LEIGH Sailing Club’s annual Brass Monkey race on Sunday proved to be a tough test for the town’s keen midwinter small boat racers.

Weather warnings of gale force south westerly winds reduced the number of entries to just 16 crews who braved the launch.

Leigh SC’s race officer and his team set a triangular course with a short start line.

But with conditions in the estuary fairly hectic, most of the fleet were over the start line as the gun sounded and a general recall signal was sounded to begin the start sequence again.

Conditions proved too much for some craft, which capsized, but with the fleet reduced to a hardy dozen boats the race was started successfully at the second time of asking.

The early leader was the RS200 dinghy sailed by Seb Baucutt, closely followed by John Charles in a Laser, Colin Walker in the leading Solo and Steve Corbet and Steve Hill in a GP14.

Down the first reach Baucutt set his gennaker and stretched his lead to the gybe mark where the canny sailor tacked rather than risk a dangerous gybe which could have led to a capsize.

The very broad second reach took compeitors to the beach by Chalkwell Station and this was followed by a short beat back to the start line.

Results: 1st RS 200 (Essex YC) Seb Baucutt and Andy Middleton 1pt; Laser (Leigh SC) John Charles 2pts; Solo (LSC) Colin Walker 3pts; RS 200 (LSC) Phil Dowsett and Steve Browne 4pts; Laser Radial (LSC) Richard Knight 5pts; Solo (LSC) Nick Hann 6pts; Iso (EYC) Nick Veitch and David Veitch 7pts.

Others: Solo (LSC) Tony Handfield DNF; Laser (EYC) did not finish; Solo (LSC) Matt Tothill DNF; Taz (EYC) B Lawrence DNF; GP14 (LSC) Steve Corbet and Tim Wright DNF; Contender (Thorpe Bay YC) Chris Bochier DNF; Enterprise (Alexandra YC) I Simpson DNF; Enterprise (AYC) DNF; Topaz Uno (LSC) Dave Braun DNF.