Chichester regatta is fresh challenge for sailors... Points make prizes at Itchenor
After months of light winds, the fresh south-west wind that appeared for the Chichester Yacht Club regatta was a definite change in pace.
The regatta is always a long-distance race from the CYC lake area down the harbour.
With the wind at promising 18 knots, gusting 22 knots, and a likely sea breeze effect, race officer Richard Anderton judged that this was an opportunity to use the longest of the course options, and give the CYC fleet a chance to explore the further reaches of the harbour.
The competitors in the fast fleet were sent off from the CYC committee boat, past Westlands and along the Itchenor reach, down the harbour to SW Pilsey and on to Channel and then back. The winning boat, a Hornet sailed by Nigel Skunder and Keith Mills, completed the course in 2hr 17min.
The medium fleet were sent on a slightly shorter course to Johns Folly and East Head. The south-west wind made the journey from Bosham down to the east head a very long beat, and the return a challenging downwind run, with many of the boats experiencing waves breaking over their bows for the first time this year.
The medium-fleet contest was won by Mike and Paula Olliff, who clearly prefer sailing their 2000 in the fresher wind. Seven boats finished the course and five retired as the wind built just as the race was finishing.
The slow fleet had a series of races local to the club. Given the stronger wind, the competitors did very well to complete two races. Winner was Catherine McHale sailing her Topper. Second was Zac Shepherd in his optimist.
The regatta saw the Itchenor keelboats sailing up to the CYC lake area, and looking fantastic as they were heeled over on the beat back toward Itchenor.
Winner of the Swallow fleet was Chris Fox, sailing with James and Archie Leaver. Winner of the Sunbeams were Julian Money and Sarah Pearson. The XOD fleet winner was John Tremlett sailing with Sarah Speed.
Itchenor Sailing Club held their annual Points Week – a festival of classic keelboat racing.
There were a plethora of national and international champions and Olympians among the crews of the 56 boats taking part.
However, the real star of the week was Chichester Harbour, full of water at high tide to allow courses to be set to maximise the conditions.
A total of 25 X One Designs raced for daily trophies and the Benson Platter for the week’s winner; 17 Sunbeams, celebrating their 95th anniversary, competed for the Wengen Cow Bell, while the Buccaneer Trophy was the target for the 14 Swallows.
On day one XOD champion John Tremlett drove Lass to victory followed by former Benson Platter winner, Mark Palmer in Sweet X. Andy Oddie was third in Magic Dragon.
Former XOD champion Alastair Ashford Foxglove visiting from Antigua showed well but navigation let him down.
On Tuesday the Ashfords made no errors to seal the win, followed by another former XOD champion Michael Martell sailing Astralita with Lass again on the podium.
Day three saw Lass bounce back to lead Foxglove and Astralita in a close finish.
The fourth day of racing brought wins for Sweet X and Lass.
There was no doubting the quality of the Swallow fleet - they included current and past national champions and ex-world champions.
Class stalwarts Charles Fisher and Richard Thompson in Migrant struck first. James Hartley in Osprey - a brand-new boat - had a close win over Malcolm Green in Archon in race two.
Archon was being helmed by ex-America’s Cup skipper Andy Green, who went on to record two masterclass victories.
Skua, helmed by Harry and Prue Roome, steadily accumulated podium places.
Two races on the final day were champagne sailing at its best. Skua pounced to record her first win of the week before Gwaihir, helmed by Itchenor’s Mike Wigmore, found her mojo to take the win from Skua.
The Sunbeams learned that racing in a large fleet meant good results were often dependent on competitors having good starts and sailing in clear air.
In the first race Tim Hill in Query led buy was overhauled by Joe and Cathy Burnie’s Fleury and Penny, helmed by Richard Pearson.
Tuesday saw Fleury and Polly pull away from the rest of the fleet, with Peter Taylor’s Betty in third.
Wednesday saw Fleury continue to show exceptional form and Joe Burnie won his third race of the week. Query passed Melody, helmed by Petra Tanner, for second.
In the week’s final race V18 Polly led from the start. Fleury and Query finished second and third. The final race saw Melody lead but be overhauled by Query. Duncan O’Kelly in Harmony was third.
The event was supported by Strutt & Parker.
Results: XOD - 1 Lass (Richard Bullock, Jeremy Lear and John Tremlett); 2 Foxglove (Alasdair and Jackie Ashford); 3 Sweet X (Mark Palmer). Swallow - 1 Skua (Harry and Prue Roome); 2 Archon (Sir Malcolm and Andy Green); 3 Osprey (James Hartley, Jeremy Sibthorp, Robert Sutherland). Sunbeam - 1 Fleury (Joe and Cathy Burney); 2 Query (Tim Hill); 3 Polly (Nick Leach, Simon O’Hea).