Autumn’s arrival doesn’t put off Chichester sailors

The 4000s in action at Chichester   Picture by the 4000 Class Association
The 4000s in action at Chichester Picture by the 4000 Class Association

THERE was a pleasant force three to four breeze under mostly clear skies to greet the 20 boats that turned out for the opening weekend of Chichester YC’s Autumn Series.

The fast/modern fleet were first away and although Andy Conway led the way on the water in his RS100, he was unable to save time on handicap over a phalanx of closely-packed 2000s led by newly-crowned 4000 class national champion Jason Kirk.

Meanwhile, in the classic/cedium fleet, Lucy Boreham returned to club racing, claiming victory over Tim Boon’s Laser Radial and Nick and Biddy Colborne’s GP14.

In the slow handicap, racing was an all-girl affair with Alice Snook in her Optimist Wonderland going head to head with Hannah Thompson in her Topper.

Thompson took line honours but the margin was not quite enough to hold off Snook on corrected time and she won by 40 seconds.

Race two for the slow handicap saw Thompson extend her on-the-water margin but frustratingly, only by enough to reduce the corrected-time deficit to 26 seconds from Snook, giving the Oppi driver a two-point series lead.

It was almost all change at the top of the classic/medium leaderboard with Nick and Biddy Colbourne’s GP14 taking the top spot over Ian Payne’s Laser and Mark Harper’s Solo, leaving Boreham to take the ‘wooden medal’ slot by 11 seconds on corrected time.

In the zoomy boats of the fast/modern fleet, Andy Conway again led the gaggle around the course and this time his on the water speed was good enough to claim second behind Jason and Sonia Kirk’s 2000 while Pete and Suzy Harrision had to settle for third.

Results: Race 1 - fast/modern - 1 Jason & Sonia Kirk (2000); 2 Pete & Suzy Harrison (2000); 3 Michael & Paula Oliff (2000). Classic/medium - 1 Lucy Boreham (Europe); 2 Tom Boon (Laser Radial); 3 Nick & Biddy Colbourne (GP14). Slow - 1 Alice Snook (Optimist); 2 Hannah Thompson (Topper). Race 2 - fast/modern - 1 Jason & Sonia Kirk (2000), 2 Andy Conway (RS100), 3 Pete & Susie Harrison (2000). Classic/medium - 1 Nick & Biddy Colbourne (GP14); 2 Ian Payne (Laser); 3 Mark Harper (Solo). Slow - 1 Alice Snook (Optimist); 2 Hannah Thompson (Topper).

The weather gods dished up sunshine and a stronger-than-expected northerly for the second weekend in the Autumn Series.

Three races were scheduled, the second of which was the club’s participation in the Bart’s Bash world record attempt.

Andy Palmer-Felgate set a straightforward triangle course and in the fast/modern fleet the results proved to be a 2000 fest with the class taking the first five places.

Meanwhile, the classic/medium fleet saw the Lasers top the pile with Richard Anderson, Ian Payne and Charlie Porter leading.

A total of 62 people sailed 46 boats ranging from Optimists to a foiler International Moth for the Bart’s Bash race. Conditions continued to keep competitors on their toes as they negotiated the crowded course.

The 2000s dominated the action as far as the club’s contribution to the record attempt goes with Jason and Sonia Kirk taking first, 50 seconds clear of Pete and Suzy Harrison with Charlie Porter’s Laser in third.

The final race of the day saw the fleets much depleted. The fast/modern fleet once again proved to be a 2000 benefit with Pete and Suzy Harrison taking the honours with an emphatic first over Jonathan Watkin and Paula Oliff with the Winthers third.

Meanwhile, the Laser monopoly at the top of the classic/medium fleet remained unbroken with Anderson, Payne and Porter repeating the result of the first race.

In the slow fleet, Sophie Kirk relegated Alice Snook to second though the Oppie sailor retains an eight-point advantage for the series.

See the Observer this week (Sep 25) for a picture special on local clubs who took part in Bart’s Bash


The fine weather provided excellent conditions for Dell Quay’s annual harbour race – a long-distance race testing competitors’ stamina, as well as their knowledge of the less familiar conditions off Hayling Island.

After 90 minutes of exhilarating sailing, the competitors struggled back through the strong running tide in the Itchenor Reach, testing their tacking abilities.

The RS 400s of Rob Corfield and Peter King enjoyed close racing and finished way ahead of the fleet with only 25 seconds between them – but on handicap they were far off the lead.

In the end, the dogged determination of Bill Dawber saw him take first place, with another Solo sailor, Gordon Barclay, coming second and Peter and Jane Matthews (2000) third.

Over the same weekend 20 young racers from DQSC took part in the WSSYSA regatta at Cobnor Activities Centre.

With 100 boats taking part competition was very tough but helped by the lovely conditions and the usual fantastic Dell Quay team spirit.

DQSC Instructors Henry Bettle (helm) and Alex Briggs (crew) won first prize in the fast fleet in the Fireball – a great result considering they had sailed the Fireball only once before together. Lizzie Kies also distinguished herself by winning the fastest laptime in a Pico. 

DQSC juniors came fourth overall in the teams competing on Sunday.

A large fleet of Solos turned out for the final race of the Longmore series with Richard Ede (Solo) getting the best start position off the line, enabling him to reach the first mark without changing tack.

Despite the length of the course and large number of racing marks the fleet stayed well together for most of the course, apart from Rob Corfield (RS400) who kept well in front until he and his crew suffered two capsizes.

Ede’s excellent start and consistent racing technique brought him in first on handicap, with Sue Manning (Laser 4.7) second and newcomer Chris Wylam (Solo) third.


Littlehampton-based Arun Youth Aqua Centre, a charity sailing and canoeing club, are celebrating the renewal of a major sponsorship deal with local online homeware store

The sponsorship will help towards the annual running costs of AYAC, who have made sailing and canoeing affordable to hundreds of West Sussex children and young adults for more than 30 years.

“Watersports are a great way to get young people active and to learn important life skills,” said Richard Goss of, a local success story itself, having built up a £3m turnover in just a few years as a one-stop online homeware store for everything from crockery to clocks. “We’re fully behind AYAC’s mission to make sailing and canoeing accessible for all and very happy to be able to offer sponsorship.”

AYAC manager Roger Elliman said: “We’re really grateful to have on board this year. As a dynamic young local company, they make a great role model for our members.”

AYAC have a flourishing membership and play an active role in community events, such as the Littlehampton Water Festival. On Sunday they joined sailors all over the world in the international fundraising initiative Bart’s Bash, raising money to encourage young people to sail in memory of Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson.