Felpham's young sailors retain their prize

Cadets from Felpham Sailing Club are jubilant after successfully defending the team prize at a West Sussex schools contest at Arun Yacht Club.

In severe weather conditions, the Felpham youngsters triumphed to keep their hands on the silverware they won on home soil last year.

They won with a score of 14 points. Second were Pagham Yacht Club on 31 and third Crawley Mariners on 51.

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It was a fantastic result by the cadets and is testament to the effort put in by the whole team.

Felpham entered 24 boats, and a mix of experienced and novice sailors, some competing in a major event such as this for the first time.

The team comprised cadets who have been regularly attending Friday fun nights and racing on weekends with senior members.

Nine teams entered the event from across the county. And with more than 90 boats taking part, it provided quite a spectacle off West Beach, Littlehampton.

The cadets sailed out of the river to start the race and were towed in after finishing.

Saturday's weather was not kind for the cadets with winds on the limit of force four.

A small course was set and this caused as many problems as the strong gusting winds for the novice sailors. Saturday's results were declared void because of conditions.

Sunday began with lighter winds but these were forecast to build as the day progressed.

Two races were scheduled and the cadets sailed out to the course in preparation for there class starts.

All FSC cadets performed very well in the races with Toby Schofield, James Mapley and Martin Jones dominating the Topper fleet with first, second and third respectively in both races and overall.

Charlie Burnett, who's been sailing only this year, achieved 15th overall.

George Powell, also in a Topper, battled valiantly in both races.

The fast fleet saw top-ten finishes for Luke Mapley, sixth in his Laser Radial, and Ollie Lewis and Jack Cullen, ninth in their RS500. Mike Lowen finished a credible 24th.

The slow fleet saw great rivalry between last year's winner from FSC, Nicole Pearce, and FSC team-mates Aldert White, Callum Aldous, Abi Bentley and Kieren Strudwick, all sailing Picos.

The surprise came from Ryan Breach, also from FSC, who won both races in a Pico.

Kieren Strudwick in his first season finished fourth, with Nicole Pearce (6th), Abi Bentley (8th), Aldert White (9th) and Callum Aldous (11th) all doing well.

There were excellent finishes for the rest of FSC's Pico fleet with James Cullen and Jake Aldis Hobbs 12th, Scott Pearce 17th, Alice Gerwat and Amy Hastings, new to sailing, 18th and Lauren Harrison and Tom Anderson 24th.

The FSC cadets thanked Arun and the West Sussex association for organising the event and now look forward to defending the team prize next year in Chichester Harbour.