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Plas Menai 2015

Countdown to Chichester Harbour Race Week 2017

by Liz Sagues 12 Aug 10:29 BST 21-25 August 2017
Ready to go at Race Week 2016 © Liz Sagues

In a little over a week's time southern England's biggest dinghy regatta, Chichester Harbour Race Week, will be under way.

Traditionally, at least half of the entrants sign up at host club Hayling Island SC on the eve of the event, so whether final numbers will exceed 2016's 401 boats and 625 individuals cannot yet be predicted. But already sailors from 24 clubs round England - from Devon to Yorkshire - have entered on line to join competitors from nine local clubs in five days of racing on the wide stretch of water just inside the harbour mouth.

The week is a showcase of dinghy design, with the latest asymmetrics racing alongside such classic designs as as the National Solo and International Finn. Keelboats (RS Elite and XOD) are included, too, as are Oppies and RS Teras to allow the youngest sailors to be part of the event, and four handicap fleets cater for competitors whose chosen boats are not among those with class starts.

In all, from August 21 to 25 there will be 17 starts each day for dinghies on three separate courses, each with its own committee boat, followed later in the day by the keelboats.

As well as a cabinetful of trophies, several with colourful histories, prizewinners carry away the coveted Federation plates, decorated with the burgees of all member clubs of Chichester Harbour Federation, organiser of the regatta. There are also awards for the best club team and best club junior team.

Highlights of the on-shore programme include a workshop on single-handed sailing led by 2017 National Solo champion Charlie Crumbley and the mid-week beach party. They add to appeal of an event which sees many parents and children, and sometimes three generations of the same family, on the water and enjoying HISC's great facilities and sandy beach.

Online entry continues until midnight on Saturday August 19, and full details are on the event website, chichesterharbourraceweek.sailevent.net