Itchenor Sailing Club’s junior fortnight has been a major success.
With 220 individual sailors between the ages of eight and 18 years, this is one of the largest local sailing events for young people.
While the focus is on racing, there are plenty of opportunities for coaching, as well as the all important off-the-water social events.
The boats raced are Mirror, Topper, International 420 and Laser with fleets organised by experience and ability.
Most participants came from local clubs around Chichester Harbour to join the Itchenor members but this year visiting crews have also come from California and the British Virgin Islands. An ever-popular event, Junior Fortnight enables young people to learn new skills and make new friends.
Ian Walker, Olympic medalist and recent winner of the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race, is a member of the club and has been present throughout the two weeks as his daughters take part in the popular event.
Dell Quay’s annual Up the Creeks race had the honour of a visit this year from honorary life member Bob Gordon, who presented the club with the Horace Gordon Trophy in memory of his father.
This prize is awarded each year to the winner of a race which takes in as many Chichester Harbour creeks as possible.
Horace used to sail the harbour race single-handed accompanied by his pet monkey. Bob had an interesting maritime career, including teaching Chay Blyth to sail and helping Robin Knox-Johnston prepare for his first circumnavigation.
This year the course was sailed from Dell Quay and took in the Bosham and Thorney channels, before returning to base after about 20 miles and three to three-and-a-half hours on the water.
Initially the weather was sunny with a decent force three wind and reasonably smooth water. However conditions deteriorated throughout the race, gusting to force five, with wind over tide and metre high waves in the main harbour.
The fleet became closely packed at the first mark in the Fishbourne Channel but it became a much more tactical race down the harbour to Bosham Quay and Thorney Channel in worsening wind and wave conditions.
The return leg was even more demanding with sea spray, wind over tide and swell forcing some of the fleet to retire due to tiredness and capsizing.
The remainder of the fleet returned to Dell Quay, with the single-handers making maximum use of the calmer waters and improving wind conditions.
First place and the Horace Gordon trophy was taken by Chris Wood in his Streaker, followed by Nikki Buchanan (Solo) and Andrew Buchanan (Finn) third.
The next day, the wind provided a challenging day of racing for the Dell Quay juniors. These were the last two races in the junior series and the race coach commented on the fantastic progress these juniors have made over the series.
As the afternoon went on, the wind increased in strength and the juniors struggled with some of the bigger gusts. However despite some capsizes from the lighter juniors they managed brilliant results overall.
Results: Jt 1 Lizzie Kies and Lou Dicker/Manon; 3 Fleur Moranne; 4 Phoebe Pontet; 5 Alice Atkins; 6 Adam Hall.
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