West Wittering Sailing Club have been awarded £10,000 from Sport England, funded by the National Lottery, to purchase three RS Feva dinghies.
The boats will be available as club training boats, for training sessions and for members to borrow for racing at WWSC and other harbour clubs to appeal to members aged 13 to 18.
Participation by teenage members of the club was declining, despite the fact more than 60 younger children participate in summer events in a large fleet of Toppers and Lasers, the result of focussed efforts to develop a junior sailing programme over the past nine years.
Before the arrival of the new Fevas, WWSC had been unable to offer teenagers the opportunity to move up into bigger, more exciting two-person boats.
Anna Hardy of WWSC said: “We spoke to the RYA regional development officer who met us on site and discussed options for our future. The RYA really encouraged us and guided us through the process of applying for a grant.
“Retaining teenagers in any sport is always a challenge and we really see this in our club with a huge divide between the Junior Topper section and main club racing.
“We hope these boats will help to bridge that gap and help us to keep our teenagers on the water, having fun, learning new skills and competing,”
As this is the first time the club have owned training boats, it also creates a wonderful opportunity for WWSC to encourage children from the local school to visit the club and ‘have a go’.
“We plan to offer an open day later in the year and possibly work with West Wittering Primary School to create opportunities for young local children to experience sailing,” said Hardy. “These club-owned RS Fevas will make this possible for the first time.”
This is an exciting time for WWSC. Although a small local club limited by tidal waters and working within the fragile natural environment off East Head, they are looking to the future with the help of organisations such as Sport England and the RYA.
With light winds forecast and even those hardly evident at Dell Quay, it was going to be a challenge to even reach the Longmore racing mark while beating into the flood tide.
So for the second race of the DQSC Longmore series, race officer Simon Bell chose a short postponement and timed the start just as the wind filled in nicely, but it was not to last.
Rounding the Crouchers mark, the wind gradually died away as the fleet split. Solo sailors Mark Harper, Gordon Barclay and several others decided their local knowledge would help by working the west shore and briefly took the lead.
On the east shore Peter King and Jamie Prescott (RS 400), leading the rest of the fleet, tried hoisting their spinnaker to reach across to the west shore, at which point the wind died altogether before a very variable wind came gently back.
Approaching the Longmore racing mark Roger Puttock (Solo) had moved into the lead and was crossing tacks with King. Meanwhile the other RS 400 of Rob Corfield and Jon Lines had moved up into third place.
King moved away from the fleet to pull out a good lead until the last leg back up to the Quay. At this point the sea breeze started to form, bringing the rest of the dinghies up the harbour.
Harper had moved ahead of the fleet, finishing five minutes behind King but a clear winner on handicap with Puttock second and Simon Verrall (Solo) third. Harper leads the series with Verrall second and Sue Manning (Laser 4.7) third.
Race three of the series will take place on Sunday, May 7, from 9.45am.
Itchenor Sailing Club are delighted to announce it will be hosting its open day supported by Harwoods Group this Sunday, May 7.
The club will open their doors to all for sailing taster sessions as part of the annual initiative.
The free event is an opportunity to learn more about the different sailing classes available, training courses and membership benefits as well as the chance to experience being out on the water at Chichester Harbour.
The club’s expert sailors will offer taster sessions in a variety of keelboats including Solent Sunbeams, National Swallows and X One Designs. Visitors will be able to go afloat in one of the many spectator boats and experience the thrill of racing up-close.
Charles Hyatt, commodore at Itchenor Sailing Club, said: “We are excited to welcome visitors to our club again this year and give them the opportunity to discover their local sailing venue and meet other like-minded people. Our partnership with Harwoods Group is a great example of how we want to reach out and get involved with the local community.”
Local Land Rover dealership Harwoods Group are sponsoring the open day and one of the club’s RIBs and inflatable racing marks for the 2017 season.
Alastair Hanna of Harwoods said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Itchenor Sailing Club during its racing season this year. Our shared principles of quality and expertise form the base of our partnership with the renowned racing club and so it is with great excitement that we support this key event in the Club’s calendar.”
Guests can also learn about the club’s on-shore facilities. The event starts at 9.30am.
All those interested in a sailing taster session are required to register before the day by calling the office on 01243 512400 or completing a form at www.itchenorsc.co.uk
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