While Steve and Sarah in their Merlin had been playing out the fast fleet at the Chichester Snowflake Winter series, in the medium fleet I had been duelling with the other Solos, Nat12, Lasers and the odd Laser2000.
Since the start of the series in January, every weekend it had been in excess of 15 knots at CYC. So last weekend a more modest 12 knot NE breeze (but very cold), greeted the 17 boats in the medium fleet, for the early 09.45hrs start.
The ‘CYC lake’ in Chichester harbour, basically runs SW to NE is direction, which in most circumstances give competitors a reasonably stable strength and direction of breeze. But Sunday’s breeze providing plenty of shifts both temporary and permanent, giving opportunity to either point up or foot off to gain an advantage. I was laying upto race 8 in third slot overall and was 3 points behind a good local club Laser sailor – Luke. The Solo is a good boat to sail in these conditions (for a 56 year old design, the class is on fire at the moment..), particularly due to the fully batten rig and me at 88kg, the Solo carries weight well.
Solo 5059 at the CYC Snowllake 2013
Anyway, as usual to pays it get our a bit early and sail a beat or two and check how the wind is shaping up. Sunday was no expectation, every 1-2 minutes there was an increase in wind, and was backing to the N - NW (a backing wind tends to be associated with cold air). So for race one, it was a matter of getting onto port in a clean lane, as soon as possible, even at the expense of not hitting the full flood tide that was underneath us for the 1st
start. So at the end of the first beat, I was 1 boat length behind William Warren in his Nat 12.
Playing the shifts down the windward /leeward course (it reminded me of these Finn Opens I did in 2010-11) and race 1 was mine on handicap. All the Lasers had a bad race. Race 2 played out in a similar way, but this time the tide was on the ebb, this time it paid to take the middle route up the first beat & play the shifts. Result for race 2, second on handicap, just 7 seconds behind the Nat12 of William. Not a bad day at the office as they say… That result put me in the runners-up spot for the overall series in the medium fleet. A classic Snowflake series once again….