Over the recent Chichester YC Snowflake weekends the south coast has had mild temperatures and light winds due to a number of high pressure systems over the south west. With another high pressure in charge right in the middle of the UK, it was reported that last Sunday temperatures reached over 16 deg C and they matched that of Ibiza!
© Copyright Louise Varley
However, the wind forecast was not ideal, with only 1-3 knots from the North West greeted the early arrivals.
With a noon start, and a very variable breeze in direction and strength the OOD for the day Charles Porter, had a short postponement of Race 7 in the current Snowflake series to allow the breeze to hopefully settle.
Unknown to all the winds gods had other ideas…
With the Merlin fleet at the 50th Hamble warming pan event, and the Optimists at Poole for an open, only 46 competitors drifted around the Chichester Lake starting area. With a port end bias for the first start, the fast fleet of 13 starters got cleanly away first time, with the exception of two over excited RS400 crews. What seemed a cunning plan at the favored port end of the line, in the flood tide, soon looked bleak, with the wind deciding to go right within seconds after the start and filling in, giving the starboard end boats, which looked dead in the water, a huge advantage.
Steve (and his new friend the Rooster AeroMesh Visor)
and Sarah Cockerill in their Scorpion, as current series leaders, soon got into the grove, and won race 7 on corrected time by over 1 minute. Second the RS400 of Nick and Roger Elliman from CYC, with another CYC RS400 of Scott Dawson and Sonia Kirk third, again from the home club.
Steve's race analysis: "having started at the port end - which at 20 seconds to go looked like the biased end, we were quickly passed by everyone to our right as the wind filled in from the North (a switch of about 45 degrees from the previous North West). From then on we were scrambling for a clear lane with the RS400's loving the offwind reaches. The second beat finally settled down. With the current running north easterly in the main channel and the 'on the shore' wind more form the North Westerly direction - we could expect a shift to the North or even North East as we approached the channel. This can present boats on your right with what looks like an shift advantage. We still opted to sail the shifts as we found them. The gusts were generally more 'left shifts' as the tidal wind influence was less effective. We opted to get into the stream as soon as possible (an early starboard tack) and then take any gusts across that we could find. This really dragged us up the fleet. We were really surprised to see that we had still won the race!
Race 8 in the series was held in a dying Northerly breeze, but with now a strong ebb current setting in. At the start it was another port end favored port. Steve and Sarah this time made a good start, and just got to the windward mark before the breeze went completely and they raced down with the strong current. Meanwhile the rest of the fast fleet still on the ‘beat’, had to wait for a faint southerly sea breeze to arrive.
Steve's race analysis: "a tack 15 seconds from the start gun can often give you the speed required to come off the line at maximum boatspeed. We found that jib slot was crucial as even the weight of the jib clew was too much to open the leach in this drifter conditions. Its in the light that the Scorpion comes into its own with its narrow beam and long waterline. Once we were clear of the Northern Bank - we noticed that the wind had switched and we ran or reached to the first mark, holding our transit on the bank as the current was now trying to take us to the left. We were always concious that the fleet might any second descend on us at the mark with their spinnakers up. Luckily for us they never did."
First on corrected time were Steve and Sarah, second was the Finn and fellow Rooster Team member, Mark Harper from CYC, and third Nick and Roger Elliman in their RS400.
Back at the race committee boat, the medium fleet that had just started, and were running down on the Southerly breeze to the first mark. The fleet (20 starters) had another good turn out of Lasers. Ian Morgan (Hill Head SC) who had spend all morning polishing his Laser hull was rewarded with a win, and his fellow club member Jon Steward took second in another Laser. Third was the Solo of Ian Lissamore from CYC.
In Race 8 Chris Powles from Hayling Island SC in his Solo was first, with Ian Morgan second and Ian Lissamore a very close third.
The Slow fleet had a smaller turnout of 13 boats, but was well supported by Chichester neighbors, Itchenor S.C. Race7 was won by Adrian Fisk and Harriet Fisk in their Mirror from Itchenor SC, by just 10 seconds on corrected time from the CYC Optimist of Alfie Batchelor. Third were the current leaders of the Slow fleet, the Mirror of Grace Yeoman and Izzy Barker (Itchenor SC). In race 8, The ISC Mirror of Grace Yeoman and Izzy Barker, took control of the race and sailed to over a 1 minute lead on corrected time in the changing conditions from Hannah Thompson (Topper) from CYC.
Harry Kennedy had a good race and took third place in his Topper (Hill Head SC). Well done Harry!
The final racing is on the 25th March, first start and 12:30hrs - Snowflake races 9 and 10. The series prize giving is provisionally scheduled for 15:30hrs at CYC on the ‘Upper Deck’. All competitors and supporters are most welcome.
Thanks again to Rooster Sailing for their support of the series.