Young sailors dominate on the water in Chichester Harbour

Young instructors at Chichester YC's Dinghy Week
Young instructors at Chichester YC's Dinghy Week

THERE WAS fair weather and good winds for Chichester Yacht Club’s 2015 Dinghy Week.

A wonderful week was had by sailors of all ages and 18 new young sailors joined the RYA learn-to-sail course. By the end of the week many new sailors were happily tacking and gybing their boat around a simple course under the supervision of their RYA senior instructor and assistants.

Fifteen youngsters a little more experienced were able to join a start-to-race fun fleet, looked after by some of Chichester’s capable new instructors, Many of the instructors learned to sail only a few years ago, but are already experienced instructors.

More than 40 boats joined the open racing, with CYC members joined by sailors from other clubs. The adults were joined by more experienced younger sailors making fleets with an age range of six to 80-plus.

A race series ran for four days followed by pursuit race for adults and experienced sailors on the last day. High winds on day four led to racing being abandoned so the series ran over three.

The fast/modern fleet was busiest with 27 boats. Martin and Cindy Orton won in their Lark.

By the end of the week many new sailors were happily tacking and gybing their boat around a simple course under the supervision of their RYA senior instructor and assistants.

Results: 1 Martin & Cindy Orton - Lark, CYC; 2 Guy Marks & Nick Humphries - Wayfarer, Bough Beech SC; 3 Tim Humphries & Paula Baynton - RS200, Pevensey Bay; 4 Ian Payne – Laser, CYC; 5 Helen & Mark Green – 2000, CYC.

In the medium/classic fleet, 19 boats joined over the series. There was a close battle at the top of the fleet, with Elliott Marks (Bough Beech SC) just pipping Lewis Humphries (Pevensey Bay).

Results: 1 Elliott Marks – Laser Radial, Bough Beech SC; 2 Lewis Humphries – Laser Radial, Pevensey Bay; 3 Ian Lissamore – Solo, CYC; 4 Andrew & Toby Martin – Miracle, CYC.

The slow fleet was smaller with eight boats. This year all sailors in this Fleet were 18 or under.

Susannah Olliff and Rhiannon Simpson (CYC) had a good first day in their RS Feva, with two first places. Clara Alford (Topper) managed second in race one and Matthew Carr a third and a second.

On day two Matthew Carr (CYC) got his Topaz Uno Plus into the lead with two first places.

The week had a competition for fastest sailor on a defined course in a reasonably-priced dinghy (a Topper). The high wind enabled some fast times, with Nick Elliman (CYC) winning.

On day five, the younger sailors from the slow fleet were joined by the start-to-race fleet in a turbo regatta run by Martin and Cindy Orton.

The main fleet had a pursuit race in light and variable winds and tricky conditions.

Guy Marks and Lewis Humphries established a commanding lead about halfway though and could not be caught.

Throughout the week there were plenty of off-water activities, including a quiz evening, model boat building, a beach trip, games onshore including water sliding on the lawn and a barn dance. The week was rounded off with prizegiving at the club.

ITCHENOR

For more than 50 years Itchenor Sailing Club’s Junior Fortnight has provided an opportunity for young people to test their skills in competitive one design dinghy racing. This year was no exception with 230 competitors, ranging from eight to 18.

High winds meant sailing started two days late, with the race committee setting two races for each class group. There were very few capsizes and lots of beaming smiles as the eight to 12-year-olds came ashore.

By Friday, the race programme was back on track and the weather provided a fantastic day for sailing. At the end of week one the top of each fleet was very close.

Week two wasanother mixed weather week but the Mirrors proved they are robust racing machines. The youngsters aged from 12 to 15 demonstrated amazing seamanship skills and had stories to tell.

Highlights of the social programme included a talk by Volvo Ocean Race-winning skipper Ian Walker, who also coached the less experienced Mirror sailors and held technical sessions for the 420 fleet.

On the racing front, the 420s had 17 entries. In week one Tom Weston and Paddy Jefferies set out their stall with five firsts, closely chased by Henry Heath and James Dickenson, and HISC visitors Jack Lucas-Clements and Nick Walters.

In week two the racing results got even closer with outstanding performances from the girl boats Aida (Emily Heath and Hannah Jones) and 54314 (Flora Windabank and Milly Moss). Aida had three firsts which included the four race Super Cup.

Results for the overall fortnight had the Weston/Jefferies pair leading with Heath/Jones second and Heath/Dickinson third. Only two points separated the sibling boats. On the last day Henry and James managed to finish second overall with Emily and Hannah third.

