WITH just one race to go in the Poole Winter Series for cruisers, the cups are being polished and the engravers visited as the winners have almost all been decided.

Out in the bay the conditions on Sunday were lumpy, to say the least, as the easterly force six wind whipped up the seas on the long fetch from the Isle of Wight.

Things were bordering on the downright dangerous around the leeward mark, East Hook, where the seas picked up as they hit the shallows of the sandbanks beyond.

As one skipper, who did not wish to be named, put it: "We suffered badly in those breaking waves and actually got knocked down by one which broke right over us side on as we headed down towards East Hook. It was the closest any of us have been to capsizing on a cruiser and it was fortunate there wasn't a follow-up wave to finish us off."

On seeing the situation several crews returned to the shelter of their clubhouses, especially those that had the series in the bag, including Nick Fullager's Fixation in Class 1 and Chris Blackburn's MG27 Mistress in Class 2.

"We saw Panache almost get rolled on the leg to East Hook so we took the opportunity to retire and keep the boat and crew intact," Blackburn said.

With the top places still undecided in the J24 fleet their leaders stayed out to finish two races in relative shelter, Parkstone's David Ellis achieving a 1-2 giving him the outright lead.

Throughout racing boats were retiring, particularly the lighter ones.But Mike Fox's Matchmaker is an old threequarter-tonne yacht and revelled in the conditions to win Class 2, although he did not dare to put a kite up, no class one yachts put theirs up either.

On one of the boats there was little bit of seasickness on the windward rail, not the place to be ill and certainly not good to be downwind of!

Spinnakers were abundant in the flatter waters of the harbour though and those that kept upright, including the heavy weather specialists on board Minx in Class 2, gained big time, Chris Hawkes GK24 has now done enough for the series overall.

Class 1A has still to be decided, Parkstone's recently immediate past Cruiser captain Martin Dover retired his Free Spirit giving the opportunity for Poole's Ian Standbridge, in Resume, to get a one point advantage in the series.

Several boats in this class still have to their handicaps confirmed, including the Sunfast 32s, their results will not count unless this is done before this Sunday.

The winners of Classes 3 and R19 could have had their names engraved on their trophies weeks ago. Sam Gill and Pete Frith have totally dominated their respective fleets since racing began on October 5.

This series, organised by both the Parkstone and Poole clubs, has been one of the most successful and enjoyable yet, what a shame that Poole's Spring Series is so poorly supported.

Perhaps a combined approach to the organisation of this would encourage more Parkstone boats to enter thereby creating better racing and a longer season.

Bay results:

Class 1: 1 Ruthless (Martin Pearson) 2 Beluga II (Steve Thompson) 3 Eye Eye (Ian Hayes/Christine Simpson).

Class 2: 1 Matchmaker II (Mike Fox) 2 Effusion (Jackie Welch) 3 Isis (Jerry Higby).

J24s: 1 Hitch Hiker (Dave Ellis) 2 Boomerang (Jim Anderson) 3 Wijit (Andrew Hill).

In-harbour results:

Class 1A: 1 Resume (Ian Standbridge) 2 Itchy II (Rob Kemp) 3 Freetime (Eric Whapples).

Class 2: 1 Minx (Chris Hawkes) 2 Opus (Mark Reynell) 3 Presto (John waters).

Class 3: 1 Calico (Barrie Walsh) 2 Andantino (John Flack) 3 Elfin (Sam Gill).

R19s: 1 Rapid Reflex (Pete Frith) 2 Rolo (Steve Brown) 3 Renegade (Nick Paine).

The 62 entries for the Lymington Town Sailing Club's Solent Circuit had a disappointing end to the eight race series with Sunday's race being cancelled because of high winds combined with wind against tide on the racecourse.

However, with six of the races sailed, the close racing was summed up by tie-breaks being used in two classes.

In Class 4CHC Bob Bell's Four Bells and Fergus Roper's Formula 1 Contraction finished on the same number of points but Bell took it by having one more win. A similar dead heat in the Folkboats saw Steve Proffitt pipping Michael White both with five points, by having a better discard record.

Two boats, Peter Schofield's HOD 35 Zafara in Class 1 and White Mischief in Class 3, scored four wins to have perfect scores.

IRC Class 1 - The Montague Smith Trophy: 1 Zarafa (HOD 35) Peter Scholfield 4pts. 2 Xnantor (IMX 38) Mac MacDougal 10pts 3 Mystery (Beneteau 40.7) Adrian Clarke 15pts.

IRC Class 2 - Hoods Sailmakers Trophy: 1 Amadeus (OOD34) David Frith 5pts 2 Jalicia (First 33.7) John De Trafford 8pts 3 Thisbe Beta (International 6m)18pts.

IRC Class 3 - Camper & Nicholson Trophy: 1 White Mischief (Hanse 291) M Harris, A Hind & J Mathieson 4pts. 2 Cloud Nine (Int. H-Boat) Martyn Wheatley 8pts. 3 Bacchante II (Laser 28) Roger Dockerill.

CHC Class 4 - The Club Trophy: 1 Four Bells (Sweden Yacht 38) Bob Bell 7pts. 2 Contraction (Hunter Formula 1) Fergus Roper 7pts. 3 Sallywag (Jeaneau Sun Odyssey) Andrew Watson 13pts.

Etchells/Laser SB3 - The Autumn Cup: 1 Hilda (Laser SB3) Ross Field 5pts. 2 Oblivious (Etchells) Chester Maudslay 13pts. 3 Boo (Laser SB3) Neil McGrigor 17pts.

Folkboats - Folkboat Plate: 1 Gap Year (Steve Proffitt) 5pts. 2 Bossa Nova (Michael White) 5pts. 3 So (Simon Osgood)11pts.

The Manulife Trophy - overall winner Classes 1 to 6: White Mischief .

The Dicoll Trophy - best performance by a non-prize winner: Creation (Evolution 26) James Gill.

The Joe The Tent Trophy - First boat under 30ft in Classes 1, 2, 3 and 4: White Mischief.

The Antler Rose Bowl - first lady helm in all classes: Pat Stables, Amadeus.

Poole's former mayor Bernard Ewart has come up with a plan for Poole Park Lake; fill it in!

Perhaps his drastic view will at the very least bring the subject of the lake's future to the fore.

Either we forget it as a future water sports venue or we could use some vision and create something unique for future generations.

Let us not forget that for many sailors, including local Olympic gold medalist Rodney Pattison, the lake provided a safe environment to make that first venture afloat.