Frozen Toes and Frostbite for sailors - but it's hotting up

Chichester Yacht Club's Frozen Toe dinghy racing is under way for another winter.

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Frozen Toe racing at Chi Yacht ClubFrozen Toe racing at Chi Yacht Club
Frozen Toe racing at Chi Yacht Club

Race officer Charles Porter set a trapezoid course and in the first race, the fast handicap fleet had a general recall as they all pressed the line and were caught out by the still rising tide which was dominating the light wind. The black flag restart saw them all away cleanly.

The wind picked up through the morning to a healthy 15-20 knots which made the second race a lot of fun. Porter signalled that the race would be extended to four laps, but in the end finished everyone after three.

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The second race had some great battles, with the now falling tide favouring those who chose the slacker water and hugged the shore near Copperas Point. Lots of tacking and position-swapping made for exciting racing.

The fast fleet enjoyed the planing downwind leg, with the 29er taking a wide asymetric route that saw it zipping expertly through the beating medium fleet.

The slow fleet was bolstered by a group of Toppers.

Special thanks went to all the volunteers that turned out for the early start, including members of the yacht section that helped.

Results - Fast Fleet: Race 4 winner Merlin Rocket 3724, Neale Jones and Jam Adams, Itchenor SC; Race 5 winner Merlin Rocket 3756, William Warren and Ben Clarke, Shoreham SC; Medium Fleet Race 4 and 5 winner Guy Mayer, Solo 5461, Felpham SC; Fleet 3, Topper 47685, Samuel Brackley, Felpham SC.


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Temperatures may be dropping but competition is hotting up at Dell Quay SC. The first races in the club’s open Frostbite Series drew 18 boats to the start line and saw new competitors challenging established names.

Though the fleet included boats that varied in speed from RS400s to a Byte, it was dominated by Solos, which also took most of the top positions. But first away from the start line each time was James Pound (Laser), returning to the club where he learned to sail in a Mirror and where his father served as commodore.

Despite a long break from dinghy sailing, Pound showed he’d lost none of his competitive edge, though a capsize in the first of the day’s two races as he avoided a stalled boat cost him a top-three place. That was redeemed in race two, when he took second place on corrected time.

Winner each time was Bill Dawber, who also finished first on the water in the first race and was close to the leading RS400s at the end of the second. But in race one Dawber had to haul back the lead initially established by fellow Solo sailor Simon Verrall, a comparative newcomer to the club.

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Dawber managed that with a better choice of shifts on the windward leg, but Verrall took second place behind him and third in the next race.

Behind Verrall each time, scoring a third and a fourth, was another sailor new to the Dell Quay Solo fleet, Justin Biddle.

Other Solo sailors well in contention were John Purdy, with a fourth and sixth, and Mike Shaw with a fifth. Roger Francis and Lizzie Kies, in only their second foray in a 2000, were rewarded with fifth in race two.

The gusty easterly breeze caught out a number of competitors, who found capsizing decidedly chilly. But the triangle-and-sausage course, set both to provide two beats on each lap and to keep competitors within sight of the club in case conditions worsened, provided good racing and was much enjoyed.

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While Dawber leads the series, ten more races remain, open to all with free entry. The next two are on Saturday, December 17, first start 12.30. For more information see

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