World sailing bronze medal on its way to Chichester

Sophie Weguelin & Sophie Ainsworth - Picture by Lloyd Images/RYA
Sophie Weguelin & Sophie Ainsworth - Picture by Lloyd Images/RYA

Sophie Weguelin and Chichester’s Sophie Ainsworth claimed Great Britain’s second medal at the Sailing World Championships, winning bronze in the 49er FX class.

The medal comes less than a month since they brought home the same medal from the class European championships in Gydnia, Poland.

The pair, who only officially teamed up in April this year, went into the final race of the regatta in Aarhus, Denmark, in second, and halfway round the course looked set to defend their position from the front of the fleet.

But a huge squall hit the ten-boat fleet, sending the wind from a handful of knots to more than 18 in a matter of seconds, and capsizing the race leaders, Austria’s Tanja Frank and Lorena Abicht, in the process.

With the breeze swinging by more than 60 degrees and just two legs remaining of the five-leg course, Weguelin and Ainsworth suddenly found themselves scrapping it out in the middle of the pack.

With Frank and Abicht relegated to the back of the fleet, the Netherlands’ Annamiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz shot into second, which was enough to give them the overall victory.

The Austrian pair took silver, with Weguelin and Ainsworth finishing just three points behind them in third.

The British duo received their medals from Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, a keen sailor who regularly competes at international regattas.

“We’re really happy with how we sailed this week, and to finish it off with a medal is brilliant,” said Ainsworth, 29, who hails from Ashford in Kent but now lives in Chichester.

“We had a lot of nerves going into the medal race and said that we’d just take it as it comes. To get a bronze here is pretty surreal actually – when we crossed the finish line it dawned on us that it was our second bronze medal. It doesn’t feel real.

“There’s definitely stuff we need to improve on but we really like the way we work together and we’re having fun. If we can keep it going for the next two years then let’s see what we can do.”

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Bosham Sailing Club will host the Ian Proctor Centenary Rally during its annual Classic Boat Revival on the weekend of September 1 and 2.

The revival is recognised as the premier annual event for classic dinghies so it is a fitting event at which to celebrate one of the undisputed greats of sailing dinghy design.

Many of Proctor’s designs are expected to attend including the Osprey, Kestrel, National Twelves, National Eighteens, Merlin-Rockets, Minisail, Wanderer and Wayfarer, and Topper..

The Classic Boat Revival is in its eighth year and the club are expecting a good number of classic racing dinghies, many of whom attend every year, from all over the UK and abroad, plus a significant number of the most iconic Proctor-designed boats still afloat to gather as a fitting tribute to this remarkable designer.

Over the weekend they plan a series of five races, starting from two committee boats, with entrants split into three fleets.

Subject to interest, there will also be a series of low-key harbour races for a fourth fleet dedicated to Proctor designs who do not wish to compete in the classic boat fast, medium and slow fleets.

Prizes will be awarded for racing and there will also be two prestigious Concours d’Elegance awards – one for the classic boat fleet and one for a Proctor-designed boat.

There is a full social programme with a gala dinner at the clubhouse to celebrate Proctor’s remarkable career on Friday, August 31, and on Saturday, September 1 there will be a club supper with live music.

Sponsors Hartley Boats, Topper International, Michael Cover ADR, MPI, Verisona Law, Haines Boatyard and Pusser’s Rum are supporting the event.

Full details including entry forms, go to


Fine weather encouraged 18 boats on to the water for the first four races of the Dell Quay SC short race series, but tricky light wind conditions presented competitors with a challenge.

In race one, Graham Dalton (one of six Solos taking part) took an early lead which he held almost to the finish until pushed into second place by Sue Manning (Laser Radial), who took line honours on the water and on handicap. Third on corrected time was the Lymington Scow of Jean and Liz Sagues.

The second race was a close battle between Simon Verrall (Solo) and Mark Gardner (Laser) – corrected times saw Gardner take first place from Verrall by just two seconds, leaving Mike Shaw (Solo) to pick up third place.

In race three, Verrall pulled off a convincing win in light winds, leaving Dalton second and the Sagues team third.

Verrall again took the win in race four, with Gardner second and Manning third.

Verrall, clearly inspired by his recent Solo nationals experience, with Gardner second and Manning third.

The final races in the series will take place on Sunday, August 26.