Pearce and Thwaites are able to tame the gusty conditions Snowflake SC
- Credit: Archant
The forecast for Snowflake Sailing Club comfortably foretold exactly what sailors found on arrival at the club and then throughout the day until they left early afternoon.
The wind on Sunday was not just strong, it was gusting to nearly twice the forecast speed at times.
This gave the Yeoman crews a whole new challenge and in fairness only three crews decided to brave the conditions.
The dinghy sailors expected a sort of sailing heaven and found something closer to a very hard gym workout. The hiking out required by all crews, including the Yeoman crews, heard complaints of 'worse than doing a hundred sit-ups'.
Dinghy sailors faced the hard hike or a severe soaking in a very cold river if the gusts beat them. The Yeoman were exposing infrequently seen parts of their hulls and in one case the keel was clearly visible as crew and helm fought to get the boat back onto an even keel.
By lunchtime with two races complete the consensus of sailors, race officers George and Linda Whitefoot and the feeling in the clubhouse agreed that proceedings should be bought to a close.
So, after two races the three Yeoman almost shared honours after their epic battle with the elements.
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Merry Fiddler, helmed by Toby Pearce, took the first place, Kittiwake, helmed by Q Stewart, was second and Crystal helm Marty Thompson in third.
The dinghies, comprising a mix of Laser standards and radials with two brave Toppers, witnessed the usual dual between Matthew Thwaites and Chris Haslam. Thwaites came out first on a countback as both secured a first and a second in the races.
Kim West defied the challenges of a late first start and several capsizes to gain a very honourable third place overall.
This was winter sailing at its most demanding for sailors, most entertaining for spectators and an excellent social event for all concerned.