News Desk
Academy Frostbite Day 3 Report

Fog, rain and the prospect of no wind greeted competitors in the final day of the Royal Southern Academy Frostbite Series. Despite the conditions, the fleet were able to locate the race course that the committee had managed to set in the building 6 - 8 knots of breeze.

Racing for both J/70 and J/80 classes got away promptly. With the prospect of the spring series starting the following day, the J/70 starts were keen, X-Ray being displayed on several occasions. The J/80's pushed the starts slightly less - perhaps they were having issues locating the line in the now dense fog!

With a good, square windward- leeward course set, the left hand side seemed to pay up the beat. Mostly due to tidal advantage and the prevailing header coming into the Hampshire shore. That said however, boats that erred on the side of caution and stayed towards the centre didn't seem to lose too much; benefiting mostly from more reliable pressure and clearer sightlines to the windward mark in the fog. On the downwind legs, picking your gusts and staying with them in clear air paid the best dividends.

Racing in the J/70 class was close, although Alan Higgs' ESF Energy was consistently on the pace in the right part of the course. All 70's finished within a few minutes of the leader; demonstrating clearly the fun that is to be had in short course, one design sportsboat racing. John Powell's Betty and Terence O'Neill's Aqua J raced closely all day, with Aqua J eventually coming out on top and taking the series win in the J/80 class. Doug Struth's DSP took the J/70 series win.

As usual in Academy racing events, the courses were kept short, ensuring close action and lots of manoeuvres. With a target race time of 25 minutes, PRO Mike Foster did an excellent job with all four of the day's races in the 24 - 28 minute range. Turnarounds between races were fast keeping everyone engaged and just as importantly, ensuring the fleet was ashore in good time for the rugby.

Prize giving back at the Royal Southern, presided over by the Commodore, Karen Henderson- Williams was well attended with prizes awarded to the top two boats in both fleets. Doyle Sails, the Academy sponsor kindly extended their sponsorship to this event; the loft's Nick Bonner was on hand to award the prizes and extol the virtues of youth keelboat sailing.

Once again, The Royal Southern Academy Winter and Frostbite series' have proven that there is a demand for out of season sportsboat racing, and that the racing can still be close, fun and well attended.

Jack Neale - Chairman, Royal Southern Yacht Club Academy.

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