Felpham take prize as best young West Sussex sailors take to water

On a glorious September weekend, young sailors from Felpham Sailing Club lifted the prestigious team trophy for the tenth year running at the West Sussex Schools & Youth Sailing Association annual regatta.

A total of 120 young people sailing 94 dinghies representing ten schools and clubs from across West Sussex took part at Felpham. It was a spectacular sight with all the dinghies lined up on the beach, and as the launch signal was received they rapidly departed for the first races.

There were some spectacular sights at the regatta

There were some spectacular sights at the regatta

With ages ranging from eight to 18 there was a wide range of sailing ability and dinghies. The sailors were split into four fleets – a rookie fleet for those racing for the first time away from home, and three fleets split by handicap. RS Fevas had a fleet of their own with the slower and faster dinghies forming the slow and fast fleets.

Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas was on hand to give pre-race tips, coaching on the water and post-race video analysis.

The event was aimed at having fun and increasing racing participation among young people. Every child was given a certificate, a medal and a Felpham SC drinks bottle.

The racing was at times close, but several performances stood out.

In the rookie fleet, Jamie Edwards from Chichester YC sailing a Topper 5.3 scored four wins in five races, closely followed by Eva Carmichael (also in a Topper 5.3) from Crawley Mariners YC scoring a first and two seconds. Eddie Ruffer and Luka Medina from Worthing SC were third in the RS Feva.
Isabelle Tonks from Chichester YC did well in her Optimist. She showed great determination for fourth place.

In the slow fleet, Toby Field (Emsworth SC) in an RS Tera Pro did enough to hold off Joshua James (Felpham SC) in a Topper 5.3 and Samuel Tonks (Chichester YC) in a RS Tera Sport. Felpham SC took seven of the next nine places.

There were 12 RS Fevas making up the medium fleet. Crawley Mariners YC took the top three places well clear of the rest. Lauren and Emily Hetherington showed everyone else how to do it by scoring three wins and a second place.

The fast fleet was a mix of Lasers (represented by all three rigs), an RS200 and two Aeros. The Aeros dominated with Jack Miller (Felpham SC) taking four bullets and Fin Swanton (Felpham) closely following with seven points. Miles Vidler (Crawley Mariners) was a close third.

In the battle of the Laser radials, Seaford College showed their best results with Ollie Randall-May and Tom Lawson lying just behind Alfie Lester in fourth. Pagham Lagoon Sailing had their best result with Sam Atherton seventh in a borrowed Laser Radial,.

Prizegiving began with a moment’s silence in honour of Andy Farrer, former commodore, who had passed away that weekend. Andy had set out a strategy for youth development in 2007 which has been continued since.

Besides the podium prizes, trophies were awarded for the top positions in the major classes. Rooster sponsored the prizes by providing vouchers for sailing gear.

The Russell Moore Trophy was dedicated nearly 25 years ago to honour the memory of Russell, who died of leukemia at a young age. The trophy recognises the efforts of a young person who has gone the extra mile to support sailing.

Two contenders for the trophy were nominated, Charlie Howell from Felpham SC and Lizzie Kies from Dell Quay SC. The chairman and secretary of WSSYSA presented the trophy to Charlie. The trophy was presented by Russell’s sister, Paula Bentley.

The team score calculation ended with, to loud cheers, Felpham taking the team trophy once more, with Crawley Mariners a close second.
The event was sponsored by Tesco through their Bags of Help scheme, Mays Estate Agents, Rooster, and the RYA London & South East Region Youth Training Fund.

Many visitors supported the event, particularly by providing safety boat cover. Guy Mayger and Ross fisher did an excellent job reading the wind to lay the courses and provide some great racing. Huge thanks go to everyone who helped to make the event memorable and a great success.


by Mike Wigmore, ISC

Itchenor Sailing Club’s busy summer season continued apace with the club hosting the prestigious European Championships for the International 12SqM Sharpie class. Forty of these beautiful classic dinghies came to Itchenor, bringing competitors from the UK, Holland, Germany and Portugal.

This class competed in the 1952 Olympics and the design has hardly changed since then. Principal race officer Peter Taylor and his race team of club members provided first-class racing in mostly champagne conditions in Hayling Bay and management by event director Roddy Bridge ensured the event was a success.

Being a family friendly class with a reputation for partying it seems they needed little encouragement to enjoy themselves. Themed evenings included British Night and European Night, dispelling the current political woes.

On the water the result went down to the last race with Chris and Tim Gibbs in GB125 Windspeil just beating Daan Versteeg and Arnold Mulderij in NED14 Jan van Galen into second place.

Away from the club other successes have come thick and fast. George and Richard Bullock just missed the podium in the Mirror National Championships at Poole Yacht Club, only beaten by boats helmed by adults.

Our Int 14 sailors again dominated the Prince of Wales Cup Week at Falmouth with Neil Jones and Ed Fitzgerald taking the week, but the greatest accolade goes to Paul Ward and his team for winning the Darwin Escapes 2019 J/70 World Championships.

This event attracted 77 entries from 20 countries and Ward’s Eat Sleep J Repeat were the first British team to win the event. He said “We are very very pleased; it has been hard work and we have a very good team. We have sailed well all year, and this has been a tough week but a lot of fun. We were just a few meters from the finish when we realised we had probably won, we worked hard right up to the end, the Americans and the Spanish pushed us really hard.”

Great regular class racing for 12 classes of boat continues every weekend at Itchenor. We recently hosted the Haines Challenge Cup, a prestigious trophy first awarded by the Haines family in 1930 so one of the club’s oldest trophies.

It has always been a “pursuit race” for boats 12ft or over and this year was won by Mike Moss and David McGregor sailing X50 Xcitation. Our rowers recently took our two Galleon fours to the Great River Race, a 21.6-mile London River Rowing Marathon.

* Itchenor Sailing Club joined 257 other venues in 31 countries worldwide by competing in Bart’s Bash.

Billed as the largest sailing event in the world, it is held annually in memory of Olympic gold and silver medalist Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, who died in a sailing accident. His memory lives on in the form of the Andrew Simpson Foundation.

Itchenor joined in the annual mass participation to raise money for the foundation by running fun races.

Three Keelboat fleets (Swallows, Sunbeams and XODs) were encouraged to take a crew from another fleet to add a twist to the day. “We all get so stuck in our own boats with regular crew when it comes to competitive racing so it seemed a good idea to mix everyone up and have some fun,” said Christine Graves, race organiser.

The wind was very light in the morning and at one stage four Sunbeams were anchored to stem the strong tide. The wind then changed direction and started to blow into the harbour from the Solent. The last Sunbeam flew through to take the lead, but was eventually overtaken.

Racing for the fast dinghies (International 14s) was delayed because of the lack of wind, but finally got under way with a good breeze and a great race was enjoyed by all.

Junior racing in smaller dinghies was organised for the children in the afternoon in glorious sunshine and gentle breezes.

The club was dressed with naval flags while Caribbean music played and everyone enjoyed a barbecue in the garden.