West Sussex's top young sailors steer course to success
A total of 120 competitors took part in a successful West Sussex youth sailing regatta hosted by Chichester Yacht Club.
It was one of the biggest events CYC had hosted and the fleets were divided in two.
On day one, Derek Jackman and his assistants on the committee boat Maurice set a trapezoid course. Some of the sailors taking part were relatively new to racing and, as the wind dropped, needed some help getting to the start in time.
The regatta is aimed at encouraging kids to sail, with the focus on fun. Coaching on the water is positively encouraged to help children enjoy this introduction to racing.
It was great to see the way that a few words from a coach boat had the kids sailing smoothly around the course.
Races one and two were in relatively calm wind and after the first lap, the young racers started to get the hang of it. The Oppie fleet was particularly competitive.
During race three, the wind whipped up and the rescue boats had plenty of work helping right capsized boats.
Almost everyone managed to sail home under their own steam.
At the end of day one, the white fleet (fast handicap) was led by Alex Maygar (Felpham) with two firsts and a second. Chichester’s Susannah Olliff and Beth Albone were a creditable tenth.
The purple fleet (medium handicap) was led by CYC’s Charlie Elliott and Christopher Clark in the Feva XL with three first places out of three.
The green fleet (Oppies) were led by the two Sargents – Gwen and Johnny – with Gwen narrowly in the lead.
The yellow fleet was led by Felpham’s Fin Swanton, who won all three races, while the pink fleet was led by Ollie Sommer and Will Greaves of SFC.
Day two brought bright sunshine and lighter winds.
Race four got off cleanly with an even split between those that chose to go deep into the rising tide and those that chose to sail up the middle.
During race five the wind fell further and the young sailors had to demonstrate their light airs technique.
After a delay, little wind arrived and race six was started. Susannah Olliff and Beth Albone of CYC led by a considerable margin.
In the final results, the white fleet was won by Mayger, in his Laser radial, who won three out of six races.
Second place went to Daniel Gibson (CMYC) in his RS Aero 7. Third was to James Turner (Arun Yacht Club) in a Laser.
The purple fleet was won by Elliott and Clarke, who were first or second in every race. Second was DQSC’s Lizzie Kies in her Pico; third AYAC’s Jamie Dadswell (Laser 4.7).
The green fleet was won by Emsworth SC’s Gwen Sargent, with brother Johnny second. Third was CYC’s Thomas Dempsey, who collected his medal from proud mum, Olympic sailor Sarah Ayton, at the prizegiving.
The yellow fleet (Topper class) was won by Swanton, who had consistently good results over the two days. Second went to SFC’s Tom Lawson ahead of Alice Serna (Felpham SC).
The rookie fleet for competitors new to racing was won by CYC’s Katie Merryfield-Day, who won the last two races to come out on top of the leaderboard.
Second was CYC’s Lily Speed. Third went to Sommers and Greaves in their Feva XL.
In the fifth and last race in the DQSC pursuit series, a fickle north-westerly wind saw the fleet completing four laps around the course, with fortunes changing as the wind kept changing direction and speed.
The race was led most of the time by the Solo of Roger Puttock but he was eventually caught on the reach by the faster RS400 of Rob Corfield and Tim Dormer just before the end of the race, and they went on to win the race.
The second RS400 of Peter King and Jamie Prescott made a late turn of speed to take third place from Richard Ede’s Solo. There was only a few seconds separating the first four boats after more than 90 minutes racing.
The series winner is Andrew Buchanan (Finn), who will receive the Market Cross Salver at the annual prizegiving evening in November. Second in the series are Simon and Linda Bell (Miracle), with Roy Dyton (Streaker) third.
There are just two races left to go now in the DQSC main 2016 season.
For those intrepid sailors who like to keep going throughout the winter, the Frostbite series will begin on December 3 and is open to all.
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