WALTON and Frinton Yacht Club staged the first of their Winter Series races for dinghies on Sunday.

Eleven dinghies took part in freezing temperatures and a cold ten-knot breeze, which was building and promising a lively race.

Race officer Chris Brooke set an optimistically long course, taking in most of the available racing marks, starting the fleet with a broad reach to Twizzle buoy.

The start line was busy but Martin Jenkins, in his Phantom, was first to the mark and rounded it before heading back up river, having to pick his way through the chasing boats.

James Oxley, in his new Phantom, was close behind and pushing Jenkins all the way.

Dominic Jacobs was doing well in his Radial rig Laser, keeping pace with the full rig Lasers of Ken Potts and John Tappenden.

The leading boats rounded Spit buoy and headed off to the mouth of the main river on a dead run. Oxley showed excellent downwind speed and edged past Jenkins to round Halls buoy in the lead.

With a long beat back to Spit, Jenkins was able to close in and pass the young pretender and he retained the lead for the remainder of the race.

The fleet was spread out and, realistically, there were four or five boats contesting the result on handicap.

With an hour of the race gone, it looked like the Phantoms of Jenkins and Oxley were going to take the first two places.

However, with the wind building considerably in the last 15 minutes of racing, the slower boats were able to regain some time on the last two downwind legs.

Jenkins crossed the finish line one and a half minutes ahead of Oxley but, with the higher handicap boats enjoying a fast finish, it was the Laser of Potts that took the win.

Jenkins was second and Tappenden, in his Laser, third.

The corrected finishing times between the boats were very close.

In fourth was Simon Hipkin, crewed by Joanna Pollendine, in the National 12, with James Oxley’s Phantom fifth.

Tim Oxley sailed a good race and was well positioned until a couple of very tiring capsizes in the late part of the race led to him having to be rescued and retire.

The next race is on Sunday, February 4.

Result: 1st Ken Potts, Laser; 2nd Martin Jenkins, Phantom; 3rd John Tappenden, Laser; 4th Simon Hipkin and Joanna Pollendine, National 12; 5th James Oxley, Phantom; 6th Geoff Parker, Hadron; 7th Glenn Bacon, TOY; 8th Chris Nelson, Phantom. Retired: Dominic Jacobs, Laser Radial, Tim Oxley, Solo, Paul and Jemima Burnage, Wayfarer.