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CoastWaterSports 2014

Internatonal 14 Gallon Trophy Race at Itchenor Sailing Club

by George Yeoman 21 Jun 17:10 BST 17 June 2023

The Gallon is a historic race around Chichester Harbour for the International 14s. With an expected run time of 2-3 hours, it is the must win event outside of the Prince of Wales Cup, also being held at Itchenor SC this year.

The fleet arrived at Itchenor to a warm but calm harbour, and were kept ashore for a short period whilst the RC waited for the breeze to fill in. Eventually the race course was set and the fleet set up for a start off East Head beach.

The pin biased line led to a Sail GP style fetch sprint to the first mark for most of the fleet, with reigning World and European Champions Archie Massey & Harvey Hilliary winning the pin, driving low and fast over the fleet, to lead around Dunes followed by their long term rivals Glen Truswell & Ed Fitzgerald, George & Jack Yeoman and Douglas Pattison & Mark Tait in quick succession. The first long down wind took the fleet all the way to Emsworth, with the channel getting thinner and thinner the fleet had to keep their wits about them, with George & Jack being the first of many to run aground and dropping back.

Archie & Harvey stretched out downwind but it was Glen & Ed who settled quicker in to the next upwind and took the lead part way up the beat to Freddie Brooks under Hayling Island. Coming in to the windward mark Glen & Ed approached from the left, but Archie & Harvey managed to pick up a right handed to regain the lead and extend away down the next run as the fleet headed back towards Emsworth.

Weed played havoc with the fleet with a tough game of risk v reward from clearing weed and trying not to run aground in the emptying harbour put boat-handling to the test. Yet the positions remained largely unchanged at the fleet rounded Freddie Brooks again and then reached across the harbour heading back to the Gallon line finish via Park.

However, the race was far from done as the sea breeze died and the easterly returned leaving a no wind zone between the breezes, with the fleet fighting against a fierce ebb tide.

At Park the top 3 boats condensed, with Douglas & Mark pulling themselves into the fight for the lead and taking it at one point before opting to head for the Itchenor shore and the promise of a band of breeze with Glen & Ed, whilst Archie & Harvey drove low to the Bosham shore. Behind a group of Martin Jones & Harry Kennedy, Andy Fitzgerald & Josh Boniface and Mark Upton-Brown & Ed Dyer closed up to George & Jack and taking their momentum to split around them. Andy & Josh undercut George & Jack, and these two followed Archie & Harvey whilst the rest of the fleet headed to the Itchenor shore.

Here followed a game of chicken, with initially the breeze filling in on the upwind Itchenor shore. At one pint, the boats, now led by Douglas & Mark were able to hoist the kite and looked like they could simply reach down to the Gallon Finish post... but once again the wind shut off and the moment was lost!

Archie & Harvey led the charge on the Bosham shore, short tacking but in zephyrs of breeze, to finish well clear of the fleet. Andy & Josh picked up the breeze next and positioned themselves perfectly to hold off George & Jack to take second, a breathtaking comeback from second-last at one point, skilfully linking the puffs together full advantage of Andy's experience and carefully dodging the soft spots clearly highlighted by the fleet ahead.

An impressive performance from Archie & Harvey who continue to stamp their authority on the fleet ahead of POW, the National Championships, at Itchenor on 15-21 July.

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