They're an Optimistic lot at Chichester
Chichester YC's Optimist Open attracted more than 40 boats with gusts of 15 knots-plus coming from the south-west.
The wind proved a challenge for the younger sailors and great fun for those more experienced.
Fortunately, the rain held off and the sailors could enjoy the blustery conditions in the relative safety of the Chichester lake. The club set out two courses for the main and regatta fleets.
Race officers for both fleets managed to get in three good contests despite the constantly shifty wind.
The main fleet got off to a good first start, with the younger sailors coping well with breezy conditions. There were a few capsizes but they were managed very well by the safety boats.
At the front of the fleet there was some very close racing between members of the development squad – Sam Thompson and Alice Snook – and it was a very close battle for first place, Snook gaining a significant lead only on the final beat.
The wind increased during the race and positions depended on keeping the boat flat and dry.
The second and third races were much the same with first and second places up for grabs, yet Snook prevailed in the second race and came second in the third race to end up with a result of two points (after a discard) and first overall.
The regatta proved a resounding success with the shifts, gusts and tide giving everyone some good and fun racing.
Tea and cakes were provided by the club afterwards.
Results - 1 Alice Snook, HISC; 2 Sam Thomson, Emsworth; 3 Freddie Fitzsimmons, Royal Lymington YC.
- CLAUDIA BUSH
Despite a force-five westerly wind, gusting at times to force six, there was a good turnout of boats for the first race of the Dell Quay Sailing Club Evening series.
The race was dominated by ten single-handers out of the 12 boats taking part in this popular race series.
Although all 12 boats started the race the challenging weather conditions forced three boats to retire, leaving only the single-handers to complete the three laps of the course.
First to cross the finish line was Andrew Buchanan (Finn), closely followed by James Pound (Laser), but Gordon Barclay (Solo) took first place on handicap to take the series lead.
Second place went to Pound with Sue Manning (Laser 4.7) coming in third. The Solos dominated the top five places with Ken Baker and Mike Shaw each turning in good performances.
With everything to play for and the Victor Cook Trophy the prize, the next race in the series takes place on Saturday (6pm).
This summer marks the 65th running of Itchenor Sailing Club’s annual Schools Week Championships. The much-anticipated sailing event will see hundreds of students from over 40 schools around the UK descend on the club for a week of racing around Chichester Harbour from June 25 to 30.
Since 1953 Itchenor have hosted the national Schools Championships, formerly known as the Public Schools Firefly Invitation Championships. Its aim is to promote inter-schools sailing competition and encourage participation in the sport.
The attractions of Itchenor Sailing Club, the unique opportunity of racing for your school as well as the event taking place after the majority of summer exams all combine to create a successful event that encourages the participation of a large number of local schools.
Following the success of last year, a practice race will once again take place on Sunday, June 25, for the RS Feva category followed by two days of racing on June 26 and 27. The older students will then take over in Fireflies and 420s with training on June 28 and racing on June 29 and 30.
The commodore of Itchenor Sailing Club, Charles Hyatt, said: “We’ve worked hard over the past 64 years to ensure the event continues to be successful and relevant within youth sailing.
“It is great to see the students’ confidence and ability grow with each year along with the standard of racing. We look forward to welcoming the students to our club this June and wish them all the best of luck.”
Last year saw an impressive selection of both junior and senior student sailors participate in the event which culminated with Portsmouth Grammar School being crowned the winner of the Feva competition while RGS Guildford took home the Firefly title.
This year’s event is sponsored by long-term supporters, MPI Brokers and JDX Consulting.
Registration to the 2017 Schools Week Championships is now open and schools can enter at www.itchenorsc.co.uk. For more, contact the club office on 01243 512400.
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