Setting Sail: Storms, spring racing and signs of summer

The RS200 spring championships at Itchenor / Picture by Mary Pudney
The RS200 spring championships at Itchenor / Picture by Mary Pudney

Our racing programme is up and running at Itchenor with all of our classes now putting out sizable fleets since the first tentative outings on the weekend before Easter, writes Chris Blevins, rear-commodore sailing at Itchenor Sailing Club.

Good Friday provided champagne conditions to reward the growing fleets – then Storm Katie visited us. This put paid to the rest of the Easter programme.

Fortunately, the club suffered little damage other than a few dinghies that took an involuntary trip around the staging.

We celebrated the start of the season with a full programme of class racing and a party. With some 80 boats racing and a host of supporting craft, we made our target to get 100 boats on the water. The party, complete with a live band, was enjoyed by nearly 200 members.

We were proud to host the RS200 Spring Championships last weekend. The success of our sailors on the RS200 circuit and Itchenor’s reputation for high quality racing and race management gave us this opportunity. A total of 30 boats entered and enjoyed some exciting, close racing.

A key date in our diary is Sunday, May 22, when we will be throwing open our doors to welcome potential new members to our open day.

The success of our sailors on the RS200 circuit and Itchenor’s reputation for high quality racing and race management gave us this opportunity.

Chris Blevins

Visitors will be guided around our clubhouse, where they will see our recently-upgraded accommodation in addition to sampling the delights of the bar and buttery.

They will also be able to discuss the merits of each class of boat we sail at Itchenor with class representatives.

On-the-water activity will be a key element of the day. There is a programme of racing in the morning for visitors to observe but, more importantly, opportunities to go afloat in our wide range of boats throughout the day.

Not only is our weekend racing up and running, but Wednesday and Thursday evening racing is also providing members and guests a chance to enjoy Chichester Harbour when it is often at its most beautiful.

See www.itchenorsc.co.uk or call 01243 512400.

OTHER SAILING NEWS...

PUSH THE BOAT OUT

Don’t miss the chance to try sailing in this Olympic year when RYA Push the Out returns from May 14 to 22.

The nationwide ‘have-a-go’ campaign gives all-comers the chance to get on the water for free or low cost.

Among more than 300 clubs and centres taking part across the UK are ten in Sussex including Arun Youth Aqua Centre, Arun Yacht Club, Felpham Sailing Club, Bognor Regis Yacht Club and Itchenor Sailing Club.

You can find your nearest local event here http://www.rya.org.uk/go/ptbo along with the activities, dates, times, locations and what you need to take.

All offer watersport taster sessions for those discovering the sport for the first time or those returning to the sport. Most of the events are free – a few have a minimal charge.

Most of the venues will provide refreshments.

More than 65,000 people have discovered the sport through Push the Boat Out since its launch in 2012. Nationally, 2015 Push the Boat Out saw almost 28,500 newcomers attend events at almost 350 locations across the UK.

With the British sailing team sailors among the world’s best, sailing always enjoys a boost in Olympic years and Push the Boat Out is a great way to discover a new outdoor sport to enjoy this summer.

This year, more than 300 venues have signed up.

Duncan Truswell, RYA sport development manager, said: “Over the past four years Push the Boat Out has enabled thousands of people who may never have even considered giving sailing a go the chance to try the sport. Many of these have since become club members and volunteers and are inspiring others to follow their lead and try the sport.

“Clubs and centres continue to get better and better at providing a warm welcome, and we are really excited for this year’s Push the Boat Out, which I’m sure will prove even more popular. 2016 is gearing up to be the perfect year to get into sailing.”

Want to know how you can Push the Boat Out in May? Visit www.rya.org.uk/go/ptbo

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