Young Chichester sailors get on board for festival on the water

Youngsters enjoy the onboard festival
Youngsters enjoy the onboard festival

There was a great turnout of youngsters for the Chichester OnBoard Festival.  Some 30 young OnBoarders, all under 16, enjoyed a great day of junior sailing in Chichester Harbour.

The event, organised by Christian Youth Enterprise (CYE) and Cobnor Activities Centre Trust (CACT), was open to youngsters aged eight and above who were already being taught sailing through the RYA supported OnBoard programme. Children came from the CYE and CACT OnBoard programmes as well as other clubs and organisations.

They got to take part in a keelboat treasure hunt around the harbour and sailing games which included a boating version of Pictionary. During an ‘ice cream challenge’ the youngsters worked in teams paddling in a dinghy to collect different elements of an ice-cream and get it back to their team on shore.

The winners were part of the team which had the most complete ice cream and the best story to tell about their adventure. Some of the children also took part in a kayak adventure.

There were ideal conditions on the water. The event was a great social get-together too, giving kids a big opportunity to see what it is like to be part of a team. A barbecue added to the fun.

Volunteers and centre staff pitched in and Gary Palmer, head of centre at CACT, said: “We wanted to give every child in the local area an opportunity to get out on the water.”

Lou Callaghan, Chief instructor at CYE, added: “When the youngsters arrived in the morning they were quite shy and quiet, but it was clear by the end of the day that a lot of new friendships had been made, and that is what this event is all about.”

The completion of the CYE & CACT OnBoard Festival brings to a close the fantastic series of four RYA OnBoard Festivals that have taken place around the south during the summer of 2019.

Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regulars.


With a light five to ten-knot wind from the south west, race officer Bill Dawber set a triangular course for the final two races of the bank holiday mini series, taking in Crouchers, Copperas West and Hook racing marks.

In race five Stephen Holcroft (Solo), Richard Bridgmont (Solo) and Chris Wood (Streaker) got off to a good start, maintaining leading positions throughout the race.

The wind fell away after rounding the windward mark making for a slow reach towards Copperas West. The wind continued to vary during the race with Wood crossing the finish line first, followed by Holcroft and Bridgmont. After application of handicaps the final positions where Holcroft first, Bridgmont second and Wood third.

In race six the wind remained steady during the first lap but dropped away to almost nothing in the second lap.

Andrew Horne (Solo) completely lost the wind and his steering at the Hook Mark and found himself being pulled backwards by the tide. This allowed Nikki Buchanan (Solo) to catch up and round the mark. Horne managed to eventually round the mark and finish the race, well behind Buchanan. Roy Dyton (Streaker) was less fortunate also stalling at Hook but couldn’t get back into the race and complete the second lap.

Bridgmont took first place this time, with Holcroft second and Wood coming third again. Holcroft won the series and the Sam Burke Trophy, with Andrew Buchanan (Finn) second and Wood third.