Olympic sailor boosts Bosham ... regatta and Easter fun for youngsters

Sarah Ayton, Olympic gold-winning sailor, was guest of honour at Bosham SC
Sarah Ayton, Olympic gold-winning sailor, was guest of honour at Bosham SC

Olympic double gold medallist sailor Sarah Ayton opened Bosham Sailing Club’s new facilities, funded partly by £75,000 from Sport England.

Bosham was the only sailing club in West Sussex to secure a share of £6m of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund in 2015. There were more than 500 applications for funding and of these 92 clubs from across the sporting spectrum were selected.

The grant has been used to improve club facilities so it can widen the appeal of sailing, whether to youngsters just learning or competitors from other parts of the country participating in open regattas.

Ayton, now a member at Bosham SC, said: “It gives me immense pleasure to see the club investing in new facilities which will encourage more people on to the water to enjoy sailing in Chichester Harbour.”

Bosham SC commodore Simon Radford said: “We are delighted to have been able to improve our facilities from this funding and look forward to an active sailing season. It furthers our mission to broaden the appeal and access to sailing through our links to local schools and Women on Water initiatives.”

A cadet regatta started the season at Bosham Sailing Club.

With 40 youngsters in 29 boats, there was much excitement on the slipway with many returning for the annual event and other new members joining for the first time.

With a gentle force two-three northerly wind, the six classes of dinghy sailed the channel chasing the breeze, which went very light at times.

In the Laser Radials it became a family affair with the two Russell brothers battling for first place in their class.

Winners - 420: Charlie Knottenbelt & Ben Heber; Laser Radial: Matthew Russell; Feva: Phoebe & Patrick Mayhew; Topper: Eddie Tyler; Mirror: Penny Hodgson & Grace Wormsley; Optimist: Edward Timberlake

CHICHESTER

The RNLI Easter Egg regatta was on Good Friday – the best day for weather of the Easter weekend – and a bunch of the keen racers headed to the water for the first club races of the 2016 season.

While the water was still chilly, competitors were greeted by bright sunshine and an unexpectedly warm day.

The fast/modern fleet was dominated by Jason and Sonia Kirk (2000), who won every race, with clear water between them and the chasing 2000s throughout most of the races.

The remaining places were fought out between the 2000s in races one and two with the new members Chris Grosscurth and Emma York in their RS 400 nipping up the fleet to third place in race three.

Final places: (all 2000s) 1 Jason & Sonia Kirk, 2 John & Pauline Cox, 3 Chris Hodge & Louise Varley.

The medium/classic fleet largely comprised Solos and Lasers, with a Streaker Wave plodding round mostly behind.

Ian Lissamore (Solo), back from the Southern Hemisphere, won the first race just ahead of Charlie Porter (Laser) on handicap. Races two and three were won by Ian Barnett with Anthony Osman second in both.

Final places (all Solos): 1 Ian Barnett, 2 Anthony Osman, 3 Ian Lissamore.

Easter eggs were provided for competitors by race officer Ron Green and donations were collected for the RNLI.

Chichester Yacht Club’s Merlin Rocket open drew a good number of sailors over the Easter weekend.

Race officer Pete Harrison set a triangle/sausage course for the eight Merlin Rockets who braved conditions.

With a few capsizes, there were some breakages. Three races were held back to back, finishing just before the forecast wind and weather deterioration.

In race one, Chris Gould and Chris Kilsby screamed into the lead just after the windward mark. Hoisting their spinnaker they then went swimming. A squall hit but eventually, Ollie Turner and Graham Sexton (Starcross SC) took the lead and retained it.

Race two saw Gould and Kilsby have a good battle with Turner and Sexton, who won again.

In race three, Simon Potts and Ally Martin (Burghfield) kept their nerve to take first place with Frances Gifford and Philip Dalby (Ranelagh) second.

The winners, also taking Nicks Boat Trophy, were Turner and Sexton (Starcross SC). Second were Potts and Martin (Burghfield), third Gould and Kilsby.

Thank went to the committee boat team and safety boat helms and crews.

(Photos Lauire Winther & Mark Green)

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PUSH THE BOAT OUT

Don’t miss the chance to try sailing in this Olympic year when RYA Push The Out returns to Sussex in May.

The nationwide have-a-go-at-sailing festival, organised by sailing’s national governing body, gives all comers the chance to get on the water for free or at low cost over nine days from Saturday, May 14 to Sunday 22.

Last year 18 Sussex sailing clubs and centres ran Push The Boat Out events, with even more set to welcome people this year. Events can include dinghy sailing, windsurfing, big boats and yachts and even powerboat rides.

Although each event is different, all are geared to appeal to as many people as possible, regardless of age, ability or experience.

Sailing is something the family can enjoy together and Push The Boat Out aims to showcase what sailing is about, from the freedom of being afloat to the social buzz of club life, while dispelling popular myths around the sport’s accessibility and inclusivity too.

More than 65,000 people have discovered the sport through Push The Boat Out since its launch in 2012. Nationally 2015 Push The Boat Out saw almost 28,500 newcomers attend events at almost 350 locations across the UK.

With the British sailing team amongst the world’s best, sailing always enjoys a boost in Olympic years and Push the Boat Out is a great way to discover a new outdoor sport to enjoy this summer.

Duncan Truswell, RYA Sport development manager, said: “Over the past four years Push the Boat Out has enabled thousands of people who may never have even considered giving sailing a go the chance to try the sport. Many of these have since become club members and volunteers and are inspiring others to follow their lead and try the sport.

“Clubs and centres continue to get better and better at providing a warm welcome, and we are really excited for this year’s Push the Boat Out, which I’m sure will prove even more popular. 2016 is gearing up to be the perfect year to get into sailing.”

Want to know how you can Push The Boat Out in May? Visit www.rya.org.uk/go/pushtheboatout