Sussex sailors push the boat out to herald the Olympics

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Chichester Yacht Club were one of many participating clubs in the RYA Push the Boat Out Day to celebrate the arrival of the Olympics.

The RYA aimed to get as many boats out on the water as possible in support of the British sailing team as part of the Sail for Gold campaign.

Race officers for the day Meryl Deane and Ian Payne organised a mini-Olympics and an on-and-off-the-water treasure hunt all in Olympic-themed fancy dress.

The dinghies were supported by a number of yachts sporting flags.

Racing was run from John and Deidre Jeavons’ yacht Ragamuffin.

Sailors got into the Olympic sprit and dressed to represent many sports including hockey, tennis and swimming.

The mini-Olympics involved dinghies and kayaks. Sailing was organised into a heptathlon, with seven short fun races representing a number of aspects of the Games.

These included a 100m sprint (fast sailing), water polo (with balloons), sailing (but backwards), rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised sailing, shooting and a relay.

The gymnastics involved sailors doing exercises while sailing and other gymnastic feats.

Synchronised sailing had one team demonstrating an arrowhead formation and other teams mainly reduced the judges to fits of laughter as they tried to co-ordinate.

Shooting with water pistols with a target on Ragamuffin was especially popular.

The treasure hunt involved finding plastic ducks which had attached themselves to some of the harbour marks.

In addition CYC had a great turn out for adult coaching on the same day, with most boats flying Union flags.

Notable feats by participants were rewarded with RYA medals.

Backwards sailing was won by Charles Porter, rhythmic gymnastics’ special performance award went to Nick and Sally Parfitt.

Shooting winners were Matt Olliff and Hamish Scott. Synchronised sailing/kayaking winners were Hannah Thompson, Charlotte Reading, Dave Thompson and Nick Attree. The fancy dress was won by Hannah Thompson and Charlotte Reading who dressed themselves and their boats with a hockey theme.

The RYA videoed the day and footage is on the RYA website.

Thanks are due to Jean and Peter Buttery and David and Mary Hargroves, who dressed yachts and joined in.

Bognor Yacht Club also joined in the Push the Boat Out fun.

Unfavourable tides allowed time for one race in the Chichester YC summer series.

Race officer Ian Lissamore set a straightforward course in Chichester Basin. In the fast fleet Ian Payne (Laser) got a near-perfect start but then got headed into a hole and had to watch while all the Solos overtook him.

Luke South in his Laser and Derek Jackman and Peter Hughes in Solos had a close race with Chris Hodge and Louise Varley in their Laser 2000.

South retired on lap three. Jackman had a close race on the last lap with Hodge and Varley, who finished just ahead. Jackman had a well deserved win on handicap. Hughes was second, Ras Turner third. In the slow fleet Hannah Thompson in a Topper had a very good race enjoying the tricky light breeze, getting well away from the rest of the fleet.

She finished well ahead in first with Charlotte Reading (Topper) second and Charlie South third in his Optimist.


The return of the regular Thursday ‘women on water’ and the one-off RYA ‘push the boat out’ sailing fun day day made it an action-packed week.

Thursday’s women on water was a breezy and wet occasion – but from the waves and splash rather than rain. There were about ten visitors from local group Blakes Belles, who joined the regular ladies. Five Picos were rigged together with a Topper. 

Participants came back with big grins on their faces and vowing to come back again this week.

Felpham’s ladies have grown in confidence and now take the Picos out by themselves. 

On Saturday summer arrived and 16 boats dressed up with flags, bunting, balloons and wigs. The Push the Boat Out event was led by the RYA, who had supplied us with Sail for Gold flags and balloons. 

Two founder members of Felpham SC, Angela Pullinger and Ann Bennett, judged the best dressed boat which was won by Jess Breach and Abi Bentley.

A new safety boat specially purchased to support the club’s training initiatives was named in a competition, won by Amanda Anderson with her entry of Diamond.

A sail past the club close inshore was followed by fun games on the water. The afternoon was completed with a summer barbecue.

Each year the three Bognor-area clubs compete for the Tythe Barn trophy, each club taking it in turn to host the event. This year Pagham Yacht Club hosted Felpham and Bognor in an excellent sea breeze.

Twenty-one sailors from Felpham took part, backed by a shoreside supporting team and all had a great day’s racing.