With a forecast of wind gusting to gale strength, the second set of races in Dell Quay SC's open frostbite series looked doomed to cancellation.
But the creek's shelter from the worst of the westerly meant two races could be sailed over a triangular course close to the club – and the seven hardy entrants completed both, finishing exhausted but exhilarated.
With most competitors cautiously staying well back from the line, Carol Andrews in her reduced rig Solo made the perfect start in the first race. Inevitably, though, her bigger-sailed rivals overtook, but she was spared the indignity of last place.
A visitor from Felpham SC, Liam Vass in his RS Aero 7, soon stamped his authority on the fleet, unbeatable downwind and revelling in the powerful gusts that escaped out of the trees and finishing comfortably ahead of the rest of the racers.
Next to cross the line was the RS400 of Rob Corfield and Philip Guimaraens, with Jon Wilburn, racing a Laser for the first time in many years, just a second behind and runner-up to Vass on corrected time. Third place on handicap went to the leading Solo, sailed by Mark Harper.
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The day's second race again saw Andrews starting well, but with much closer competition. Vass and Corfield tussled for the lead, with Vass again taking advantage of the stronger wind in mid-channel while Corfield aimed to keep his gennaker pulling but lost out in the lulls closer to shore.
A lengthy capsize put the RS400 out of the running, and Vass sailed away for another clear win both on the water and on corrected time. Behind, this time Harper and Wilburn swapped places.
While there were a handful of capsizes during the races, the most spectacular came after the finish, as Vass upended dramatically as he approached the shore. He currently leads the series, but with four more races to go and Steve and Sarah Cockerill (RS400, Stokes Bay SC) also having two firsts there is still everything to sail for.
The series continues on January 5, 10am start.