Setting Sail: Itchenor action steps up a gear

ISC's Rear Commodore Sailing, Mark Struckett  Picture by Louise Adams C130696-3
ISC's Rear Commodore Sailing, Mark Struckett Picture by Louise Adams C130696-3

After April’s major dinghy events, May initially saw a keelboat focus at Itchenor Sailing Club, writes the club’s rear-commodore sailing Mark Struckett.

Both the Swallows and XODs have seen great turnouts, mainly through in-harbour racing such as the Swallows’ Norman Moore Trophy but also with the XODs holding the first race of the season to the Isle of Wight.

The standout keelboat event was the Sunbeam invitational regatta, brilliantly organised by Roger Wickens. This saw 22 of their boats helmed by top sailors from around the UK, with the ISC Sunbeams as crew.

The event had a very close finish, where Itchenor’s current International 14 world champion Archie Massey won the race in a tie-break with visiting Olympic gold medalist Mike MacIntyre.

Then half-term arrived and the juniors were back in force. Their week ended with the revision regatta for International 420s, Toppers and Mirrors. The biggest of these fleets was also the youngest - we saw some 24 Mirrors cope remarkably well with some difficult wind shifts and tides showing the benefit of their early season race training.

The following weekend we held our RS200 open meeting. This has been our fastest-growing fleet over the past three years with 44 entries and very close racing in bright sunshine and light winds.

Short courses enabled four races a day with some very close battles. Results were spread widely throughout, with Itchenor’s George Yeoman and Sophie Ormsby recovering very well from mid-fleet results in the first two races to become the only boat to win two races and secure a win overall over Matt Mee and Emma Harris from Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey.

Earlier this month, we invited Bembridge’s keelboats across from the Isle of Wight, organised by David Priscott. They brought their Redwings and BODs and we swopped crews around with our Swallows, Sunbeams and XODs for some enjoyable racing followed by a social.

This was followed on the Sunday by our annual team race against the Oxford and Cambridge Sailing Society. After six races for the Swallow team and seven for the RS200s, I regret to say the Society deservedly won both fleets!

The longer days have also seen our midweek evening sailing buzzing with both informal keelboat racing and junior training, while our new ladies’ sailing on Wednesday mornings is growing well.

Looking forward, the programme only gets busier for all ten classes at ISC over the next three months. Can’t wait!

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