Sailors set for start line at Chichester Race Week

In a week's time (August 21) Chichester Harbour's biggest sailing event of the year will be under way, with hundreds of dinghies competing for the prized Federation plates at Race Week.

Monday, 14th August 2017, 3:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:25 pm
Race Week is quite a spectacle - at sea or from the shore / Picture by Liz Sagues
Race Week is quite a spectacle - at sea or from the shore / Picture by Liz Sagues

Already sailors from 24 clubs round England – from Devon to Yorkshire – have signed up to join competitors from nine clubs within the harbour in five days of racing on courses stretching from Hayling Island towards Emsworth, Thorney and Itchenor.

Latest entrants are the foiling Moths, tiny boats that fly above the surface of the water and outpace all other sailing craft. They will have their own start, as will classic dinghies such as Solo and Finn and well-established newer designs such as RS200 and RS Feva.

With five handicap divisions, too, and provision for the youngest sailors in RS Teras and Optimists, there is scope for all dinghy sailors to take part in the event.

In all, from August 21 to 25 there will be 17 starts each day for dinghies on three separate courses, each with its own committee boat, followed later in the day by keelboat racing for RS Elites and XODs.

The spectacle of so many boats racing is one of the highlights of the year for the harbour and can be watched from East Head or the shore at Sandy Point, Hayling Island.

Overall positions are calculated on entrants’ best three results (six for juniors, who have more, shorter races). Even sailors who aren’t able to come for the full week can stand a chance of being in the prize lists, as entry by the day is a feature of the event.

There are also awards for the best club team and best club junior team. A social programme provides completes the appeal of one of the largest dinghy events in the UK.

Chichester Harbour Race Week 2016 drew just over 400 entries, and the limit this year has been set at 450 to ensure there will be room for all at the racing base, Hayling Island SC.

More than 100 volunteers from member clubs of Chichester Harbour Federation run the event and provide safety cover.

Online entry continues until midnight on Saturday, August 19, and full details are on the website –


The final five races of the Dell Quay short race series attracted 17 boats, ranging in size and speed from a Lymington Scow to an RS 800 high-performance racing dinghy.

The race officer set a short triangular course of two laps per race, taking into account the initially-light and westerly wind conditions on what turned out to be a very pleasant, sunny day’s racing.

The large turnout encouraged a lot of crowding on the start line, resulting in a general recall for two races as many boats edged over the line too early. The size of the fleet ensured some interesting mark rounding as many boats fought for space and collisions were narrowly avoided.

In race six Andrew Buchanan (Finn) was first to cross the line but newcomer Martin Jones took first place in his Solo, followed by Simon Verrall (Solo) and Chris Wood (Streaker).

With the wind dropping away to almost nothing at times, the race officer shortened the course to one lap for the next three races. Fortunes changed rapidly between each race with Jones’ performance in particular standing out with two first places and one third place.

For races nine and ten the wind picked up considerably, providing some fast and exciting reaches and several capsizes in the gusty conditions. The final race was extended to two laps as the wind continued to grow.

Overall winner of the series and the Carriage Clock Trophy is Simon Verrall, with Mike Shaw second and Sue Manning third.

Results: Race 7 – 1 Simon Verrall (Solo), 2 Mike Shaw (Solo), 3rFred Hilgers (Solo). Race 8 – 1 Martin Jones (Solo), 2 Mike Shaw (Solo), 3 Chris Wood (Streaker). Race 9 – 1 Andrew Buchanan (Finn), 2 Jean and Liz Sagues (Lymington Scow), 3 Martin Jones (Solo). Race 10 – 1 Jean and Liz Sagues (Lymington Scow), 2 Warwick Hoddy and John Denyer (2000), 3 Sue Manning (Laser Radial).

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