 knots the night before meant there was a small turnout for a 10am start in the first of the winter Frozen Toe series at Chichester Yacht Club.

The sun shone but the wind was a very gusty westerly, reaching 35 knots on one occasion.

In the fast fleet, only two were brave enough to tackle the course set by race officer Derek Jackman, stretching the full area of Chichester Lake, with two beats, a run and two reaches.

Martin Orton and daughter Stephi kept their 29er pointing more or less the right way – and mostly the right way up – and whipped round the two laps in 35 minutes, followed by Richard Bentley of Felpham in a Laser Vago XD.

The medium fleet was larger with 13 entries, but three chose not to go afloat and a couple did not finish.

Of the eight finishers, Ian Payne of CYC led home in his Laser in under 40 minutes, having chosen the favoured left side of the course on the second lap and showing his skill in heavy weather to gain a lead of ten boat lengths.

Payne was followed on the water by two more Lasers, but they were beaten on handicap by the Solos of Guy Mayger (Felpham) and Mark Harper (CYC).

Mike Linney and Giles Dixon in their 2000 sailed well, but stopped to help a capsized Topper with no sign of the helm, who had already been taken off by the safety boat, and were given seventh place on the basis of their first lap time.

The slow fleet fared less well: of the six entries, one sailed back in before the start and none finished, either deciding to retire, exhausted through capsizes or suffering gear failure.

Given the conditions and the state of the sailors, race officer Jackman wisely decided not to run the second race. The safety boats ensured all got home safe and most of the sailors enjoyed a good blast despite capsizes.