With the grey month of January thankfully behind us, Chichester Yacht Club’s first Snowflake racing in February took place on a bright and sunny but cold and windy day – perfect weather for the 40 boats and their hardy winter sailors.
Racing was delayed by high pressure which held up the arrival of the tide to CYC’s lake. When the water eventually filled in, the wind from the north-east allowed race officer Martin Orton to set a figure-of-eight course with a long beat from Birdham to beyond Coperas and wing marks making for exciting downwind reaching race.
When the first race started, the slight port bias to the line saw a couple of boats overshoot the pin end and have to double back before getting under way. During the first lap, the gusty wind caused a number of capsizes and led to some early retirements.
In the fast fleet the Merlins, Rs400s and Fireballs appeared to make easy-going of the conditions. Ben and Roz McGrane from Netley SC extended their lead in the series with two first places, followed by Andrew Dalby and Gareth Porkins who finished second in both.
In the medium fleet, Steve Cockerill demonstrated how to get the Aero7 planing downwind, sailing with very little of the boat touching the water. He finished the day with two first places to extend his 100 per cent record in the series.
In the first race Ian and Sarah Yardley from Silver Wing SC kept up with Cockerill in the early stages, but finished second by a minute after the results were corrected. In the second race Mark Riddington claimed second place.
The three 2000s had a fascinating race, with Jonathan Townsend and Barbara Langford sailing very quickly with a reefed mainsail. They kept ahead of the other two boats for two laps but were overhauled by Ian and Sarah Yardley on the final lap.
The slow fleet started with ten boats, but by the second race the fleet was down to four: a Mirror, a Topper, a Laser 4.7 and a Quba.
The Mirror sailed by Alice and Richard Bullock from Itchenor SC was in both races, followed by Alfie Lester in the first race and Alice Serna in the second. Alice in the Topper, Owen Rowlands in the Laser 4.7 and Alex Cray with Ellie Cawley sailing in the RS Quba were all pleased to complete the course in the challenging conditions.
The next Snowflake races are on Sunday, February 18, with the entry desk open from 9.30am and the first race due to start at 11.30am.