Now there’s an International flavour to Chichester sailing series

The visiting International 14 from Itchenor
The visiting International 14 from Itchenor

The rain stopped and the sun came out for races seven and eight in Chichester Yacht Club’s Snowflake series.

After a short postponement the breeze filled in to about four to six knots from the south-west – enough to start racing, but it remained shifty. Race officer Nick Elliman set a long P course, with a shorter triangle for the slow fleet.

The fast fleet was smaller than of late, with 15 entrants, all visitors as CYC sailors took their turn to do duties.

After a general recall for the first race, A Massey and Harvey Hillary from Itchenor shot round in their International 14, lapping most of the fleet to take third on handicap behind the Merlin Rockets of William Warren and Mark Oakley (Shoreham) and Steve and Sarah Cockerill (HISC).

By the end of the race the breeze had strengthened to eight to ten knots and shifted more towards the south, so the course was realigned to give a true beat to the windward mark.

Race eight saw the International 14 finishing a lap and a bit ahead to win, followed by the Merlin Rockets of Chris Jennings and Ally Martin and Ian and Ellie Sharps (all Burghfield).

The leaderboard is topped by three Merlin Rockets: Warren and Oakley, Jackson and Gifford and the Cockerills, all level on 13 points nett. With two races to go and another discard, the International 14 could steal the prize if they turn up and perform this Sunday.

Some 24 boats turned out for the medium fleet, 15 of them visitors. Although three CYC Lasers crossed the line ahead of them in race seven, the Solos of Gerome Bakker (HISC), Ray Collins (Locks) and Mark Harper (CYC) took the top three on handicap.

For race eight, the fleet was a bit too keen and after a general recall the leading fast fleet boats had to thread their way through the crowded medium fleet start-line.

Lasers again crossed the finish first, but the Solos claimed first (Bakker) and second (Harper), with the Laser of Richard Bailey (Emsworth) third. Bakker, Bailey and Harper hold the top three places in the series to date.

There were seven Toppers in the slow fleet, Jess Hodge (CYC) coming out of hibernation for race seven to show it always pays to know the course, as all the boats ahead sailed away to the wrong mark.

Jess Carter (CYC) made up a lot of ground to take second, with Howard Lane (Lancing) third. Race eight was won by Jess Carter, followed by Charlotte Reading (CYC) and Jess Hodge.

Carter holds the lead in the series so far, followed by Lane and the Mirror of Edward and Celia Hansell (Itchenor), with Reading close behind.

This Sunday (March 2), races nine and ten are held - the action begins at 10.30am.