Setting Sail: Itchenor focus to turn to Olympics
Late July and August see a change of scenery at Itchenor Sailing Club, writes the club's director of marketing David Priscott.
Many of the keel boats are away at Solent regattas - principally Cowes Week - and our younger sailors take over with Junior Fortnight which starts next Monday.
This year we will also be keeping close watch on the sailing at the Rio Olympics where we have two club members competing.
Some 30 of our XODs, Sunbeams and Swallows competed in Classics Week at Cowes last week.
In a regatta marked by very tricky conditions, the XODs had mixed results in a 50-strong fleet, although most achieved at least one top-ten position during the series.
Roger Wicken’s Danny won the Sunbeams (but only just), scoring equal points with Oliver Gilchrist in Argosy and Gwaihir, manned by Mike Wigmore and our commodore Charles Hyatt, took top place in the Swallows.
The next challenge for these classes is Cowes Week. Itchenor XODs have dominated their class for the past six years but expect to be faced with strong competition this year.
Junior Fortnight has been a fixture on the Itchenor calendar since the end of the 1940s. More than 200 eight to 18-year-olds are due to be sailing and partying hard at this year’s event.
Competition will be in Mirrors, Toppers and 420s. Many of the crews have been preparing over the past two weeks in training sessions run by the club.
Finally, I must send the club’s best wishes to Sophie Ainsworth who, with Charlotte Dobson, are the GB Olympic representatives in the 49erFX class in Rio; and to Ben Saxton in the Nacra 17 multihull class with his crew Nicola Groves.
The 49erFX and Nacra 17 are new classes to Olympic sailing. Good luck Sophie and Ben – and to all GB Olympic competitors!
Read Setting Sail monthly in the Observer and on this website
The annual Dell Quay crews, beginners and all-the-rest race started in a force-five south westerly, which made for some fast and exciting reaches.
Race officer Sarah Eggleton set a figure-of-eight course taking in Crouchers, Copperas West and Copperas East racing marks.
This handicap race is designed to have separate starts for sailors new to racing, experienced sailors and helms that normally race as crew.
Because of a lack of crews racing, only starts for beginners and the rest were put in place. The crews race was won by Richard Crabb sailing a Comet, with Mike Hindmarsh taking second in an RS Feva.
The all-the-rest race was dominated by 6 Solos with a Laser 4.7 the only other boat, making this almost a Solo-class race. However, despite stiff competition from the Solos, Sue Manning managed to come first both on the water and on handicap, in the slower boat. Second place went to John Purdy; third to David Swift.
The following day, conditions were even more challenging for races six to ten of the short-race series with similar wind speeds and directions but far more gusty than the day before.
Race officer Roy Dyton set a short course between Copperas West, Crouchers and Quay racing marks.
The earlier races produced multiple capsizes, forcing several participants to retire early. In the final race all but three boats remained to complete the series.
During the first race the Copperas West racing mark broke free of its mooring, forcing the race officer to set up a temporary mark to replace it.
Bill Dawber (Solo) won race six, but then retired, leaving Chris Wood (Streaker) second and David Maltby (Solo) third. David Maltby then went on to win all the remaining races with Mike Shaw (Solo) and Peter King (RS400) coming second and third in three races.
Overall series winner and recipient of the Carriage Clock Trophy was Chris Wood, with Mike Shaw second and David Maltby third.
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