Life at the Hoo Freezer

Roy Winnett reports from this winter classic on the Medway

Tuesday February 18th 2003, Author: Roy Winnett, Location: United Kingdom
Hoo Ness Yacht Club hosted the 32nd Hoo Freezer for mono-hull dinghies over the weekend 15th & 16th February. Wilsonian Sailing Club gave assistance in organizing the event and other clubs on the Medway provided volunteers and craft for safety cover. Singer & Friedlander and Hoo Marina provided vital sponsorship.

Safety is of vital importance for dinghy racing, especially during the winter on the Medway. It was unfortunate that two helmsmen had to be disqualified for breaking the safety rules, when they passed between a commercial vessel and its escort.

The practice race on the Saturday would count for prizes if the main race on Sunday had to be abandoned.

This well known event in the dinghy calendar attracted 83 entries representing 38 classes, from the humble Topper to the high performance 49ER, with competitors coming from as far afield as Tenby.

A cold but steady moderate northeasterly welcomed the forty-eight boats that took to the water for the practice race. There were three starts; fast, medium and slow, including junior and disabled crews, with overall results based on corrected average lap times.

James McIntosh/Phil Kennard (49ER) got off to an excellent start to establish a commanding lead that they held over the four laps for line honours, but relegated to fifth place on corrected time.

Simon Allen (Int. Canoe) and Richard Stenhouse (Musto Skiff) led the rest of the fast handicap fleet and after several place swapping, Allen won the contest and the Sun Wharf Cup by a 12 second margin, to repeat last year’s success.

Chris Catt/Mark Heather (29ER) came from behind to take third spot while Chris Mason (RS 300) led the medium handicap fleet home for fourth place.

The ‘Freezer’ lived up to its name as the 10–16 knot wind veered easterly and became colder overnight to give a sub-zero wind-chill factor for the start of racing on Sunday morning.

The conditions appeared to favour the fast handicap fleet and this was confirmed as they filled the top 9 places.

The 37 strong fast handicap fleet was the first away and once again McIntosh/Kennard took the lead and stormed round the course, in an outstanding average lap time of less than 22 minutes for the 5 rounds. On corrected time, this was just sufficient, by 16 seconds, to lift the Hoo Freezer Cup, from last year’s winners, Paul Jenkins/Colin Hatton (RS 800), who had a to settle for runners-up spot.

Richard Stenhouse handled his Musto Skiff well to secure third place, while the hotly contested battle between the B14’s of Mark Barnes/Thomas Pygall and David Hayes/Sean Dwyer was eventually won by the former at the line by 44 seconds for the 4th and 5th prizes. The 49ER of Dan Dixon/Gareth Davies and the B14 of Chris Bines/Martin Worth claimed 6th and 7th places respectively. Allen did not find it easy to compete against the asymmetrics and had to settle for 8th slot, while local Contender helmsman, Martin Jones took 9th place.

Tudor Owen/Dave Hawkins (Merlin Rocket) with Steve/Katie Restall (Buzz) snapping at his heels led the 41 boats in the medium handicap fleet over the first two laps and although the Restall pair eased ahead on the final lap, Owen/Hawkins took the 10th prize on handicap.

Doug Horner and Alex Cruttenden sailing a 29ER in 27th place picked up first youth prize.

Stephen Rolf and Julia Browne (Hawk 20) from Arethusa Sailability were awarded the prize for highest placed disabled sailors and wheel chair bound sailor Mark Hibbard was awarded by race officer, Tom Sims, the discretionary prize.

Mayor of Medway Cllr Ted Baker presented the prizes

Overall Results/Prizes
Practice Race:
1st Simon Allen (Hayling Island SC) Int. Canoe
2nd Richard Stenhouse (Rutland SC) Musto Skiff
3rd Chris Catt/Mark Heather (Wilsonian SC) 29ER
4th Chris Mason (Wilsonian SC) RS 300
5th James McIntosh/Phil Kennard (Stone SC) 49ER

Hoo Freezer Cup
1st James McIntosh/Phil Kennard (Stone SC) 49ER
2nd Paul Jenkins/Colin Hatton (Wier Wood SC) RS 800
3rd Richard Stenhouse (Rutland SC) Musto Skiff
4th Mark Barnes/Thomas Pygall (Whistable YC) B14
5th David Hayes/Sean Dwyer (Southport SC) B14
6th Dan Dixon/Gareth Davies (Stone SC) 49ER
7th Chris Bines/Martin Worth (Brightingsea SC) B14
8th Simon Allen (Hayling Island SC) Int. Canoe
9th Martin Jones (Wilsonian SC) Contender
10th Tudor Owen/Dave Hawkins (Whitstable YC) Merlin Rocket

Highest Placed Handicapped sailor – Alcatel Trophy
Stephen Rolf and Julia Browne (Arethusa Sailability) Hawk 20
Race Officer’s Discretionary Prize
Mark Hibbard (Tideway SC) Hawk 20

Highest Placed Youth – Hoo Marina Trophy
Douglas Horner and Alex Cruttenden (Wilsonian SC) 29ER

Highest Placed Class Team
Simon Reynolds/Barry Shotton (Whitsatble SC) 59ER
Richard Stenhouse and Kit Stenhouse (Rutland SC) Musto Skiff

Highest Placed Club Team
Wilsonian SC:- Martin Jones (Contender) Ian Parris (RS600)and Grahame Smith (Vortex)

Highest Placed Boat Saturday & Sunday Combined – Gransden Marine Trophy
Richard Stenhouse (Rutland SC) Musto Skiff

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