Lasers light up Dell Quay ... First Breath series ends at Chichester

Action from the Laser open at Dell Quay / Picture by Becki Dicker
Action from the Laser open at Dell Quay / Picture by Becki Dicker

Eleven visitors joined eight local boats for the 2000 Class Open Meeting at Dell Quay SC.

The day brought sunshine and a lighter north-easterly blowing right down the channel.

The fleet were quickly afloat and race one started with a relatively-strong flood tide pushing the fleet over the line.

Good starts and picking a good route to the first mark saw DQSC locals Ben Hoddy/Stu Denyer and Bill Dawber/Sue Nash on top up the first beat with Matt Sargent sailing with daughter Gwen (Thorney Island SC), 2000 Class National Champion Rob Burridge sailing with wife Gemma (Weir Wood SC) and Mike Fitzgerald/Sean Gaudian (DQSC) in hot pursuit.

Eventually the Burridges moved into a lead which they held to the finish. The Sargents came second while Ali/Robin Barker (RAF Sailing Association) sailed through from eighth on lap one to finish third.

In race two, Lee Sydenham and son Max (DQSC) surged into the lead, closely followed by Chris/Gill Jordan (Burghfield), the Burridges and Barkers. The Sydenhams held on to win from the Burridges with the Barkers edging into third ahead of the Jordans.

Tide became a larger factor in the final race, with many hugging the left shore after the start.

Tight racing followed and, approaching the final mark, only a few boat lengths separated the top three. A gust on the final approach saw the Burridges having to do a last-minute gybe-drop and a problem getting the spinnaker down allowed the Sydenhams to round inside with Dawber/Nash right behind.

A drag race to the finish followed with the Sydenhams holding on to win by a boat length from the Burridges with Dawber/Nash a close third.

This gave the DQSC’s Sydenhams the overall win by a point from the Burridges, with the Barkers’ consistency seeing them third. The Sargents, with Gwen’s younger brother Johnny replacing her as crew in the last race, took the last prize in fourth.

A great showing by DQSC members saw them take six of the top ten. Thanks went to all who gave their time to run the event and to Ken Baker for allowing the use of his cruiser Pegasus as committee boat.

A lively and challenging 17-18 knot wind with gusts into the mid-20s greeted the nine boats attended the 2000 class coaching the previous day.

Special thanks went to Matt Sargent of Thorney Island SC/Army Sailing Association for assisting the coaching and new DQSC member Greg Park for making his rib available and driving for the day.



Increasingly-grey skies and a lighter-than-forecast south-westerly greeted 23 boats that turned out for the final two races of Chichester YC’s First Breath series.

In the modern/fast fleet the early pace was set by Tony Purser in his RS600, Gideon and Gilly Ewers in their RS400 and new member Phil Allen’s Asymmetric canoe. They were followed by a phalanx of 2000s.

Allen demonstrated some rare skills but they were negated by his nascent local knowledge which, together with corrected time, relegated him down the field. Likewise Tony Purser was unable to save time with only the Ewers maintaining their on-the-water position after corrected time behind Helen and Mark Green and series leaders Pete and Suzy Harrison.

Meanwhile the battle in the classic-medium fleet was a three-way fight between Ian Payne in his Laser, Mark Harper in his Solo and the GP14 of Nick and Biddy Colbourne.

Payne established a significant lead even in the lighter going while the Colbournes built up a healthy margin over Harper by the start of the penultimate leg. But they had to fight off a determined challenge by the series leader to claim first place on corrected time with Harper second and Payne third on corrected time.

Confusion reigned over a recall at the start of the final race of the series. Eventually Allen, equipped with his newly-won course knowledge, blasted around the single lap in just 24 minutes followed two minutes later by Purser and the Ewers.

On corrected time, the Harrisons took first, Allen saving enough time to claim second with two more 2000s with Mike Linney and Geoff Dixon and Laurie and Jens Winther aboard dead-heating for third.

The classic/medium batting order looked familiar with Harper building an on-the-water lead over Roger Millet in his Solo and the Colbournes going on to take the corrected-time win and the series.

First Breath series, final: Modern/Fast Fleet - 1 Pete & Suzy Harrison (2000); 2 Roger Clare (RS Vareo); 3 Nick & Roger Elliman (RS400). Classic/Medium Fleet - 1 Mark Harper (Solo); 2 Ian Payne (Laser); 3 Roger Millet (Solo).