Olympic sailing heroes help Itchenor celebrate 2012 Games
Itchenor Sailing Club has a proud history of producing sailing Olympians. Club members have won medals on six occasions and represented their country at a further eight Olympic Games.
On Saturday Itchenor celebrated the London Games with a series of Olympic-style races and a final sail-past up Chichester Harbour. The sail-past was led off by the Mirrors – Itchenor now has the county’s largest Mirror fleet and is proud to be hosting the national championships in August.
The Mirrors were followed by representatives of the various classes the club support, ending with a fleet of some 30 Swallows. The Swallow class was created for the 1948 London Games at which the gold medal winners were Itchenor stalwarts Steward Morris and David Bond.
Club members Iain MacDonald-Smith, gold medallist at the Mexico Games in 1968, and Ian Walker, double silver medallist at Atlanta and Sydney in 1996 and 2000, were on hand at the club following the on-water activities to meet young aspiring sailors, pass on words of advice and present prizes. They also cut a special Olympic cake.
Itchenor’s first success in the Olympics was when Peter Scott, the naturalist and son of the Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott, won the bronze medal at the Berlin Games in 1936 in the single-handed class. Morris and Bond won gold at London in 1948, followed by Charles Currey in the Finn class at the next games in Helsinki winning the silver behind the great Danish sailor Paul Elvstrom.
Then came MacDonald Smith’s gold crewing Rodney Pattisson in the Flying Dutchman, and most recently Walker and John Merricks winning silver in the 470 class at Atlanta and, after John’s untimely death, Walker took silver in the Star class at Sydney.
As the downpours and gales gave way to balmy summer, Chichester YC held their annual Laser 2000 open meeting.
The winners from 2011 – Team Harrison – believed it was going to be tough to make it into the top half of a stellar line-up.
There were four previous winners among the fleet.
With a lightish southerly wind, strong tide, big shifts and significant gusts, good starting was always going to be key and race one provided a barometer for the day’s overall results.
John and Pauline Cox, stand-in race officers, should have been competing at the front of the fleet but did a sterling job setting true lines and quick turnarounds.
Even when the tide turned, there was not a single general recall all day.
After three races – fabulous if you got it right but tricky and frustrating when you got it wrong – the fleet returned for the traditional CYC race tea.
In the final analysis, Mark and Nicola Green (CYC), who hired the club-owned 2000, won the all-important Endeavour Trophy for most effort expended.
James Ponsord and father-in-law Rick Page (CYC) managed a creditable 11th. A fantastic turnout from harbour clubs was led by ten from CYC with visitors from HISC, Bosham and Dell Quay.
In race two Anne and Jim Norfolk (DQSC) provided the big breakaway of the day.
The rest of the top of the fleet was made up of a stellar array of 2000 fleet rock stars, with CYC fleet captain Peter Harrison and Susie Harrison pleased to scrape sixth overall after a private battle with Matt and Clare Sargent (Thorney Island, ASA) in fifth. Dell Quay’s Bill Dawber and Lucy Dalton were a solid fourth.
Regular visitors Miles and Anderley Wade were consistent as ever in third, with Rob and Gemma Burridge second.
Never leading off the line, but picking their way to three race wins with a fabulous show of consistent shift-spotting were the ever-cheerful Graham Sexton and Christina Harborne from Thorpe Bay.
They were worthy winners of The Idun Trophy.
Bognor Yacht Club joined clubs all over the country to celebrate Push The Boat Out Day by getting as many craft on the water as possible in support of the GB Olympic team.
Experienced sailors and young cadets were out sailing catamarans and dinghies and the safety boat gave rides throughout the day.
Ros Brocklehurst and her sister Pat McNab were going past the club when they saw the activity on the water.
Ros has mobility problems and suffers from a life-limiting illness but she had always wanted to have a ride in a powerboat so they called into the club to see if her dream could come true.
With the help of her sister and members of the club they got Ros to the shore and into the powerboat.
Powerboat instructor John Parsons was at the helm and took Ros and Pat for a fast ride along the coast and back.
They both immensely enjoyed it and Ros said it would stay in her memory forever as one of the most exciting and enjoyable things she had done since becoming ill.
Results are now in for the Tythe Barn Trophy meeting mentioned in last week’s report.
Pagham Yacht Club were hosts in glorious sunshine and with an excellent sea breeze, as reported.
Twenty-one sailors from Felpham made their way along the coast with a shoreside supporting team.
The race got under way with practically the entire fleet making a great start and filling the whole of the long starting line.
It was an exciting day’s sailing with many thanks to Pagham YC for organising such glorious weather and a successful event.
Calculating the results for such a mixed fleet is not easy and Pagham are to be thanked for completing this task.
Results: 1 Guy Mayger & crew, RS200, Felpham SC;
2 Peter Jones, Halo, Felpham SC; 3 Ross Fisher, Blaze, Felpham SC; 14th B Hickman, Laser Radial, 1st
Pagham SC; 17th M White, Dart18, 1st Bognor
Felpham SC look forward to hosting the other two clubs in Felpham next summer.