After the excitement of the Olympic regatta at Weymouth, it’s time for Chichester Harbour’s annual Federation Week, a rather less frenetic event but one enjoyed by more sailors in a much wider variety of boats.
The event, run by the Chichester Harbour Federation from Hayling Island SC, starts next Monday and runs through until Friday, when the winners in the 17 events receive their coveted plates, bearing the burgees of all the harbour sailing clubs.
The federation is optimistic the number of entries will return to the regular figure of around 400 boats after a slight drop in 2011.
Clubs within the harbour will provide the majority of the competitors, but visitors come from all along the south coast and much further afield – already this year there is an on-line entrant from a South African club, probably the most distant ever to compete, as well as others from Barry in Wales, Bexhill, Worthing and Porchester.
The starts for class racing and handicap events are split between three courses, two in the open water of the southern harbour and the third – the junior dinghies – closer to Hayling Island SC.
Boats competing will range from the flying foiling Moths and fast asymmetric dinghies such as RS 800s and RS400s to Optimists and Teras which can be happily handled by children under ten.
A fleet of Artemis keelboats, designed to be handled by sailors with disabilities, are expected after their very successful debut last year.
Safety and support boats, plus volunteers to run the racing, are provided by member clubs of the federation, in an example of happy co-operation.
While the racing is serious, Fed Week is an event enjoyed by all – often several generations of the same family appear in the prize lists. And there are social events each night hosted by member clubs around the harbour. This year, with afternoon high tides, the party-goers don’t need to get up too early.
Entrants are allowed to discard their worst scores provided weather conditions permit the planned programme to be completed, so sailors who cannot race every day still have a chance to do well, and can pay reduced entry fees. For full details, see www.chifed.org.uk.
On-line entries will be accepted until 10pm tomorrow (Friday) and competitors can also enter at Hayling Island SC on Saturday or Sunday afternoon and from 8am on Monday morning.