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Chichester Harbour Race Week - Day 2

by Robert MacDonald 17 Aug 2016 08:35 BST 15-19 August 2016

With a registered entry of 370 boats and some 563 competitors, the day started early again but, with a bigger tide almost 50 minutes later, provided more options for the race officers.

The forecast showed a sea breeze from the SE to develop late morning so the race officers had a dilemma whether to set a course in the NE or postpone to allow time for it to pull southwards, and endeavour to avoid setting a course which would result in a series of reaches around the harbour. On Series A Greg Wells decided to postpone for an hour but with the wind not settling, eventually setting an 090 course in a fairly fickle breeze.

The wind continued to play games with the sea breeze continually teasing but never materialising until too late. At shortened course finish at Mark 1 an adverse current and little wind led to a spectacular rafting of most of the RS200 fleet, the 400s and Asymmetrics combined with the Fast handicap, Fireballs, and D-Zero's & Aeros, the last three fleets failing to realise they had already been shortened and finished at the leeward mark. It proved to be a difficult finish line for competitors and the race team alike!

For Series B with the wind swinging 060º to 100º and forecast to go 120º, Mark Darling decided after some head scratching to set up Series B on 090º with a one mile beat to the end of Stocker Bank, and went into start sequence 20 mins late. The line had about 15º port bias but with favoured direction to go right up the beat, staying in the flood tide, the competitors had a dilemma and split almost 50/50.

The wind continued to oscillate occasionally turning the beat into a fetch, and back again. However after an hour the sea breeze started to play a part, killing the gradient, dragging it south and back again. Luckily for the majority of the classes they were shortened, but not for the Laser 4.7s and radials who had rounded the windward mark, before shortening started. Even the fleet of critical Solo sailors appreciated the race officers decision.

Whilst A & B Series fleets struggled with a fickle wind direction, for Series C the West mud proved far more stable and the Scows were despatched promptly, and had to fight the flood in a light airs to complete a repeat of Monday's course, whilst the Teras and Optimists were able to successfully complete two races.

The new Series D Keel Boat fleets of Elites and XODs commenced later in the afternoon with a welcome appearance of XODs from Itchenor, who successfully completed two races in southerly breeze, whilst the Elites were forced to postpone after a mechanical failure prevented launching.

Results can be found at

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