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Bosham Sailing Club Senior Week

by Nicky Chapple 5 Jul 2010 16:26 BST 30 June - 2 July 2010
Over 50 boas for Bosham Sailing Club Senior Week © Nicky Chapple

Wednesday 30th June

At Bosham Sailing Club’s annual Senior Week, over 50 boats took part from single handed Scows to boats built in 1928 over the three days of hot sunny weather.

On the first day the slow handicap series saw 10 Chichester scows and nine Classic Day Boats (slow division) competing, which made for some slick manoeuvring and exciting moments on the start line. The fleet was treated to courses that took them as far afield as East Head.

Sailing south from Bosham Quay, the combination of low tide and wind on the nose made for repetitive tacking down a narrow channel on all three days of competition. Many sailors found themselves on the mud before entering open water. Two boats at least were stuck fast and forced to retire.

In the medium handicap fleet, there were 15 starters on the line for the first race in a brisk breeze. A clear start and at the windward mark Sophie Boo (Yachting World Day Boat) was clear ahead whilst some of the others had trouble rounding the mark with the strong spring tide. A course in the Bosham Channel followed with the leader being chased hard by Guillemot (Arun OD) and Gull (Devon Yawl) Results were very close with Annabel (Fairey Falcon) being the winner on handicap.

The second race took the fleet out into Chichester Harbour where the wind freshened. Sophie Boo took an early lead followed by Pirana (Torbay Minnow) and Guillemot. The middle of the fleet had close racing with the three Streakers more than holding their own with the bigger boats. At the line Piu Mosso (Yacting World Day Boat) had made up good ground but it was Sophie Boo again with line honours. This was not enough though to stop Annabel again taking the race on handicap.

Last fleet off the start line at Bosham Quay were the Fast Handicap classes for modern dinghies and for classic day boats. With a 15 knot breeze from the Sou’-Sou’ West but backing towards the south, both divisions were away at 13.30 precisely. The modern dinghies comprised a 470, two Albacores, four Wayfarers, and two Lasers, whilst the classics comprised a Salcombe Yawl, three Chichester Harbour 18s, a National 18 and a 12sq M Sharpie. Some of these boats date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and have been lovingly restored.

The Albacore of Alan and Sally Ferens took an early lead, hotly pursued by Dick Pratt and Mike Brooke in the Sharpie. The turning mark was halfway between Itchenor and West Wittering and it meant beating against a big tide. But turning toward Bosham, it was a quick passage home, the total of five miles being covered by the leading boats in just under an hour. Line honours went to the 1949 Sharpie, noted for its down-wind performance. But the Wayfarer of Andrew Francis and Norman Geehan had come through to take second over the line with some fine spinnaker work. The corrected times meant that only 35 seconds separated the first four boats including the Salcombe Yawl of John Smithers and Peter Hughes and the Ferens’ Albacore; and so it proved for the most of the week with only seconds between the top boats.

After a quick lunch taken largely afloat, the fleet was set a course towards Pilsey, a little further but with a freshening wind and a now ebbing tide this was completed by the lead boats in under an hour. Both the Sharpie and the 470 of Mathew Wright and Hermione Garner got off to very good starts, but the National 18 of Brian and Paula Hoolahan and the Ferens’ Albacore were not far behind. Turning at the mark off Pilsey Island and heading back north into a very stiff ebb, tactics were dictated by the tide. Approaching Chidham, the Albacore gybed too soon after a mark rounding allowing the Sharpie to open up the gap by taking the shallows. However the 470 had managed some terrific spinnaker work and took line honours at the Bosham Quay finish.

At the back of the fleet and in a slower boat, the venerable Chichester Harbour 18 of Paul Dewing and Katie Prentice had made very few errors, but the Sharpie had done enough to win with the CH18 second and the Albacore 3rd on corrected time.

Thursday 1st July

On Thursday, the lighter winds favoured the Streakers. Race 3 had a shaky start with some recalls which allowed the three leaders to get well away. A long harbour course was set but, with dogged determination Breeze (Emsworth OD) sailed the course hard and won a well deserved third place on handicap. Guillemot and Sophie Boo took 1st and 2nd.

Race 4 saw the wind drop away and to keep the pace a close course around the top end of the Bosham Channel was set with an exciting reach past the Quay which gave spectators and swimmers a close view of the dinghies. Again, it was a close fight for the finish by Guillemot, Pirana and Sophie Boo.

