Hundreds enjoy Chichester Harbour Race Week

Peter McCoy (Emsworth Slipper SC) leads the Finn fleet / Photo by Peter Hickson.
Peter McCoy (Emsworth Slipper SC) leads the Finn fleet / Photo by Peter Hickson.

Chichester Harbour Race Week ended on a breezy and sunny note, with smiles on the faces of more than 480 competitors.

The harbour’s biggest sailing event of the year – and one of the UK’s most important dinghy regattas – drew sailors from more than 50 clubs throughout England and beyond.

They raced in 318 dinghies which ranged from Olympic classes such as 49er and Finn to traditional scows, classic Flying Fifteen keelboats and RS Teras, designed for the youngest would-be winners.

Great sailing conditions through the week meant the full programme was completed and provided a superb spectacle for watchers at East Head and West Wittering beach.

Winds gusting to 21 knots led to some challenging moments on Wednesday, when an innovatory extra race was run for the two main series of classes.

But the few competitors who suffered broken masts or other damage mostly managed to be back on the water next day.

Sailors from host club Hayling Island SC were the most numerous – but were pipped in the club team contest by Emsworth Slipper SC, whose excellent results included convincing first places for Andrew Gould (Musto Skiff) in the fast asymmetrics and Peter McCoy in the 28-strong Finn fleet.

Gould won four of his six races, and McCoy would have equalled that, but for a capsize on his final tack for the finish line on day two.

Slipper clubmates Tim Weeden (Devoti DZero) and Sam Thomson (Laser 4.7, in the medium handicap one-man event) both took second places, while in the slow handicap Martin Price (Avon Scow) was second, tying on points with fellow ESSC member Barry King-Smith (Keyhaven Scow), third after countback.

And the club’s haul of coveted Race Week plates decorated with the burgees of all the harbour clubs continued with David Valentine, third overall in the DZeros.

Sailors from Emsworth SC also did well, with Tom Tredray and John Derbyshire first and second in the RS Aero 7 fleet, Jon Powell (Musto Skiff) second fast asymmetric, Patrick Bonner runner-up in the Laser Radials, Jonathan Townsend and Barbara Langford (2000) third in the two-man medium handicap and Toby Greatorex third of the juniors sailing RS Teras.

Largest fleet in the event were the RS200s, with 45 entrants. Arthur Henderson, sailing with various crews, helmed one of the six competing boats from Itchenor SC and finished second overall, and clubmates Maria Stanley and Rob Henderson, who sailed on only two days, won the final race after finishing third in race five.

In the medium handicap, ISC’s Josie and Hannah Meredith (2000) took fourth place – the 2000s, with 18 entrants, dominated the fleet.

Bosham SC’s Simon Radford sailed consistently in the Laser fleet, never finishing below third, and was runner-up. And the enthusiastic Dell Quay SC contingent cheered Sue Manning (Laser 4.7) as she received her prize plate for fifth position in the one-man medium handicap.

Arun YC’s Paul Hughes and Tracey Villa (Wayfarer) took second overall in the two-man medium handicap, where the three teams from Sussex Sailability in RS Ventures and Laser Stratos proved the inclusiveness of the event for less able sailors.

More than 100 volunteers from almost all the Chichester Harbour Federation’s member clubs made the event possible, providing committee boat teams, safety boat crews and shore-based essentials from safety checks and result compilation to Race Week clothing sales, and they and event sponsor Freedomsat were thanked by Federation chairman Nick Fox at the prizegiving.

- LIZ SAGUES

Get your local sport headlines here
World bronze on its way to Chichester
ITCHENOR

It is said that winning becomes a habit. For John Tremlett and his crew in the XOD Lass from Itchenor Sailing Club it has done just that.

At Cowes Week this year Tremlett won the prestigious Captain’s Cup for the sixth consecutive time – a record. The XOD class has been consistently one of the largest and certainly the most competitive class at Cowes.

This year there were 47 to beat, many with helms who are champions themselves, and the Lass team did just that in four of the eight races.

This created a winning margin of 15 points over the second-place boat sailed by class captain James Meaning from Yarmouth. Two other Itchenor boats were third and fourth – Foxglove, with former champion Al Ashford on the stick, and the consistent Catherine, sailed by Colin McKinnon and Neil Hart.

The strength in depth of the Itchenor team resulted in the club winning the interclub competition for the Phillipson Shield for the eighth time in a row.

It was a similar story for the Sunbeams as Roger Wickens and his crew retained their title and took home the Betty Moore trophy for the 12th time.

Fourteen Sunbeams took to the water for a fantastic week of racing at Cowes to celebrate the class 95th anniversary of racing at the annual event.

V26 Danny retained the Betty Moore trophy as the Class celebrated 95 years at Cowes