Final results: 420s: 1 Tom Weston and Paddy Jefferies; 2 Henry Heath and James Dickenson; 3 Emily Heath and Hannah Jones. Toppers AM - Final results: 1 Emily Turner 16pts; 2 Laura Partridge 17; 3 Oliver Wilson 25. Toppers PM - final results: 1 Emily Partridge 13pts; 2 James Taylor 19; 3 Georgie Drysdale 37. Mirrors 4: 1 Ed Timberlake and Jack Hartley 9pts; 2 Alice Law and Hattie Kent 11; 3 Will Harris and Max Morgan 21. Mirrors 3: 1 Will Timberlake and Ed House 11; 2 Emilia Walker and Alice Turner 27; 3 Sienna Pudney and Anoushka Hartley 28. Mirrors 2: 1 Bertie and Charlotte Fisher 7; 2 Eleanor Keers and Alice Law 14; 3 Pippi Heath & Ailbhe Barnes 18. Mirrors 1: 1 Bertie Fisher and Felix Kent 20; 2 Johnny Law and Charlotte Fisher 33; 3 Eleanor Keers and Izzy Pugh/Rosie Kinsella 37.

Prizes were presented by Walker and queues of competitors wanted their sailing kit signed.

Many of the sailors have since heading to national championships – the Mirrors in Abersoch, Wales and the 420s in Restronguet, Cornwall.

DELL QUAY

Dell Quay Sailing Club’s Junior Week was a resounding success, despite challenging wind conditions, with a varied and interesting programme to suit youngsters from six to 16.

A larger than usual number, 77, went out on the water, supported by powerboat instructors, dinghy instructors, senior instructors, safety boat crews and beach helpers.

Volunteers were drawn from parents, grandparents and the club’s junior instructors, who come back year after year to help make this very popular event a success.

The youngsters were organised into age groups, with activities geared towards the expected level of skill. The youngest group were the Sea Monsters, who were taken through the basic skills of sailing during the week and managed to have a good time.

The younger beginners formed the Pirates and the older ones the Shipmates, all participating in a day sail, improving seamanship skills, games and a treasure hunt.

The Fastmaster group, as they renamed themselves, took part in the day sail, developing seamanship skills and development activities to encourage them to join the DQSC squad.

On Friday all groups took part in a fun regatta, for which the first, second and third places were awarded with certificates.

This year many youngsters successfully completed the RYA Dinghy stage one course and were awarded with their RYA certificates in the middle of the week.

Within the advanced group, one youngster showed considerable presence of mind when trapped under a boat following a capsize by removing his buoyancy aid so he could escape to safety, holding on to his crew-mate until the safety boat arrived.

Certificates for various skills development were awarded at the Junior Week presentations on Friday evening by DQSC commodore Chris Sprules.

The new Seagull Trophy, provided by an ex DQSC member, was awarded to Niamh Sparkes. This trophy is awarded to the youngster who started the furthest back, fought the hardest and achieved the most in the struggle for personal achievement and advancement.

RACE WEEK

Fireball dinghies – the classic Peter-Milne design that was born on Chichester Harbour – will be out in force next week for the harbour’s biggest sailing event of the year.

As a result of their enthusiasm they will have a start of their own in the fast division of Chichester Harbour Race Week 2015, despite the class national championships taking place in Wales the same week.

Entries from Finns and Solos in particular are also building well, as are those in the Laser fleets and the medium handicap. By the time of the first starts on Monday, the usual line-up of more than 300 dinghies is anticipated.

Racing is held at Hayling Island SC but organised by Chichester Harbour Federation with the help of volunteers from all the harbour sailing clubs.

All competitors will have the chance of winning £25 vouchers from spot prize sponsor ABC Marine & Leisure, the chandlery superstore on Hayling Island. Two winners will be chosen at random each day.

On-line entries for the event (renamed this year from Fed Week to make its welcome clearer to sailors beyond Chichester Harbour) close at midnight this Saturday (August 15). But competitors can enter in person at Hayling Island SC on Sunday afternoon and every day throughout the event, from August 17 to 21.

Two discards are allowed in the five-race series for competitors in the fast and medium classes, while the youngsters sailing shorter courses count six of their nine races.

Competitors need to race on at least three days for a chance to win coveted Federation plates, but those with less time to sail can enter at daily rates and still enjoy the special Race Week experience.

A historic visitor during the week will be Terror, the restored Emsworth oyster boat, evoking a major industry in Chichester Harbour’s history.

For on-line entry go to www.chichesterharbourraceweek.sailevent.net. Daily reports and results will be posted.

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