SAILING: A CLOUDLESS sky and a good wind provided ideal sailing conditions for Chester Sailing and Canoeing Club members last weekend.
In the first race for the Bob Roberts Trophy, Wally Riley and crew Leslie Riley, in an Enterprise, set up a phenomenal lead in the first lap and continued to pull away from the rest of the fleet for the remainder of the race.
Well behind was Sally Haslewood in a Laser then another Enterprise with helm Tim and crew Jacky Finch locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Peter Hadf ield in a Laser.
The third Enterprise with Mike Maddocks and crew Cerys Done passed Hadfield by the end of the first lap and both Enterprises were then pressing Haslewood in the Laser.
The conditions for the GP was stretching the single-helm Dave Harrison with the ever-present risk of a capsize in the strong wind.
Further back in the fleet, the junior sailors Josh Oldfield, in a Pico, and Lewis Kneale, in a Topper, were match racing with enthusiasm, with the Topper eventually edging into the lead. Finch pulled away from Maddocks and caught Haslewood by the third lap to move into second place.
In the second race - the Passage Race - the top bouy was placed much further up river, forcing the sailors to pass the doldrums near the Red House then into an area of windless holes and gusts in the straight beyond.
Hadf ield, with Haslewood following closely, took the lead immediately but the Enterprises were on their heels. The Lasers maintained their lead for the first lap then a determined push by Riley pushed the Enterprise into the lead, but not significantly.
The wind was strong enough for both crew and helms in the Enterprises to be sitting out on the upriver beat. Passing through the difficult upriver zone, Riley lost the lead to Hadfield and was unable to regain it, even in the final dash downriver.
Maddocks, sailing with a light crew Lewis Kneale, was blown on to the bank at one stage, but managed to stay ahead of the GP sailed by Dave Harrison and Mike Crofton.
Further back in the fleet, family rivalries surfaced as Nigel Oldf ield and son Josh, in a Pico, took on his other son Ian Oldf ield and Chris Butley in a Graduate. The larger sailed Graduate gradually pulled ahead and stayed in the lead.
The final positions on the water for this race was Hadf ield first, then Riley and Haslewood.
* The morning single-handed handicap races on Gresford Flash took place in hot, sunny conditions and gusty, testing winds.
The first race was keenly contested with Steve Price pushing Alan Rogerson all the way, and although second on the water, taking first place on handicap with young Rachael Bloor a gutsy third.
The second race saw Price first on the water with Bloor a superb second, giving her first place on handicap.
The afternoon was the President's Plate, a series of three handicap races with the best two results counting.
The first race saw excellent starts in windy conditions for Keith Baskerville and Kevin Forbes and crew Trevor Ward.
The conditions, gusty at times, saw Steve Price and Arthur Daly work their way through the big fleet to be first on the water with Bob Shires second and Forbes and Ward in third.
The third race was a tussle between the Solos of Dave Turtle and Bob Shires with Turtle taking the honours. The skirmish of the GPs saw Price and Daly overhaul Forbes and Ward on the penultimate reach to pip them to the line.
With the handicaps favouring the lighter Solos, the overall result was Turtle first, Shires second and Baskerville third with the bigger GPs of Price, Daly, Forbes and Ward splitting the other Solos.