Hansens shrug off the chill at Rollesby

Alan MallettA dank, dour day greeted sailors on Sunday as they turned out for their weekly pleasure, with a chill NNE wind reminding the 24 helms and crews at Rollesby that it was their winter regatta, although they at least did not have a tide to contend with.Alan Mallett

A dank, dour day greeted sailors on Sunday as they turned out for their weekly pleasure, with a chill NNE wind reminding the 24 helms and crews at Rollesby that it was their winter regatta, although they at least did not have a tide to contend with.

In the light conditions it was clear that the race officer would have to resort to the average lap times on a multi-sail fleet of eight, ranging from an RS400 to a Mirror.

Conditions dictated a short initial beat followed by an "interesting" downwind leg before the full length subsequent beats. Predictably, Chris and Jamie Sallis set the pace over the water in the first two races, with only Roger Wilson and Dennis Manning in the Albacore matching them.

However, the first race went on handicap to Val and Chris Hansen's Wayfarer by just three seconds.

Boat speed dictated the second race results, and, with a three-way tie at lunchtime it looked interesting. Sallis, however, opted out, leaving Wilson to take the race, ahead of Derek and Gill Page's Stratos, and the overall honours just ahead of the Hansens.

The 16 Monosails were dominated by Ian Ayres, winner of all three races despite being unable to match Lawrence Milton's Phantom over the water in a tight series in which the four leading boats were never more than a minute apart. Steve Mitchell, in his new RS300, and Jo Hermer in her well used Laser also performed well, but the star sailor was Ayres, who in the third race tacked on port at the start behind the entire fleet and was then gifted a clear passage to the first mark while the rest concentrated on frustrating each other. Next week the winter series begins, running through until the end of March.

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Snowflakes found light winds, but the claim that it was better between the top of Swan reach and the entrance to the Broad prompted the race officer to set a course in that direction from the clubhouse. Forty six minutes after the start, the race was mercifully shortened to one round as Ian Hanson and Q Stewart took the winning gun, having gradually extended their lead despite a later challenge from James Buntin and Robert Whitefoot at the last mark.

Five of the eight stuck it out for the second race, on a course to the top of the reach, back half-way, up again and back to the clubhouse, and this time Paul Barker and Trevor Whiting operated successfully to relegate Buntin to another second spot. The afternoon crew race went to Q Stewart.

Despite a strong ebb tide and current, an almost total lack of wind, and visibility prompting some to ask if navigation lights were needed, five Norfolks rigged for the first race of the day at Frostbites, where race officer Paul Tegerdine had set a course past Commissioners Dyke and back to the railway bridge.

Paul and Elise Carrington were first round the turning mark and held their lead for the rest of the race, somehow completing one of the programmed three rounds in just under 40 minutes, at which point Tegerdine had mercy and shortened. The rest drifted slowly back, headed by Geoffs Evans and Coulthard 10 minutes adrift, except for Ray Johnson and Vice Commodore Wendy Bush, who displayed appalling lack of commitment but , in Wendy's case, excellent paddling as they retired with half a round to go just after Carrington finished.

Incredibly all five agreed to sail the handicap race, between Commissioners Dyke and the railway, and, being fully visible from the clubhouse, they put on an exciting performance. Carrington, now crewed by his sister Sarah, was the early leader, until he sailed into a hole just upstream of the clubhouse, and wallowed in misery and mid-river as the others sailed past, moving him through from first to last.

Meanwhile Mel Farrar and Nick Matthews moved up from fifth to first and led round the mark, with the Geoffs, Coulthard now helming, rounding second and pausing on briefly to do a penalty turn for hitting the mark en route, while Carrington recovered to third.

By the time Commissioners Dyke was reached, Coulthard had displaced Farrar, with Carrington following suit, while Christian Young and John Clabburn moved into third, and that was how they finished, except for the handicap which moved Farrar up two places to take third.

This Sunday being Chinese New Year, Frostbites will be sailing their New Years Trophies postponed from the western date.

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