For the fast handicap the later tide meant there was to be less room in the Bosham Channel for the start and first leg of the course, and with the wind tending to back, it was going to be a difficult choice of which side of the main tidal flow to take. In the event the eastern side proved correct and this saw all the 18s, the Salcombe Yawl and the Ferens’ Albacore win out over the Sharpie. However it was a longer race than the previous day; the race officer Stuart Martell and been unsure if the breeze would hold all day and so wanted to get at least one good race in the bag. And so off to Ellanore Point, across to Pilsey, then up the Thorney Channel, then back south again against a strong flood tide with the bigger boats needing to keep an eye on the shallows to take advantage of a weaker current and hoping to catch the Pilsey eddy before crossing the main channel to East Head mark with the Ferens’ Albacore in the lead, followed by the CH18 of Murray Campbell and Bruce Garrett, the N18 of the Hoolahans, this time with an extra crew (Freddie Smithers) and the Sharpie which had recovered some what from earlier errors and now looking to take advantage of its offwind advantage. The wind was indeed going light and concentrating in lanes making for very tactical racing. It was to be a two hour race with the Ferens’ Albacore taking line honours (winning the moderns on corrected time), but the Dewing CH18 coming first on corrected time overall and the Sharpie second on corrected time overall.

The last race of the series saw an ebb tide and wind dropping away so a very short course was set which would take about half an hour around the inner marks within the village waters. The tide saw a number of boats over the line at the start, but only the Sharpie exonerated by re-crossing the line – a painful experience on such a short race and one which would ultimately cost her the cup. Yet more drama and some boats overstood the windward mark which had been re-positioned from the previous season, so only two boats in the classic fleet successfully completed with the Dewing CH18 having done enough to deservedly take the much coveted cup for the classic senior week series. The Ferens' Albacore once again took line honours with the Francis/Geehan Wayfarer second and so it would be for the overall results of the Fast Modern Series of Senior Week. Bobbie Currey, the widow of Olympic Medallist Charles Curry was able to be present the Currey Cup on Alan and Sally Ferens at prize-giving on Friday afternoon, a cup originally won by Charles for his performance in the National 12s in the 1930s.

2nd July

The final day gave light breezes and after a cloudy start a fine, sunny afternoon. The day featured a pursuit race to East Head and then a Harbour race ending back at Bosham Quay. No surprises that Guillemot was again the winner but with Piu Mosso close behind and Pirana and Sophie Boo tieing for third place.

The racing day began with a Pursuit Race from Bosham Channel to East Head followed by a picnic on the beach. The staggered start saw the slower boats start first and the faster boats had to try and catch them before the appointed finishing time. After a one and half hour race in a strengthening breeze, Tim and Liz Martell with Rob Bailey were far ahead in their beautiful Arun One Design still being pursued by the Sharpie, but now with Alison Garrett as crew and strategist on board.

The race back home in the combined fleets of Modern and Classic fast boats saw the Sharpie off to a cracking start under the threat of a black flag but getting away and opening up an immense lead on the predominantly down wind course from East Head, via Thorney Channel and a big loop in the Chichester Channel to the finish at Bosham Quay. She finished nearly 3 minutes ahead of the Topper Spice of Richard Barnes of Ledwyn Delaisse. On corrected time the Salcombe Yawl came through to take second leaving the Sharpie with the bullet point.

Six races in three days and about 6 hours of solid racing meant that the boat crews were very pleased with their race officers, patrol boat crews and scorers and to the overall man in charge, Bosham Sailing Club’s new commodore Chris Welland.

Overall Results:

Fast handicap: Alan and Sally Ferens (Albacore)
Medium handicap: Hugh Garety (Streaker)
Slow handicap including Slow classic day boats: Peter Shaw (Tideway)
Classic dayboats fast handicap: Katie Prentice and Paul Dewing (Chichester Harbour 18)
Classic dayboats medium handicap: Tim and Liz Martell, Robert Bailey (Arun OD)
Chichester Scows: Judy Roberts

Harbour Race
Combined Fast handicap and classic dayboat fast handicap: Dick Pratt and Mike Brooke (Sharpie)
Combined medium handicap and classic dayboat medium handicap: Tim and Liz Martell, Robert Bailey (Arun OD)
Combine slow handicap and classic dayboat slow handicap: Judy Roberts (Chichester Scow)

Pursuit Race
Tim and Liz Martell, Robert Bailey (Arun OD)

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