School’s out for sailing ... and pupils ensure West Sussex regatta is a big success

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MORE than 100 boats took part in the West Sussex School and Youth Sailing Association regatta at Chichester Yacht Club – despite a discouraging weather forecast.

On day one, the fast fleet was dominated by Ben Crystall in a Laser, keeping well ahead to take first in both races.

The Lasers of James Mapley and Eric Sharrad gave chase but from some way behind, with Mapley second.

In race two, Sharrad got closer to Crystall and took second, with Stu Denyer also in a Laser taking third.

The Topper and slow fleets were sent round a triangle, with a shorter beat, but at the same mark there was a good deal of carnage.

By the time two rounds had been completed the fleets were very spread out, and the race officer brought all the boats ashore to try to sort out the rigging problems and limit entry to those who had finished the first set of races.

The slow fleet was dominated on day one by the home club pairing of Olivia Winther and Hattie Culver sailing their RS Feva to two firsts.

Abi Bentley and Jake-Aldous Hobbs, also in a Feva, gave chase in race one and managed a second. Charlie Elliott in his Optimist kept his cool in the windy conditions and a fifth in race one was followed by a second in race two. Hamish Scott in a Pico put in a couple of good times taking third in both races.

In the Topper fleet, the battle lines were set between Chichester & Dell Quay.

In race one, Ben Thompson, Elliott Williams and Beckie Manning took the first three places. In race two, Henry Bettle managed to get the best out of the conditions to take first with Manning second and Thompson third.

There were one or two injuries to youngsters and two needed brief hospital treatment, but they turned up next day, still keen to spectate.

Sunday produced no wind and for 90 minutes competitors sat in their boats while the rain fell. Eventually the wind came in and racing could begin.

Only a single race could be completed, and in the fast fleet the top three Lasers had a close race. Crystall again kept ahead to take first. Denyer finished three seconds ahead of Sharrad.

Final places saw Chrystall (Dell Quay) first, Felpham sailor Sharrad second, Mapley (Felpham) third, Denyer (Dell Quay) fourth and Ryan Breach and Jack Cullen (Felpham) fifth. In the final Topper race, Thompson made the best of the conditions take first with Manning second and Josh Wilkinson third.

That placed Thompson (Chichester) first, ahead of Manning (Dell Quay), Williams (Chichester) third, Henry Bettle (Dell Quay) fourth and Charlotte Reading (Chichester) fifth.

In the slow fleet Charlie Elliott kept his Oppie going in the light winds to take first on handicap, with Felix Eyers and Lily Kitchener (RS Feva) second and Alexander Lee (Laser 4.7) third.

Overall, Charlie Elliott (Chichester) was first, Winther and Culver (Chichester) second, Alexander Lee (Pagham) third, Bentley and Aldous-Hobbs (Felpham) fourth and Hamish Scott (Chichester) fifth.

The team trophy went to Chichester Yacht Club and the regatta, held at Chichester for the second year running, was judged a success, with the sailing association clearly going from strength to strength.

Several parents told how delighted they were for their youngsters to take up the sport through the association.

DELL QUAY

On Saturday, Dell Quay dinghy sailors almost drifted round a long course looking for patches of wind while on Sunday the combined Birdham Barrel series, organised by Chichester Yacht Club, was sailed in a fresh breeze.

Chris Ede made the most of Saturday’s Longmore event as his light weight Solo sailed past, and then away from, faster but heavier boats to cross the finishing line two minutes ahead of the next boat. Behind him, Richard Wilde and David Wakefield (Wayfarer) overtook Anne and Jim Norfolk (Laser 2000) but the Norfolks came back on the final leg to cross the line just ahead, although Wilde and Wakefield finished second on handicap. Fourth place went to Jean and Liz Sagues in their Laser 2000.

The Birdham Barrel races saw race officer David Thair set two long courses which used most of the available open water between DQSC and CYC.

In the Laser 2000 class, Anne and Jim Norfolk from Dell Quay took an early lead but John and Pauline Cox from CYC caught up to set up a close finish, the Norfolks tacking for the line first to finish just ahead.

In the second race the Coxes got off to a good start and were first to the windward mark but John had rounded the mark the wrong way and he had to go back.

The Norfolks again pulled away down-wind but Chris Hodge and Louise Varley led briefly before the Norfolks tretook and held the lead. The Coxes had worked their way back up the fleet to take second place.

In the Laser fleet, both races were won by Chris Spencer by a good margin, with John Crawley second and James Cox third in the first race, all from CYC. In the second race second place went to Warwick Hoddy with Andrew Buchanan third, both from Dell Quay.

In the first Solo race CYC veteran Peter Hughes was first over the line from Ron Green with Bill Munnery third. In the second Hughes and Green were first and second with Patrick Johnson (CYC) third.

The Handicap fleet saw Mark Harper in his Finn and Andy Conway in a Blaze, both from CYC, first and second. Third places went to Meryl Deane and Ian Payne from CYC in an RS 200 and then young Arthur Fry.