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Great support for Chichester Harbour Race Week

by Liz Sagues 14 Jul 2016 22:43 BST 15-19 August 2016
A grandstand view of the racing for holiday makers on West Wittering beach © Liz Saques

With a month to go to the first starting gun, on-line entries for Chichester Harbour Race Week 2016 (August 15-19) are just three boats short of hitting the three-figure mark. There are strong fleets building in many of the popular one-design classes, particularly Finns, and there are already 17 competitors in the medium handicap event and 13 in the fast handicap.

Enthusiastic support has come from dinghy sailors spread as far as Cornwall and Yorkshire, as well as from clubs nearer the Harbour and within it.

As ever, the event will showcase all the best of dinghy design, including newcomers. This year there will be a start for Devoti Zeros/RS Aero 9s, and another for Scows, Tideways and small classics, while at least four Hadron H2 single-handers – including one sailed by designer Keith Callaghan – will be competing in the medium handicap.

In all 17 separate starts are planned, and additional classes with at least ten full-week entries by July 31 can apply for their own start.

Entry is possible for single days or the full five-day event. There's always a rush of would-be entrants signing up at host venue Hayling Island SC, and organiser Chichester Harbour Federation is ready to welcome 350 boats or more to the race courses.

With tide times meaning morning starts this year, competitors would be well advised to arrive on the afternoon of Sunday August 14, enter then (or earlier, on line until midnight on the Saturday evening), set up their boats and avoid the Monday morning queue.

The race officers for the three separate race areas are anticipating that 2016 could prove a vintage Race Week. Here's how they sum up the event: "The ethos of our racing will be to run good races for all ages of competitors," promises Ian Grant, in charge of the juniors and slower boats in Series C.

"What makes racing in Race Week unique and special is the beautiful Chichester Harbour itself," says Greg Wells, RO for the fastest dinghies in Series A. "Not only is it such a beautiful place but it also throws up many wind and tidal challenges for the competitors."

Mark Darling, who heads the committee boat team for medium-speed Series B, believes the week is special because of its long heritage which has evolved to include both modern and traditional classes and to embrace the latest race organisation technology. He enthuses, too, over the "beach party regatta feel".

And the final word goes to PRO Robert Macdonald, who notes that despite how much the event – previously known as Fed Week – has developed over more than 50 years, "what hasn't changed is the camaraderie of competitors and race team alike both on and off the water, enjoying the challenges of harbour racing and afterwards catching up in the bar with friends".

Read all about the event at

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