Ten boats were on the start line for the Boxing Day Snowball Pursuit Race and in the lightest of breezes they inched their way down towards the Spit.
The format of the race is slightly different with a set time for the finish and each boat setting off at a time calculated, by their handicap rating, to finish at the same time. The slowest boats set off first and the fastest chasing some twenty minutes later. The winner is the boat that is leading at the set finish time.
First off was the Laser 4.7 of Sue Wood followed a few minutes later by the Laser of Becci Hooper.
Paul and Jemima Burnage in their Wayfarer and Ed Evans’ Laser were next with a few minutes gap before the Hadrons of Simon Hipkin, Dom Jacobs and Geoff Parker setting off in pursuit of the leading slower boats.
Last off were the two Phantoms of Martin Jenkins and James Oxley with the Javelin sailed by Petra Potasse and Steve Gregory.
The conditions were extremely light with the sailors having to concentrate hard to pick up zephyrs of breeze to make progress against the flooding tide. Sue Wood was soon picked off by the two larger rig Lasers and the Wayfarer struggling with her smaller rig in the very light conditions.
The start times should have spread out the fleet, but while the Lasers got away reasonably well, the three Hadrons, two Phantoms and Javelin kept each other company until Martin (after nudging some mud at the edge of the channel) got himself up with the leading Laser of Ed .
As the bunch of faster boats picked its way through the slowest boats, Parker’s Hadron, Jenkins and Oxley in their Phantoms seemed to be faring best in the difficult conditions.
By the time the fleet reached the turning mark at the furthest point of the race Martin had pulled away from the chasing bunch and was left to round the mark on the transom of Ed Evans in his Laser who was leading.
James, Petra and Geoff closed on the Spit together, but James rounded it first and set about catching Ed who, within a few minutes of the beat back to the club, had seen Martin slip past and go on to build an unassailable lead.
James, also managed to get past the Laser but wasn’t able to close the gap on his rival.
When the gun for the finish sounded at 1400hrs Martin in his Phantom won from Jameswith Ed’s Laser third and the First Lady helm, Petra in the Javelin fourth.
The next race is the Winter Series which starts on February 3rd. This is an Open Series so Dinghy sailors from local clubs are invited to join in.
Result: 1 Martin Jeknins, Phantom; 2 James Oxley, Phantom; 3 Ed Evans, Laser. First lady: Petra Postasse, Javelin.