SAILING: THE sailors of the Chester Sailing and Canoeing Club had to contend with a strong current on the Dee and a light wind on Sunday.
With 15 boats massing at the start made narrow by a large tree in the middle of the river, Peter Hadfield and crew Liz Whitehead, in a RS200, sailed down the line with precision and took the lead, closely followed by Mike Kneale in a Laser and Steve Harrison and Amy Spreyer in his vintage Scorpion.
Within half a lap Wally Riley and crew Leslie Riley had moved into the lead with Hadfield in second place and Kneale and Sally Hazlewood, in a Laser, racing down river neck and neck.
In fifth place was Andy Todd in his International Canoe which required extraordinary gymnastic ability to cope with the short upstream tacking.
Riley, hugging the bank in a series of short tacks, increased his lead and eventually lapped everyone in the race. Hazlewood overtook Had-field while Kneale competed with the RS200 and briefly went ahead of Hazlewood, but by the third lap she was safely in second place.
The wind dropped halfway through the race which caused the boats to drift backwards in the stream, but it picked up and blew strongly. This caused the International Canoe to capsize leaving Todd in a dangerous position.
Kneale, still in the race, went to his aid but the rescue boat was soon there and Kneale resumed the race and still finished well up.
The final positions were Riley first, Hazlewood second, Hadfield third and Kneale fourth.
The breeze at Gresford Flash on Sunday was light and a little warmer than the previous few days, coming from a south-westerly direction, as sailors got ready for the first race.
Kevin Forbes, with crew Trevor Ward, got off to a flying start in their GP, closely followed by the Enterprise of Frank Page and Mike Harvey with the Mirror of Jim Young and Francis Hammond not very far behind.
By the end of the first lap the Mirror had actually passed the Enterprise as Page made a few tactical errors. All this time Forbes was opening up a large lead.
At the finish of the four lap race, on the water it was the GP followed by the Enterprise with the Mirror in third place, but when the handicap was applied the Mirror was placed first, the GP second and the Enterprise third.
The fleet increased in numbers for the second race, which saw Page take an early lead. Young was a little too early on the start line and had to restart putting him way down the fleet.
Les Tucker (GP) made a mistake at the beginning of the second lap letting Ward through to chase Page. As the race progressed the two GPs were out in front and pulling away from the other boats and when the handicap was applied Ward was first, Tucker second and Young third.