Cream of school sailing talent show off skills at Itchenor

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Outstanding seamanship was on display at the Schools Sailing Championships at Itchenor Sailing Club – which, like The Queen, was celebrating its diamond jubilee.

Some 106 students plus accompanying teachers from 24 schools across the country were accommodated by members of the club.

A full day of training led by members of the club was followed by a whole day of racing over a variety of course configurations, with variable legs intended to maximize boat performance and crew enjoyment.

Conditions began with a light breeze, strengthening to a force five gusting six in the afternoon, testing the limits of the young sailors.

On the third day Itchenor awoke to overcast skies and a threat of rain with high winds. It was reluctantly decided to cancel the day’s sailing and the prizegiving was held early.

In the early days Fairey Marine presented a Firefly to the winning school, replaced by the Sir Richard Fairey Challenge Trophy in 1972.

Olympic silver medallist Charles Currey and Colin Chichester-Smith, both of Fairey Marine, started the Schools Sailing Championships in 1952.

This year Mimie Currey, daughter of Charles, presented the prizes. Mimie followed in her father’s footsteps becoming the national Firefly champion in 1969 and was a member of the British ladies’ world sailing team between 1974 and 1984, gaining silver and two bronze results for the UK in International 420 dinghies

This year’s winners were as follows:

International 420, Gavin Anderson Tray for best overall: Abagail and Caroline Croft, Surbiton High; BSDRA Mid Fleet Prize – Harry and Abigail Gilchrist, Hurstpierpoint; Astral Trophy First all-girl Crew – Abagail and Caroline Croft, Surbiton High. Firefly: Richard Fairey Trophy for Best Overall – Sam Jenkins and Jo Gough, Magdalen; Nick Prosser Trophy – Archie Chitty and Adam Heath, Winchester; Ladies’ Prize (First all-girl crew) – Imogen Smith and Amy Swinghurst, Sevenoaks

Local company Mind the Gap Year sponsored the event and arranged a ‘Know your Knots’ quiz – the winning team came from Winchester College.

MTGY and the Schools Sailing Championships are both about enabling young people to have fun safely.

Michael Pettifer, MD of MTGY, said: “Once again it was a fantastic week of sailing despite the weather.

With talent like we’ve seen this week there’s no doubt that the future of British sailing is a golden one.”

Several of those who took part are now on their way to Weymouth to take part in the 50th National Schools Sailing Regatta – with hopes they may even get to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.


Chichester Yacht Club’s annual regatta was dominated by high winds and tricky conditions.

With the wind averaging 18 knots and gusting higher, race officers Mark Harper and John Miles took the decision not to hold the usual long-distance race down the harbour. A large course was set in Chichester Lake, with a start from committee boat Seamogs, loaned by CYC member David Evans for the occasion.

The strong winds meant the keelboats from Itchenor SC started and finished their race at Itchenor, rather than finish at CYC.

The racing was interesting but was enjoyed by those brave enough to take part. There was one long race for each fleet.

Even the Merlin Rocket of Simon and Jackie Lytton had a capsize at Perch with their kite up. Martin Orton and Ian Brooks put in spectacular sailing in their RS800.

But while going at some speed they capsized, and had to retire due to a breakage.

Results: Fast fleet – 1 Simon & Jackie Lytton (Merlin Rocket, HISC), 2 Al Hall (RS100, Netley SC), 3 Stewart Denyer & Ben Hoddy (RS200, Dell Quay).

Ian Barnett in his Solo kept going well in the conditions and won the two-boat Solo race.

In the Laser fleet Tim Scott (CYC) in a Laser Radial beat Ben Chrystall of Dell Quay into second place.

The medium fleet comprised mainly Laser 2000s and Anne and Jonathan Watkins kept their nerve to take a well deserved first place.

In the slow fleet there was a good turnout of Laser 4.7 rigs as well as Toppers and two ‘dad-and-child’ RS Fevas, both helmed by adults more used to faster boats.

The section was won by Ian Cherrill in a Laser 4.7 (Frensham Pond SC) with Ross Watkins second in a Topper (CYC) and Nick Cherrill (Frensham Pond SC) third, also in a Laser 4.7.

CYC welcomed the crews after racing for tea and a a prizegiving.

Thanks go to Dell Quay SC for support and supplying the rib Alfie, driven by Julie and Andrew Rooker.

The final two races in the Chichester YC Summer Series were held in mild temperatures and sunny conditions. In race one, with a reaching start, the Lasers of Ian Payne and Jason Kirk led the fleet, with Mark Harper leading the seven Solos.

In some typical Chichester Harbour gusts, all competitors had an enjoyable first race.

On corrected time with just under an hour’s racing, Kirk was first ahead of Ian Payne and Harper.

The rest of the fleet had exceptionally close racing with Roger Millet (Solo) fourth and Chris Hodges and wife Louise fifth in their Laser 2000.

In the slow fleet, the Toppers, Optimists and Fevas enjoyed a smaller course in the blustery conditions with Hannah Thompson in her Topper 40617 first on corrected time and Rosie Berry and Blythe Berry (Feva) second, followed by the Topper of Sophie Kirk.

In the fast fleet in race two, Kirk took the honours on the water and on corrected time.

Second on corrected time was Harper, with Payne third.

Overall series results: Fast fleet: 1 Mark Harper (Solo 5050) 6.5pts; 2 Ian Payne (Laser 166550) 9; 3 Ian Lissamore (Solo 4319) 24.5; 4 Derek Jackman (Solo 5237) 27.5. Slow fleet: 1 Charlotte Reading (Topper 41) 9pts; 2 Hannah Thompson (Topper 40617) 10.

CYC’s Ian Barnett, sailing his Solo at the open event at Hayling Island SC, took fourth overall.