Conditions are key as Chichester and Dell Quay sailors race for honours

The final races of the First Breath Series at Chichester Yacht Club were held on one of the warmest April days recorded.

The high pressure brought little in the way of wind. While some sailors opted to finish their Easter eggs, a good number took to the water enthusiastic and optimistic as ever.

With a slightly-delayed start, the fast fleet got away on their beat with such a limited amount of wind that the boats were pretty close together at the windward mark.

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Yvette and David Thair in their RS500 tried to come into the mark on port and caused a bit of jam on the mark. This caused several other boats to alter course, or in some cases to stop.

Apologies and shouting over, the remainder of the race was rather slow. In the end Jason and Sonia Kirk (RS 400) had the best race, finishing first. Will King and Richard Kershaw (Merlin Rocket) were second and Andy Conway (Blaze) third. The second race was short with minimal wind and the RS400s took the first three places.

In the medium fleet, Nick and Biddy Colbourne put on a demonstration of light wind sailing in their GP14, finishing first with a good time. Mark Harper (Finn) was second and Roger Millett (Solo) third.

In the short final race, the Solos managed to keep going in the dying breeze, with Roger Millett first and Derek Jackman second.

In the slow fleet, it was even more tricky for the sailors to make their way over the tide. Charlie Elliot had a good day in his Optimist, the conditions obviously suiting him, and took first place in both races.

Jessica Carter in her Topper also did well, taking a third in race nine and a second in race ten.

Ross Watkins and Torben Winther got going in their Feva with a second and a third.

Series results: Fast fleet: 1 Jason & Sonia Kirk (RS400), 2 Roger & Andy Clare, 3 Peter & Suzy Harrison (Laser 2000). Medium fleet: 1 Mark Harper (Finn), 2 Derek Jackman (Solo), 3 Laurence Murray (Solo). Slow fleet: 1 Ben Thompson (Topper), 2 Tim Orton (Topaz), 3 Charlie Elliott, 4 Jessica Carter.


In contrast to the calm Easter, the spring bank holiday mini series brought increasingly-windy conditions, culminating in cancellation of racing on Monday as winds gusted to more than 30 knots.

Saturday’s first race saw a wind shift which turned a potentially long run into a broad reach and then a planing reach which suited the asymetric dinghies.

Bob Marshall and Mike Savage quickly built a huge lead in their RS400 with Anne and Jim Norfolk (Laser 2000) also taking advantage of the conditions to open up a gap with the rest of the fleet.

On the final lap, Marshall and Savage missed out a mark and went back to correct their mistake losing their position, while the Norfolks crossed the finishing line several minutes ahead.

They won on handicap from Bill Dawber in his Solo by 30 seconds. Fellow Solo Chris Ede was third with Graham and Lucy Dalton (Laser 2000) fourth.

A change of course for the second race saw Marshall and Savage first home but the Solos of Dawber and Ede were well ahead on handicap, with Chris Wood (Streaker) third and the Daltons again fourth.

Sunday brought even more wind and attracted those who revel in those conditions. Both races finished with Dawber in first place, followed by Gordon Barclay and then Malcolm Buchanan as the Solos beat everything else on the water.

Final positions in the mini series saw Bill Dawber (Solo) first, Chris Ede (Solo) second, Gordon Barclay (Solo) third and Malcolm Buchanan (Solo) fourth.