Schools regatta shows future of West Sussex sailors is in safe hands

West Sussex School & Youth Association Regatta at Dell Quay Sailing Club   Picture by Chris Hatton
West Sussex School & Youth Association Regatta at Dell Quay Sailing Club Picture by Chris Hatton

THE 20th annual regatta of the West Sussex Schools and Youth Sailing Association (WSSYSA) was hosted by Dell Quay Sailing Club.

There were 100 dinghies entered from nine teams across West Sussex. Formed in the early 1960s, the WSSYSA continues to develop sailing opportunities and activities for a steadily-growing number of affiliated schools, youth clubs, community youth organisations and sailing clubs.

Saturday’s racing was in a fairly steady south-westerly breeze which kept the competitors moving well but was quite challenging for some of the younger competitors who had not taken part in a large event before.

Starts of all three fleets were clean in the first two races, and even with the tide under them at the start of race three only a handful of boats in the Topper and slow handicap fleets made premature starts. 

The leading Toppers sailed particularly impressively, with Jess Carter (CYC) deservedly heading the overall list, winning two races, and Phoebe Noble (DQSC) taking first place in the slow handicap races.

Sunday’s breeze was fickle in the extreme. The first race of the day got under way on a starboard-hand triangular course, but with very few of the competitors noticing the change of course clearly displayed on the committee boat and the certainty that many of the slower boats would fail to complete even one lap, race officer Rob Nunn made the sensible decision to abandon the race. 

As the course was reset for the final race, wind conditions made it unlikely the race could be completed and all racing for the day was abandoned to a rousing cheer from competitors frustrated by the drifting conditions.

Prizes were awarded by Harvey Hilary of the RYA British sailing team, with the overall team trophy going to Felpham Sailing Club. The youngest racers were also acknowledged with prizes, the youngest being nine-year-olds William Lynas from Dell Quay and Chloe Miller from Felpham.

There were also prizes for ten-year-olds Jack Goodland of Pagham Lagoon SC and Gregory Kies and Adam Hall of Dell Quay.

Results - Topper Class: 1 Jess Carter - Chichester Yacht Club, 2 Josh Wilkinson - Felpham Sailing Club, 3 Mitchell Campbell - Felpham Sailing Club. Slow Handicap: 1 Phoebe Noble - Dell Quay Sailing Club, sailing a Byte, 2 Charles Elliot and James Taylor - Chichester Yacht Club, sailing an RS Feva, 3 Owen Aldous - Chichester Yacht Club, sailing a Laser 4.7. Fast Handicap: 1 Alex Frampton and Thomas Chapman - Crawley Mariners Yacht Club, sailing an RS 200, 2 Ryan Breach Felpham - Sailing Club, sailing a Blaze, 3 Fran Sprules and Laura Palmer - Dell Quay Sailing Club, sailing an RS Vision.