Bosham Sailing Club hosted their annual Optimist Open, attracting 70 entries from clubs across Chichester Harbour and as far as Parkstone and Reading.
The sun shone and the breeze blew gently although with a strong incoming tide and a southerly wind which reached a maximum of eight knots, the sailing was challenging.
The fleet were divided into two groups, the main fleet, which sailed in the Chichester Channel as far as Thorney, and the less experienced regatta fleet, which sailed in the more sheltered Cobnor Reach.
Great sailing was had by all the young sailors, who competed in four races throughout the day with beaming smiles on their faces. At the end, competitors and their parents enjoyed tea and prizegiving at the clubhouse.
In addition to prizes for the top sailors, prizes were awarded to the youngest sailors, most polite, those who tried the hardest and for the best capsize.
The standard of sailing was very high with national and regional level sailors attending.
Henry Keegan from Parkstone Yacht Club won the main fleet with Ocean Hughes from Lymington winning the regatta fleet. Zac Shepherd was first Bosham sailor in the main fleet (and fourth overall) with Pippa Shepherd first Bosham sailor in the regatta fleet.
Simon Radford, the race officer, said: “It was fantastic to see so many young children on the water having fun and improving their racing skills. I was particularly impressed with the high standard of sailing that I saw.”
Piers Shepherd, Optimist class captain at Bosham Sailing Club, said: “Bosham has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world to sail and the Optimist is the best boat for children to learn to sail in. We were thrilled with the strong level of participation in our events which demonstrated how much people love sailing in Bosham and in Optimists!”
Bosham boast one of the largest fleets of Optimists on the south coast. The Optimist dinghy is ideal for seven to 13-year-olds and Bosham run training courses for members and non-members throughout the year. In addition, Bosham welcomes non-members to try their regular Sunday races.
Tris Mayhew, rear commodore of cadets and vice-commodore, said: “We are a family friendly club and are able to cater from the young sailor who just wants to learn to sail and have fun, right the way through to the competitive sailor who wishes to compete at a national level.
“In addition to the Optimist dinghy, Bosham provide sailing for youngsters in Toppers, Fevas, 420s and Lasers so there is something to suit everyone.”
Bosham SC host their annual Junior Week consisting of competitive races in the morning, fun races in the afternoon and a packed social programme, from August 9.
Ten per cent of the places have been reserved for those who aren’t members of Bosham SC but are members of other Chichester Harbour sailing clubs.
For more, please visit www.boshamsailingclub.co.ukk.
Results - Bosham Prize Winners - First Main Fleet Zac Shepherd; First Regatta Fleet Pippa Shepherd. Main Fleet - 1 Henry Keegan; 2 Charlie Howard; 3 Jemima Day; 4 Zac Shepherd. Regatta Fleet - 1 Ocean Hughes; 2 Tom Hakes; 3 Thomas Peace; 4 Harry Franklin.
The Chichester Yacht Club regatta provided exciting racing for those brave enough to participate. With winds gusting to 26 knots the fleets were not sent on the traditional long courses towards the harbour entrance, and instead did several laps between Longmore point and Dell Quay.
Steve and Sarah Cockerill, from Stokes Bay SC, gave a masterful display of heavy-weather sailing in their RS400, winning the fast fleet by a considerable margin from the RS400 of Nick and Roger Elliman from the home club.
The Merlin Rocket of Chris Grosscurth and Emma York showed how to go downwind with a symmetrical spinnaker in such a powerful breeze and finished third on handicap.
The Cockerills finished their day honing their gybing techniques in the strong wind.
In the medium fleet, Nigel Cowan had an exciting time just staying afloat when a hatch came loose on his Hadron H2 leading to a spectacular sinking.
Ian Payne was navigating his Laser safely without capsizing to take first place in the medium fleet after strong competition from a new duo of Charlie Elliot and Will Dodd in a 2000.
The different downwind techniques between the single-sail Laser and the three-sail 2000 were demonstrated on the long run from Perch to the Quay mark, where the Laser could sail straight downwind while the 2000 was forced take a more exciting route make several risky gybes but frequently obscured by flying spray.
Derek Jackman sailed his Solo securely into third.
Thomas Machell in his Topper showed impressive speed and boat handling in the heavy conditions to win the Slow fleet.
Four X One Designs ventured out from Itchenor SC as part of the regatta but were unable to race through Itchenor to finish at Birdham in the strong wind, so finished on the Gallon line west of Itchenor.
The winner was X50 (Roger Yeoman, Mike Moss and Rob Tyrwhitt-Drake). Second was X172 with David MacLean and Ras Turner with Michael O’Donnell and Steve Lawrence.
Competitors enjoyed a well-earned tea at the end of their energetic day.