Mark Struckett, rear commodore sailing at Itchenor Sailing Club, is the latest addition to our band of Talking Sport columnists. Here he introduces himself and his club and talks of a busy season ahead.
The sailing season at Itchenor Sailing Club is already well under way and as well as enjoying lots of great competitive racing we have also hosted several open days and events, including the popular Max Mirror Mission weekend.
As rear commodore of sailing at the club, it’s my responsibility to plan the sailing programme for each season and look for different ways to increase and diversify our racing. I do this with the help of a great team at the club, including our excellent sailing manager, Louise Jackson.
Itchenor SC was established in 1927 and we continue to provide members with top-class amateur racing for keelboat and dinghy classes throughout the season as well as training and youth sailing facilities and events.
We have 1,500 members across ten different classes of boat, with roughly equal turnout between dinghies and keelboats. We have some of the largest open keelboat racing in the country, which include the Swallow class, in which Stewart Morris took gold in the 1948 Olympics and the Solent Sunbeams and XoDs, which were both designed by the legendary Alfred Westmacott.
Equally popular is our dinghy membership with classes for the RS200, RS800, K6, Laser, 420 and the Mirrors, of which we have the largest UK fleet and a large membership of younger sailors. Pride of the dinghies are our International 14s, again the largest fleet in the UK, including triple world champion Archie Massey and many other expert sailors.
We can launch at all stages of the tide so that full racing can take place on any day. Running several races for most classes every weekend throughout the summer months keeps us very busy as you can imagine but on top of this we also run other events which last weekend included a successful Sunbeam Open Day, a team racing match against the Oxford and Cambridge Sailing Society in Swallows and RS 200s and the Topper National Squad training session.
We have an exciting programme over the next month. After a full bank holiday weekend, we have the Revision Regatta in the following week for our youths and juniors. We then have a first for Itchenor Sailing Club on June 1 when we will be hosting two visiting keelboat classes from Bembridge.
The Redwings and the Bembridge One Designs (BODs) will be bringing their classic wooden boats to Itchenor to race with our own keelboat classes.
Our keelboats will then feature again on June 10 in Points Week, where around 60 of the spectacular racing machines will muster at the start line and spread across our wonderful Chichester Harbour. It really is an unmissable sight.
Another highlight of the season will take place on June 16 when the International 14s will hold the Itchenor Gallon, one of the country’s oldest dinghy races whose list of winners looks like a who’s who of yachting; Peter Scott, Stewart Morris, Charles Currey, Geoff Smale, Jeremy Pudney, the list goes on.
For younger members, our Mirror open meeting will take place on June 22 and 23 celebrating the class 50th anniversary. This is followed by Schools Week, which in its 61st year will take place from June 24 to 28. This exciting and fun week of racing has already attracted lots of interest from more than 18 schools, including Ransom Everglades School in Miami, Florida.
If you’d like to find out more about any of our events or are interested in learning to sail or becoming a member, get in touch on 01243 512400 or visit www.itchenorsc.co.uk