Conditions put the wind up Frostbite fleet as race series ends

The day for the last two races in Dell Quay SC’s Frostbite series dawned dry, mild and breezy.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 2:00 pm
Recent Frostbite racing at Dell Quay

Before the start the fleet was already reduced, with at least one RS400 sailor heading home before he even lifted the cover off the boat.

With a steady 25 knots and gusts well over 30 across the start line, this was always going to be a tussle with the conditions. Fred Hilgers (Solo) was first on the water – and first to capsize. The rest of the fleet wisely stayed back until the last possible moment.

The race officer set a simple triangle course, with the fleet pushing the line against a flood tide and those 30 knots of breeze. Martin Jones (Solo) drew out an early lead, making it all look easy. For the rest it was heavy going as they dodged the gusts.

After some confusion about the correct windward mark, the fleet found the gybe mark as exciting as the rest of the course. The wise sailors chose to tack through a 270-degree turn. Most of the others practised their capsize recovery.

On lap two Mark Harper (Solo) and Hilgers were neck and neck on the beat as a tricky gust, combined with a wind shift, capsized them both in perfect synchronisation. After three laps Watson took the gun, with Tim Boon (Laser Radial) coming in second. Harper secured points on redress following that windward mark issue.

The fleet for race two was further diminished, with just the two Laser Radials of Tim Boon and Andy Morley and the Solo of Peter Binning. Binning, relatively new to the Solo class, showed outstanding spirit in completing this second race, much of it with his mast pointing roughly upwards.

The Lasers found the increasing wave height tricky as tide turned against wind, with Morley finally conceding defeat after another full inversion at the gybe mark, but Boon was a comfortable winner.

Afterwards, Boon described the racing as ‘awesome’ and ‘really good fun (especially downwind)’. He joined other competitors in a massive thank-you to the race officer and busy safety boats.

The day proved memorable end to the season but didn’t alter overall positions in the series, won by Harper with fellow Solo sailors Simon Verrall second, Stephen Holcroft third, Binning fourth and Bill Dawber fifth.