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Chichester Harbour Race Week 2015

by Liz Sagues on 24 Aug 2015 17-21 August 2015
Andrew Gould, Musto Skiff, leads off the line in the fast asymmetric start on Friday at Chichester Harbour Race Week © Andrew Filipinski

Chichester Harbour Race Week ended on a high note, as Friday brought non-stop sunshine and a breeze which meant even novice racers had a great day's sailing.

This year's event drew 313 boats and almost 500 sailors to compete on three separate courses close to the harbour mouth. Dinghies ranged from 49ers to Optimists and in between included a huge variety of classes, modern and classic. As always, the sailing was run from Hayling Island SC by volunteers from the Harbour Federation member clubs, The five days of racing took place in light to moderate winds – a big contrast from last year's conditions when the remnants of hurricane Bertha meant the loss of a day's racing and saw many capsizes and much boat damage. And with close rivalry among competitors overall winners in several of the fleets hinged on the final day's results.

One of the clearest winners was in the fast asymmetric fleet, where Andrew Gould (Musto Skiff, Emsworth Slipper SC), had a perfect score of three wins in his three qualifying races. So too did David Sayce and crew Nick Rees (HISC), unbeatable in the Fireballs, Neil Robinson (Finn, Mengeham Rythe SC), Niall Houston (Laser, HISC), Dominic Hall (Laser Radial, HISC), Alex Mayger (Laser 4.7, Felpham SC), Lucy Bakker (Topper, HISC) and Phoebe Peters (RS Tera Pro, HISC).

Alex Mayger's father, Guy, finally came out top in one of the closest-fought classes, the Solos, picking off his rivals for first place overall as the final race progressed. But the Mayger family was not the most successful among the many related entrants: members of the Peters family from the home club headed four classes.

HISC was also again the winner of the inter-club team competition. But a very strong challenge – decided only on tie-break – came from Felpham SC, which had only nine competing boats from which to choose its team, against the 175 from HISC.

With regular series A and B race officers otherwise engaged at the Flying Fifteen worlds, their guest replacements Tim Hancock and Nick Colbourne set the same high standard of racing, as did Ian Grant, new RO for the youngsters in series C. As ever, the majority of the competitors came from sailing clubs within the harbour. But 2015 saw entries from 37 clubs in total, some as far afield as Cornwall, the Midlands and even Northern Ireland.

Biggest of the 15 fleets was the RS200, which hit 50 entrants, closely followed by the medium handicap, where dinghies ranged from harbour favourites such as the Wayfarer to modern Devoti Zeros and RS Aeros. Solos were out in force too and there was a welcome increase in standard-rig Laser competitors.

Among the faster classes, the Fireballs – another harbour classic – mustered enough entrants for their own start and there was good support in fast handicap and asymmetric handicap classes, as well as from the Finns.

Fewer youngsters that usual were seen on their smaller course, probably because many regulars had moved up to RS Fevas. But a lot more Optimists than last year augurs well for bigger junior fleets in 2016 and beyond.

Full results can be found here.

Chichester Harbour Race Week 2016 will be held from 15th-19th August.

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