Yeoman crews made of hardy stuff as Snowflake sailors brave the cold
- Credit: Archant
A glorious morning greeted the Snowflake Sailing Club sailors – deep blue skies, moderate breeze and the associated very chilly start.
Boats with sagging covers had puddles frozen hard by several nights of freezing temperatures, but this did not disturb the hardy Yeoman crews as they rigged their boats rotating between freezing alloy spars and the warmth of bacon rolls with hot coffees and teas.
Four hardy dinghy sailors slowly materialised from their homes or the warm clubhouse, two Lasers, a Splash and a Topper, joined later by a second Topper. Straightening a buckled Splash burgee became quite a challenge but a gentle 'S' shape is probably better than a right angle.
Racing started on time with the Yeoman fleet of eight boats. Lavinia, Cherokee and Firefly wrestled their ways around three circuits to end up in that order, with helms James Dugdale, John Parker and Roger Hannant, respectively muttering about patches of good wind, flukey corners, dead patches and yet good general sailing. All rose to the challenge of the chill air in a wide variety of clothing combinations and bright hats. This garb along with their amazing spinnakers was what greeted the verandah crowd as they rounded the lower buoy at the club.
At the close of the third race Lavinia was first, Kittiwake second, Cherokee third with Firefly pushed into fourth. Ian Hanson and Q Stewart in Kittiwake worked hard to pull up from an unusual fifth in the first race.
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The dinghies were considerably more stretched out with three classes represented, the training theme for the day was all about managing wind, looking for tree movement, 'cat's paws' on the water and any other hint or clue for that vital lift.
In a dinghy the mildly gusty conditions were more than enough to flip a boat over, as one unlucky Topper sailor discovered. Overall the handicap system saw Ellie Edwards' Splash win, Tom Thwaites Topper second and Thomas Wildman's Laser third.
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Chilly or not the general sentiment was that this was very nearly the perfect winter sailing Sunday. Fingers crossed for more of the same over the winter season.