Thames Frostbite Race, 2014


The Frostbite race, was held one month later than originally planned, over the weekend 15th/16th March. Strong winds and barrier closures were responsible for the original postponement.

Saturday and Sunday gave us sailing conditions of fair weather with winds from the W-NW, 12-15knots, fantastic! As the crew on Surfeit noted – more like defrost than frostbite.

Saturday’s leg – GYC to EYC started with a short beat to a windward mark, laid just under the impressive cable car crossing the Thames from the Dome to Excel. Malcolm’s Cassie, a Feeling 346, was quickest on the beat and first around the mark, closely followed by Mike’s Hunter 707 and the two GYC Medinas, Cirrus and Kingfisher. The twelve boats then raced downwind through the barrier and on to EYC, where a triangle course was laid with the finish over the club line. With warm sunshine and a perfect breeze this was almost champagne sailing! Only six yachts finished due to the strength of the ebb.

The format for the Frostbite is the yacht with the best corrected time over the two legs takes the cup. So with only a little over one minute between first and second place on the EYC leg, Sundays race was going to be hotly contested.

EYC volunteers hosted a dinner for the hungry racers. It was certainly a large hearty meal with lots of lasagne. The trifle for desert was very good – especially if you managed to get the one with alcohol in it. Thanks must go to those who prepared and cooked the meal, ran the bar, and looked after the guest racers.

The weather on Sunday: Wind NW, 12 knots, cold but bright. With the tide flooding hard, twelve yachts started on the EYC line to finish just before the barrier. Tim’s Cirrus – a hunter medina from GYC - pushed the line hard at the start, and being OCS (on course side), he was obliged to duck the line before sailing a blinder of a race to recover and win by three seconds on handicap. All boats finished in sight of each other, with tacking duels taking place right up to the finish. Surfeit took line honours.

EYC put up three yachts: Surfeit, Cassie and Marlin. The nifty hunter 707 – Surfeit – sailed by Mike/Duncan and crew, won the 2014 frostbite by just over a minute on corrected time. Prize giving was at GYC 25th March.

© Erith Yacht Club