Dinghies keep safety boat busy in testing conditions for Snowflake Sailing Club races

Snowflakes saw an unusually large, and welcome, turnout of 13 assorted dinghies, mainly Lasers and Toppers, for three testing races.

The turnout on Sunday was particularly pleasing because, although the club started as a predominantly dinghy club over 60 years ago, turnouts over the past few years have been predominantly keelboats, in particular Yeomans. This time only three Yeomans appeared, Ian Hanson and Q Stewart taking the honours in both races, but the dinghies had an altogether tougher time in three races sailed in Force 2-4 winds, gusting to 20 knots for a brief moment, and keeping the safety boat on its toes for the horizontally challenged.

James Patience, sailing a Topper in the first two races, claimed a first and third before switching to a Laser for the afternoon race, and earning a second victory, while the other winner was young Abby Holden, also in a Topper.

Frostbites, being situated in a slightly more sheltered position, had slightly less wind, and the disadvantage that the direction dictated a largely 'soldier's course', evidenced by the speed with which David and Kate Mackley, and Sam Woodcock and Jane Aldiss broke clear from the start.

Woodcock, in fact, worked up a three-minute lead over the first couple of rounds, but Mackley persevered and narrowed the gap, carefully avoiding the flat patches into which Woodcock went astray, and in the last round this was his downfall as Mackley closed the gap, sailed through, and won by 14 seconds.

Meanwhile, Danny Tyrrell and Ben Campbell, who had started well back, worked their way up the fleet to gain third gun and victory in the handicap reckoning. The second race saw Woodcock lead all the way, keep clear of the flat patches, and win over the water by two minutes from Tyrrell, reduced to 12 seconds on handicap, while Kate Mackley, third over the water, dropped two places behind Mike Lees and Dave Woollard, and John and Caroline Ellis, in a very tight tussle for the handicap section.

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