Fed Week is a sailing success - especially for Emsworth and Chichester

A busy Chichester Harbour during Fed Week  Picture by Liz Sagues
A busy Chichester Harbour during Fed Week Picture by Liz Sagues

Fed Week 2012 ended on a high note for sailors from the Emsworth Slipper and Chichester sailing clubs.

Excellent individual results apart, they finished first and second in the inter-club team contest with delighted cheers resounding through Hayling Island Sailing Club when their success was announced.

This year’s event – the principal annual regatta on Chichester Harbour and one of the largest in the UK – was a classic Fed Week, with reliable but rarely over-powering winds and plenty of sunshine.

It was, as one of the three race officers summed it up, ‘champagne sailing’. The organising team represent all the clubs forming the Chichester Harbour Federation.

While the majority of the 343 competing boats came from clubs within or adjacent to the harbour, there were visitors from as far afield as Dorset, Yorkshire and Wales.

As ever, spectators were treated to a display of dinghies and small keelboats ranging from classic designs such as Wayfarers and Flying Fifteens to the most extreme of modern racing machines, the Olympic-class 49er, other fast asymmetric skiffs and the impossibly quick-flying Moths, dancing ahead of everyone on their tiny foils.

Emsworth Slipper SC’s team success lay with good positions in both single-handed and double-handed dinghies. As the final race for the 25 Finns started, Peter McCoy (Slipper) faced a Ben Ainslie-style situation to keep ahead of John Tremlett (Mengeham Rythe/Itchenor). Finishing second, with Tremlett fifth, gave McCoy the class trophy and gold-printed prize plate.

Club-mate Jim Fifield could compete in only three races, but trouncing the other 25 Laser standard sailors each time.

Slipper’s ISO pairs, Andrew and Vicky Gould and Mike Lillywhite and Emma Pethybridge, took second and third places in the medium asymmetric fleet, with the Goulds equal on points with the overall winners, HISC 29er sailors Sam Yearsley and William Proud, whose final race victory broke the tie. Another good placing came from Paul and Caroline Fisk, fourth-placed RS200.

Chichester YC’s chances of team victory looked strong until the end of Friday’s racing, when Charlie Porter and Ian Payne, previously first and second in the Laser fleet, had to move down a position each due to Fifield’s skill.

In the largest fleet, the 43 Solos, CYC’s Ian Barnett won the first two races but was just pipped to first place overall by an inland-water sailor. Barnett tied with club-mate Mark Harper on best-three-races points, but took second on tie-break.

CYC junior Tom Booker was third Topper, but seniors Nick and Roger Elliman had a bad start to their week in the RS400 fleet, missing the first race through traffic delays. They had good results after that but competition was so strong they ended seventh – the first time for several years they haven’t carried away a Federation plate.

Emsworth SC’s Jon and Eve Townsend (Laser 2000) were convincing winners of the medium handicap class – even one of their discards was a first.

ESC members also took places two to four in the RS Feva class: Clarke Rutter and Matt Thornton headed Anya Green and Grace Summers and Ben Townsend and Edward Richardson. Clubmate Sam Tweedle took third in the Laser 4.7 fleet and Tom Tredray was fourth standard Laser.

Itchenor SC’s Harry and Prue Roome led home the RS200s, second-largest of the competing classes. But their success was in doubt until they crossed the line in Friday’s wet and gusty final race, when third place gave them a tie-break victory.

In the fast asymmetric handicap, clubmates Oli and Anna Woods (RS 800) won the only two races they sailed, but dropped right down in the overall placings Bosham SC’s best results came from Max Jones, fifth Laser standard, and Ben Davis heading the club’s four Finn competitors, in seventh.

The number of competitors from Dell Quay SC was down – the club perhaps the only one from the harbour having more people involved in running racing and providing safety cover than competing.

Best placed was Gordon Barclay, 11th in the Solos, one place in front of CYC rival Derek Jackman and well ahead of fellow DQSC members Malcolm Buchanan, Andy Gray and John Purdy, while Rob Corfield and Tom Dobbs finished every RS400 race for 17th place.

LIZ SAGUES