SAILING: DARK clouds and an occasional wind met the sailors of Chester Sailing and Canoeing Club on Sunday.
The bigger boats, Enterprises and Lasers, with the advantages of larger sails, took the lead from the Pico, Toppers and Mirror.
A trio of boats comprising Phil Proctor in a Laser, Stephen and Nicola Doubt in an Enterprise and Hamish Collin in a Laser were closely bunched for the first lap.
At a critical stage in lap two, when the strong current coincided with a windless hole around one of the buoys, Proctor was able to find wind and pull away from the other two boats. From then on he increased his lead and won easily.
Doubt also increased his lead from Collin and came second. Further back in the fleet, Josh Oldfield, sailing a Topper, pushed his boat to the limit and made ground to the extent that on handicap he came second.
In the second race, the same trio of boats went into the lead and, in the brisker wind, stayed together for much of the race. Proctor was again the eventual winner, but the second position was contested right up to the line. Doubt found a brief wind which took him over the line just ahead of a pursuing Collin. The sun was shining and the southwest-erly wind increased as the afternoon went on for the second week of the five-week Summer Handicap Series on Gresford Flash on Sunday.
In the first race the front-runners were the Solos of Bob Shires, Keith Baskerville and Steve Price, but the fly in the ointment was the GP14 of Alan Rogerson, with crew Charlie Jones.
This group of boats changed places all through the five-lap race. At the finish gun it was the GP that was first over the line, but Shires and Baskerville placed first and second, respectively, when the handicap was applied.
Race two saw a little more wind, which seemed to suit Rogerson and Jones, who led the race all the way to the f inish gun. Baskerville (Solo) was the next boat to finish, 55 seconds behind, with the Solo of Shires in close attendance. This time around, Roger-son was far enough ahead not to be beaten by the handicap.
Race three saw yet more wind, which caused the Mirror of Mike Harvey, with his son John as crew, to capsize. In their haste to right the boat, John lost his shoe, which sank to the bottom of the Flash.
The leading boat on the water this time was that of Gareth Morris (GP) with Steve Price as his crew, who led all the way to the finish line after the first lap.
The other GP of Rogerson was second on the water by the time the race came to an end. These two GPs were followed by the Solos of Shires and Baskerville, 40 seconds behind, but the handicap system seemed to favour the Solo again.
Shires finished first on handicap with Baskerville second, leaving the two GPs of Morris and Rogerson to take third and fourth places, respectively, when the handicap was worked out.