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Portishead Channel Chop Pursuit

by Colin Jarvis 15 Feb 2018 07:45 GMT 10 February 2018

The Channel Chop was held for the very first time this year. 24 dinghies were faced with a grey wet day and a blustery SSW wind, a two-hour pursuit race was run with two laps of the bay before venturing out across the tide and shipping lane to Newcome with the shipping obstacles. The first boats away were the Toppers of Dru Townsend and Flo Hawker.

With 2 inshore laps complete, the fleet headed offshore, into the mist towards Newcome. Dru held the lead with Ben Flower in a Laser in second, and John Harvey sailing his Aero 7 in third. Dru led the race for 50 minutes until caught by Ben. As they closed the end of lap 3 the leading Fireball of Chris and John Gill was closing the leaders down.

Ben held the lead for a while, but with the wind as strong gusting 25kn offshore, it was inevitable that the trapeze boats would come through to dominate. At the end, local sailors, the Gills in their Fireball were well out in the lead, but it was a photo finish for 2nd place. Anthony and James Willcocks in a Fireball just pipped Terry Curtis and Peter Grieg in their Osprey.

Sam and Leanne Thompson sailed very well to come 4th and were first non-trapeze boat in their Merlin Rocket, with single handers Ben Flower, and Simon Hawkes in his Phantom taking 5th and 6th.

Unfortunately, the SSW wind meant this year's "Channel Chop" failed to make a true appearance, despite some exciting offshore legs. A great day of sailing was had by all and everyone was glad to get ashore to warm up!

Once back in the clubhouse all were able to review their race replay via the GPS tracking system on the big screen and, this is now available online through It was clear that many locals stayed inshore to pick up a big tidal eddy on the beat.

Overall Results:

1st Chris and Jon Gill, Fireball 15083 (Portishead Y&SC)
2nd Anthony and James Willcocks, Fireball 14928 (Portishead Y&SC)
3rd Terry Curtis and Peter Greig, Osprey 1281 (Castle Cove SC)
4th Sam & Leanne Thompson, Merlin Rocket 3711 (Royal Naval SA)

1st Junior Jonathan Griffiths crewing father Trevor in RS Vision 261 (Roadford Lake SC)

Full results and photos are available on

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