Early helms get the worm at Dell Quay... Sunbeam shines... 50 years young

The Dell Quay SC Early Helm series
The Dell Quay SC Early Helm series
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We have news from Dell Quay, Chichester and Itchenor - plus Chris Blevins’ latest Setting Sail column - in our latest sailing digest.

Now the sailing season is in full squad, get your club in the paper and in this website round-up. Send reports, results and pictures to steve.bone@chiobserver.co.uk

DELL QUAY

Taking into account the light winds, race officer Richard Ede set a figure of eight course extending out to the Marina racing mark for races three and four of the DQSC Early Helm series.

Race three was delayed a little to allow the wind to build sufficiently and first to get away was Mike Shaw (Solo), closely followed by Mark Harper (Solo) in what was to become a fierce battle for first place, with the two Solos never much more than a boat length apart.

The much-faster RS400s forged ahead to cross the finish line ahead of the Solos but Harper eventually took first place on handicap, pushing Shaw into second place just 15 seconds behind and well ahead of Chris Wood in the Streaker, who came in third.

Sky is a GRP reproduction of the classic Sunbeam yacht first built in 1923 which has been racing in the Solent and Itchenor for 94 years.

With the tide starting to ebb half the fleet were caught over the line when the starting signal went for race four. A general recall was sounded but only half the fleet returned to the start line, leaving the safety-boat crew to bring back the rest who were enthusiastically rounding the first mark.

This delay, together with the late start for race three, meant the race officer needed to shorten the race to avoid running out of tide.

Andrew Buchanan (Finn) had an excellent race and was second to cross the finish line, ahead of the faster RS 400 of Rob Corfield. However, it was the Lymington Scow of Jean and Liz Sagues which took first place on handicap despite being the last boat to cross the line, with the crew making up in skill for what this charming little gaff rig lacks in speed. Second place went to Harper with Gordon Barclay (Solo) third.

Mike Shaw leads the series with Mike Fitzgerald and Tim Dormer (2000) second and Chris Wood third. Races five and six take place on Saturday, from 1.15pm.

ITCHENOR

The 31st Solent Sunbeam classic racing yacht was launched at the Itchenor Hard.

Sky is a GRP reproduction of the classic Sunbeam yacht first built in 1923 which has been racing in the Solent and Itchenor for 94 years.

The GRP hulls were moulded on the Isle of Wight and fitted out at Haines Boatyard in Itchenor. The new boats and the existing wooden-hulled Sunbeams look identical and are keenly raced on exactly level terms.

The Sunbeam racing fleet are based at Itchenor SC and race every weekend and on Thursday evenings in Chichester Harbour and occasionally Hayling Bay, and also take part in the Classic Week and Cowes Week Regattas in the Solent.

Interested sailors are most welcome to try out the beautiful yachts and join the fleet at an open day on May 13. See www.solentsunbeam.co.uk for more.

CHICHESTER

Chichester Yacht Club are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year and will begin the festivities with an open day this Sunday.

The Chichester Marina-based club’s doors will be open from midday to 5pm and people are welcome to go and have a look round to see the facilities and activities they offer.

New membership offers include free ‘start to sail’ sessions in dinghies and a free three-month trial for berth holders.

The original club was created in 1936 by the Chichester Canal. It closed down during the war years and was reformed in 1967. Present-day officials still have the original minutes and attendees of the inaugural meeting of the reformed club.

SETTING SAIL

We are now four weeks into the new season at Itchenor Sailing Club, writes the club’s rear-commodore sailing Chris Blevins.

We have been blessed with good weather that has provided challenging conditions for racing. With more than 100 boats racing over the Easter weekend the tone has been set for another exciting season at Itchenor.

To make the competition even more interesting we have introduced a number of new buoys for the fleets to race around. These have already proved popular with our crews and race managers alike, and have added to the variety of courses we can offer.

We do not wish to keep the enjoyment of racing from Itchenor to ourselves. We are throwing open our doors again on Sunday, May 7.

It is our annual open day which this year is being generously supported by local Land Rover dealership Harwoods Group.

We look forward to welcoming as many locals as possible, whether you have experience sailing or not, so that we can show what makes Itchenor so special. There will be opportunities to go afloat in one of our racing classes, speak to the experts and enjoy the hospitality in our iconic clubhouse.

On Saturday May 6, David Campbell-James will be giving us the lowdown on Britain’s challenge for the America’s Cup this year. David is specially qualified to do this – he is a former Olympic sailor and his son Paul is part of the BAR team challenging to bring the cup home.

The forthcoming bank holiday weekend is another busy one at Itchenor with three dozen races planned involving all our keelboat and dinghy classes. Fingers crossed for fair winds and weather.

CHRIS BLEVINS

* Read Chris Blevins’ column monthly in the Observer

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