Mitchell wins Pursuit race... by a metre

Race action.
Race action.

Witham Sailing Club held the thirdrd race of its evening Pursuit Series.

The trees at Anton’s Gowt played havoc with the north-easterly wind and caused extremely difficult sailing conditions.

There were many changes of leader as boats caught helpful gusts and then became trapped in calms.

In the very last seconds of the race, Alistair Mitchell slipped passed fellow Laser sailor Alan Chapman to win by less than a metre, with Andy Stopper and Ivan Hirst in third place.

The rfecent Bank Holiday weekend saw races were held for the 1964 Cup.

On the Saturday, conditions at Anton’s Gowt were excellent with a fresh easterly breeze along the Langrick Straight.

Ivan Hirst demonstrated his mastery of these conditions by winning both races in his Laser with Alan Cox and Craig Manning taking second spots.

On the Monday, the wind was northerly and very light and changeable which demanded concentration and patience.

But once again Hirst opened out a big lead to take the third race and also the 1964 Cup.

In second place in that race was junior sailor Nathan Stopper, who had impressed everyone with his sailing on both days.

With a fourth place to count from Saturday, Nathan gained third overall, one point behind Cox in second.

The Open Regatta on the Sunday produced the most exciting racing of the weekend with a strong and gusty east wind.

The first race was won by Craig Manning in a Laser, from Alan Cox in a Laser Radial and Alistair Mitchell in another Laser.

The next race was dominated by the two juniors in the fleet.

First finisher was Nathan Stopper in a Comet Mino, but he was beaten on handicap by 12 seconds by fellow junior Aaron Manning in a Topper.

Ian Thompson and Bethanie Mason, in an Enterprise, fought their way to third place while all three lasers which had dominated the first race put on an entertaining but time consuming display of capsizing and consequently took the last three places.

This left everything to be decided by the final race.

The Enterprise was eliminated by a capsize just before the start, Stopper retired due to gear failure at the end of a very promising first lap.

The three Lasers fought their way doggedly from one capsize to the next pursued by Aaron Manning in his Topper.

In the end, Craig Manning won in his Laser from Cox in the Laser Radial and Aaron Manning in the Topper.

Overall, with one discard, the Open Regatta was won by Craig Manning.

Aaron Manning and Alan Cox were tied on points, but on countback Manning took second place as he had won race two and Cox took third.

Witham Sailing Club welcomes interested visitors at its events on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays.

The club will be running a series of training sessions for beginners and improvers on five Saturdays, beginning on June 9.

Anyone interested should contact the club through Facebook.