A FLEET of 46 keelboats made a majestic sight, spinnakers billowing in the light southerly wind, as they raced up the harbour to Dell Quay from Itchenor on the morning tide as part of the Dell Quay regatta.
These classic boats - whose design dates back to the early part of the last century, ranging from the 26ft Solent Sunbeam dating back to the 1920s, to the smaller 21ft XODs - were in contrast to the more energetic sailing to be had in the dinghy classes organised from Dell Quay and sailed over a course extending down harbour as far as Westlands and up to the top of the harbour at Fishbourne.
The RS 400 class proved an easy win for Bill Dawber and Rob Corfield, who finished well ahead of Bob Marshall and Mike Savage, all from Dell Quay.
The second start, the fast handicap, included two Merlin Rockets from Hayling, who dominated proceedings, with David and Fiona Sayce finishing ahead of Simon Lytton crewed by Sarah Martindale from Dell Quay with Dell Quay’s Simon and Linda Bell (RS 200) taking third.
These faster boats were sent round the course a second time to provide a long race of well over two hours.
The Laser 2000 fleet, who finished after only one lap, were led from the start by Pete and Suzy Harrison (CYC), who extended their lead over Anne and Jim Norfolk from DQSC up the windward part of the course.
Third in the fleet were David and Melanie Ellis, also of Dell Quay.
The single-handed Laser class produced a comfortable win for Stu Denyer over Chris West, with Patrick Johnston third, all regular Dell Quay sailors.
Malcolm Buchanan and Ken Baker sailed away from the rest of the Solo fleet, with Buchanan holding Baker off in a close race to take first place. Behind them there was another battle with Richard Ede just beating Gordon Barclay into third place by five seconds.
The slow handicap proved the largest fleet and while the Wayfarer of Richard Wilde and David Wakefield crossed the line first, two Streakers, sailed by Chris Wood (DQSC) and Richard Smale (CYC), took first and second place respectively on handicap, leaving the Wayfarer third.
The junior racing was mainly sailed in the club’s fleet of Open BIC dinghies. First place went to Matthew Smaller with Stephen Doll second and Beckie Manning third.
Prizes were presented by Sune Grundy of the Crown and Anchor pub, whose generous award of Pimm’s suppers to winners of the various classes and a special trophy for the juniors was much appreciated.
She also awarded the Spirit of Dell Quay trophy for endeavour to Andrew and Carol Morley, who entered the Regatta with their two girls Aimee and Lucie in their Wanderer - two-year-old Lucie being the youngest competitor.
Felpham Sailing Club played host to the Blaze racing dinghy national championships. A total of 43 competitors from all over the UK descended and the club had their own highly-competitive group of Blaze sailors keen to show they could compete at the highest level.
Two races were sailed on the Friday in strong south westerly winds and large waves, conditions which favoured some of the experienced Felpham sailors.
As other sailors floundered, Peter Jones, Matt Burnett and Jonathan Saunders pulled out two consistent results each. Overnight they were leading the fleet.
On Saturday, 43 boats took to the water but many found the conditions too much. Several boats retired and others had mast damage from capsizes. Current national champion Rob Jones (Warsash SC) started to show his pace and had three excellent races, as did Nick Miller from Morecambe SC.
However the Felpham racers were still consistent and by the end of the second day they were still in contention.
On day three, the sailors arrived at FSC to find a wall of fog. It wouldn’t burn off and at 1.30pm racing was abandoned.
Rob Jones had managed to do just enough to retain his status. But three Felpham sailors took the next three placings with Peter Jones, Matt Burnett and Jonathan Saunders finishing in that order. Peter Jones was also named as top masters sailor. Ross Fisher of Felpham was named top grand master sailor.