Setting Sail: Katie's accolade is perfect start to season

At Itchenor Sailing Club we are about to embark on our summer racing programme, writes Chris Blevins, Rear Commodore Sailing at Itchenor Sailing Club.

Monday, 3rd April 2017, 7:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:13 pm
Chris Blevins at Itchenor / Picture by Kate Shemilt

The summer season starts in April and lasts until the end of October, offering unparalleled class racing for all generations of sailor.

Our classic keelboat classes - the XODs, Sunbeams and Swallows - are all experiencing growth in the number of boats on the water and crews sailing them. To that end, we have put together a sailing schedule with something to suit all.

While the keelboats have been undergoing their winter re-fits, our dinghy classes have been active in the harbour.

The RS200s recently enjoyed their Winter Warmer series with competitive racing on each of the weekends and the International 14 fleet has also been seen taking advantage of the near deserted waters. 

On the subject of the 14s, I would like to congratulate Katie Nurton on being recognised as Yachts and Yachting’s Amateur Sailor of 2016.

Itchenor Sailing Club are committed to the development of our young sailors. We recently held winter training weekends for Mirror, Topper and International 420 classes helping to further the skills of our next generation of sailors.

In June, our ever-popular annual Schools Championships will be taking place. The event has already been signed up to by numerous schools from around the country and as always promises to be a highlight of the young summer sailing season.

We are proud that Itchenor has been chosen to host the centenary Varsity Sailing Match in July between teams from Oxford and Cambridge. The teams will use boats generously provided by our Swallow class for this event.

Many of our crews are also looking forward to our much-anticipated annual pilgrimage to Cowes where a number have trophies to defend.

Finally, we are again throwing open our doors at our Open Day which will be taking place on Sunday, May 7. This is the perfect opportunity to come and see first-hand what we are all about and we hope to see lots of new faces there. You can find out more by visiting


* Read Chris Blevins’ Setting Sail column here and in the Chichester Observer monthly throughout the peak sailing season


Dell Quay Sailing Club kicked off their 2017 racing season with the first two races of the Early Helm series.

Conditions were more challenging than forecast with the westerly wind blowing force four to five.

The first beat up to Copperas West took advantage of the shelter from trees on the western bank but the rest of the course sent the fleet towards the eastern shore where conditions were more testing.

The race officer decided to include Marina as a gybe mark which forced many racers to tack round first rather than attempt a potentially fatal gybe. Even so there were several capsizes at this mark, with Andrew Horne (Solo) ending up on the lee shore, unable to relaunch and hence forced to retire.

Mike Fitzgerald and Tim Dormer took first place in both races in their 2000. Second place in race one was taken by Dave Maltby (Solo) with Sue Manning (Laser 4.7) third. Maltby and Manning reversed their positions in race two.

For the Early Trophy races the following day the westerly wind was even stronger, which discouraged many sailors from taking part and was not considered safe for the junior races, which were cancelled.

Only four boats entered the handicap class races with two boats subsequently retiring.

James Pound (Laser) won the first race, with Roger Francis and Lizzie Kies (Graduate) second and Laurence Kies (Laser Pico) third. Pound retired during race two, leaving Francis/Kies to take first place and Laurence Kies second.

Only three boats entered the Solo class races, with Dave Swift deciding to retire during race one, leaving only Simon Verrall and Fred Hilgers to battle it out for first place in each race.

Hilgers put up a brave fight but was unable to catch Verral, who took line honours in both races.

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