SYS 1 Hour Endurance Race 2024
Sunday 25th February
Report and results by Russ Chilcott

9 skippers braved a cool morning at Apex to enter our annual 1 hour endurance race. There was a decent breeze but sadly coming from the east which is the worst possible direction for Apex! This always produces awful wind shadows, shifts and the famous “Apex holes” – and that is exactly what we had! I set a medium size oblong course set over to the west side with a “lap counting” gate in the middle.

We were all ready to go by 10am so with the forecast of rain and loaming grey clouds I decided to start things off slightly earlier than planned. After a restart due to a several jumping the line, we all headed off towards the No1 windward marker. This turned out to be the first of many times as we all tried to read those “blooming” wind shifts!

10 mins into the race another skipper arrived so he joined in and was given the extra time at the end. John set the early pace, with Ed (Plaster), myself and Rod not too far behind.

After 15 mins John found himself in a “hole”, Ed pounced to take the lead which he held onto for the next 30 mins. At one point he was half a lap ahead and looked to be unstoppable – but this is Apex! I closed-up and dropped away again from John for 2nd place on several occasions, while Rod was doing much the same behind me.

Of the rest; after a poor first few laps Rick found his grove holding onto 5th place ahead of Martin who was racing in this event for the very first time. They slowly pulled away from Tony and Mark who were having their own close battle for 7th. Meanwhile another newbie was Ed (Oliver) who was keeping Malcolm at bay for final place.

Everyone had their moments picking up the odd wind shifts, closing massively on any boats ahead only to be caught out stuck in irons and it to all be taken away again just as quickly.

All very frustrating, but it did make for a really challenging race in which you could never really relax even for a moment! Kevin was doing the lap counting and timing aided by grand daughter Flo. As he called 15 mins left to go things suddenly changed at the front with John closing on Ed. They raced a few laps together, then with just 5 mins to go I joined them both – I’m still not quite sure how that happened!

In the last few minutes Rod a little way back in 4th place just managed to cross the line so he had to complete one more lap along with Ed, John and myself. At the start of the final lap I suddenly picked up a lovely wind shift and found myself in the lead – YEPPPY!

As we approached the No3/penultimate leeward marker Rod who had taken a much higher line had suddenly closed right in on us and was now in the battle. So, after more than an hour non-stop race all 4 leading boats were separated by just a few feet heading around the last two markers. I then made what turned out to be a costly error for the short tacking leg to the finish. I decided to take a lower line closer to the ramp since it had worked out well for me on the previous lap. John immediately took the higher route, (he said afterwards he was going to take the opposite route to me whatever I did) with Rod and Ed now just a few yards behind.
John decision was the right one as he acerated away to win the race. I finished in 2nd place with Rod in 3rd and the very unlucky Ed close behind in 4th place.

All 4 boats crossed the finish almost line astern – wow – what a race, we were all exhausted! In the end any of the 4 could have won it. Ed had sailed so well for so long perhaps he deserved it more but it was just not his day.

Rick held onto 5th place, with Martin doing very well in his first ever DF65 race to take a well deserved 6th place. Both were just 1 lap down on the top 4. Another lap back Tony finished ahead of Mark for 7th and 8th, with Ed (Oliver) in 9th and Malcolm in 10th.

Well done to John – it was his day.

A big thank you to Kevin and Flo for doing the Lap Counting and timing, it is very much appreciated, especially on a damp and cold morning.


Place       Sail No               name                   laps      (finishing order)
1st               60                  John Woodman      13             (3)
2nd              7                    Russ Chicott            13             (4)
3rd             69                   Rod Butler                13             (5)
4th             59                    Ed Plaster                13             (6)
5th              72                    Rick Hamerslag     12              (7)
6th              78                    Martin Harland      12             (9)
7th              93                    Tony Hunter           11              (1)
8th              12                     Mark Voice             11              (2)
9th               73                    Ed Oliver                 10             (8)
10th              13                    Malcolm Pearson   9             (10)

sorry, no racing photos – was too busy trying to catch John and Ed!

John (right) collecting the  trophy from Kevin