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314 sailors from 54 schools for Itchenor Sailing Club Schools Championships

by Rebecca Oldfield 3 Jul 2017 16:14 BST 25-30 June 2017

The bare statistics of 314 competitors from 54 different schools competing at Itchenor Sailing Club last week does not nearly tell the story of close and competitive sailing, fun on the water and new friends made.

On Monday and Tuesday the Feva regatta took place with over one hundred boats entered. The choice of the Feva is ideal for schoolchildren typically aged 13 and below. It is easily handled by crews of that age and yet offers excitement particularly when planning with the spinnaker flying.

The omens were good for a local victory when the Jameson brothers Henry and Rupert representing Hayling College took the winning gun in the first two races and second place in the third. Last year's overall winners Louis Johnson and Henry Chandler from Portsmouth Grammar School were second across the line in the first two races but were disqualified in the second for a starting infringement. They never recovered their 2016 form and finished overall 11th. The Ditcham Park School pairing of Fin Dickinson and Tom Gorringe took the honours in the third race. Caught out by the tricky wind and tidal conditions of Chichester Harbour, the Norwich School crew of William Pank and Finlay Campbell scored a lowly 73rd in the first race. But they got the hang of things in the second and third race scoring a second and a fourth.

If the winds were light on Monday, Tuesday's winds promised to be lighter so race officer Andy Penman got racing away on time on a course near East Head. Three new sets of names graced the podium positions in the first race of the day. Sevenoaks School's Will Caiger and Tom Baulkwill were first, with two Portsmouth Grammar Schools boats second and third sailed respectively by Freddy Wood with Ollie Jameson, and Robbie McDonald and Emma Wells. In the final two races of the day and of the regatta, the Norwich School's team of Pank and Campbell stamped their authority on the proceedings to win both races and therefore the Regatta. But it was a close run thing as Henry and Rupert Jameson only had to score a third or better to take overall honours. They were fourth in the final race and therefore despite equal points had to settle for second place overall. Dickinson and Gorringe of Ditcham Park School were third in the final reckonings.

The Fevas gave way to the Firefly and International 420 Regattas on Thursday and Friday for the older competitors, who were aged 14 and over. Thursday dawned grey and damp with fickle winds. However, the wind did hold sufficiently to allow experienced race officer Alastair Shaw to get six Firefly races competed. It soon became apparent that the team to beat was that from Sherborne School of Ben Childerley and Ollie Croft. They took first place in four of Thursday's six races. Winchester College's Miles Jones and Tiger Tellwright did their best with two seconds, a third and a fourth but had to settle for an end of day second place standing. Charles Elliott and Joseph Bradley from Portsmouth Grammar School showed some consistency in the tricky conditions to lie third. On Friday the weak North-Westerly enabled one race to be run before a sea breeze developed to cancel it out and with it all prospects of further racing. For the record Childerley and Croft won the race with Elliott and Bradley second. However, the result of this race did nothing to disturb the overnight positions.

The International 420 fleet were treated to some short course racing by race officer Mike Wigmore. A mini-series of races for random pairings of boats was cancelled on practice day Wednesday so Mike ran it on Thursday morning. At the end of eleven races, the clear winners were Toby Bennett and Charlie Spragg from Radley College. The official 420 regatta was held on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning which saw Bennett and Spragg pushed into second place overall by the all girl crew of Emily Turner and Trinity Kershaw from St Catherine's School who won five of the seven races.

So the week ended with awards presented, and friendships and promises to return next year made.

Long-term supporters of Itchenor Sailing Club, JDX Consulting and MPI Brokers sponsored this year's event.

Overall Results:

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