Final report from Channel Islands Frostbite Series

RCIYC Freeport Marine Frostbite Series
William Harris

Anyone scoring three out of eight might be justly accused of not trying hard enough. Nevertheless, with three postponements due to gale force winds and two for no wind at all, the organisers of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club’s Freeport Marine Frostbite Series had good reason to be satisfied with their performance last weekend.

The five race series had been dogged from the outset, leading to some canny rescheduling to ensure that the requisite three races might have a chance of being completed. Although the final attempt, last Sunday morning, saw sixteen boats, along with the committee boat, gently sunning themselves in a sparkling St Aubin’s Bay, such breeze as there was proved to be insufficient for boats to even stem the tide. So it was not without some disappointment that the N over A went up and everyone either headed for home or a gentle potter around the Bay.

However, Saturday morning proved to be a slightly different story when the race committee successfully got the fleet away in a light but sailable southwesterly breeze to complete the rescheduled second race in the series, bringing the total number of races to the magic three.

Fourteen boats turned out for the eight-thirty start that, fortunately, gave plenty of time for what was to prove to be very slow but tactical race. Things looked bright, initially, with eleven knots of breeze at the start and the first mark, the Grunes du Port, three quarters of a mile dead to windward.

With the exception of Rhys Perkins’ and partners’ Archambault 35, Abracadabra, boats got away to a good start with David Jones’ First 34.6, Jackana, taking an early lead to reach the mark well ahead of the body of the fleet. Having exonerated herself, Abracadabra set off in hot pursuit but was many boat lengths behind at the mark.

Spinnakers were hoisted at the Grunes for the downwind leg to the Vrachére where the tables were turned and Abracadabra was seen to be well past Jackana on the leg back up to the windward mark. With just one point between these IRC Class 1 boats, competition was really keen. Nigel Coxshall’s ILC30, Toybox, was also in the running but some way behind the First.

However, the wind fell light on the next downwind leg and boats parked at the Vrachére as they struggled to round against the tide. Abracadabra was first to extricate herself and she went on to take line honours and the race after two hours forty minutes. Toybox followed on some eleven minutes later just ahead of Jackana but not sufficiently far as to beat her rival on corrected time.

Nine boats raced in IRC Class 2. The main contest was between two of the quarter-tonners, Jeff Speller’s 2 Farr and Dave Sharp and partners’ Micmac with, again, just one point separating them. This fleet suffered the same trials and tribulations as the bigger boats but spent even longer studying the Vrachére before heading for home.

Micmac managed to escape from the pack first and took line honours and the race after just over three hours’ sailing with Ian Jones’ First 31.7 Gingazing finishing close behind. It was 2 Farr, however, that came second on corrected time, some six minutes behind Micmac. Steve Pearl and partners’ X-79, Less Expense came third

Just one boat sailed in the club handicap class, the other contenders having decided to stay at home. Mark Tucker’s Westerly Merlin, Lisia, brought up the rear after nearly four and half-hours sailing. There were plenty worse places to spend a Saturday morning!

Abracadabra took the series in IRC1 with four points to Jackana’s five. Toybox came third with fifteen. Things were equally tight in IRC2 with 2 Farr pipping Micmac by 5 to 6 points. Julian Rogers’ Sigma 33, Canders, came third with fourteen. Unsurprisingly, honours went to Lisia in the club handicap class with Chris Weeks’ Starlight 30 Cassiopeia second, three points to ten.

The prize-giving was held in the RCIYC on Sunday when Mr Nick Rice of Freeport Marine presented magnificent prizes to the worthy winners. Commodore Ken Jesson expressed the Club’s and competitors’ sincere appreciation for Freeport Marine’s enthusiastic sponsorship of this ever-popular event.

Visit www.rciyc.org for full results.
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