Chichester and Dell Quay sailors race back on the water

The Chichester Yacht Club dinghies were finally released from the lockdown over the Easter weekend - and there was action at Dell Quay too.

Racing at Dell Quay / Picture: Peter Binning
Racing at Dell Quay / Picture: Peter Binning

The CYC winter series, which normally attracts racers from across the south of England, had to be cancelled, so the Chichester sailors were more than ready for the first club race of the year.

The lessons from running racing last year meant the club were prepared for the Covid restrictions, with online registration, WhatsApp course briefings and safety boat cleaning regimes.

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With the sun out and a chilly breeze the competitors had to quickly change in the car park.

Graham Dalton at Dell Quay / Picture: Peter Binning

Good Friday brought the First Breath Series races one and two. Andy and Liz Palmer-Felgate kindly volunteered to be race officers.

Nineteen boats registered for the races.

In the Fast Fleet Chris Grosscurth and Emma York finished at the top of the table with a win and a second place, sailing their beautifully restored Merlin Rocket. Second place went to Mike and Paula Olliff with a third and a first in their 2000.

A very healthy Medium fleet of ten boats was led by Lucy Boreham, who topped the table based on two second places. Charlie Porter was placed second with a win and a fourth.

Easter racing at Chi Yacht Club

The Slow fleet table was topped by Ethan Sparkes in his Topper, with Thomas Night showing determination to complete two races, earning his second place on the table.

Lottie Cheeseman in her Laser 4.7 did well in the first race but retired from the second race. Hilary and Lottie Sparkes sailing together in a Pico finished in fourth place.

On Easter Saturday, the club ran a one-off race series, ‘the Easter Egg Challenge’, with two races and the promise of Easter eggs to the winners, and 15 boats signed up for the event.

In the Fast fleet, the Hodge family were out in force, with Chris and Louise taking the win with a second and first place and Jess Hodge sailing with Hannah Thompson finishing further down the table.

Bill Grose and Sally Cantello finished second, sailing their Covid project Scorpion.

The medium fleet was won by Lucy Boreham, completing a very successful two days. She was followed by Ian Payne in second place.

In the Slow fleet, Ethan Sparkes also completed the double, with a clean sweep win in his Topper. Lottie Cheeseman finished second.

With a successful weekend of sailing under their belts, the club are looking forward to hosting their first open meeting of 2021, the RS400 Open, this Saturday.


Dell Quay SC launched their 2021 Covid-safe racing season with an exciting Easter mini-series of six races run in gusty conditions that challenged 30 competitors rusty after months off the water.

Largest entry, and closest racing, came from the Solos, where first places were shared between three racers.

Mark Harper, the overall winner, led the fleet home in all three of the Saturday races, one seeing the tightest of finishes with Roger Puttock.

The two were neck and neck as they approached the turning mark before the short beat to the finish, but Puttock’s gybe went wrong and Harper crossed the line comfortably ahead.

Puttock’s two second places behind Harper, coupled with two firsts on Good Friday, made him runner-up overall.

Third was Simon Verrall, with a consistent run of second and third positions, and fourth John Purdy.

Winner of the Solos’ first race was Bill Dawber, and Graham Dalton overcame a disastrously late start in race four to finish third. Dalton also featured in the weekend’s one dead-heat, with Nicki Buchanan.

The club’s rapidly growing new Firefly class saw brave determination from very young crews and there was good racing particularly between Mike Tait with daughter Beatrice – competing for the first time at Dell Quay – and class captain Shaun Pollard with daughter Zara.

The Taits triumphed, winning three races and the first prizes, with the Pollards second overall.

In the handicap class Sue Manning sailed her 4.7 impressively, often remarkably close on the water to the Finn of Andrew Buchanan, to win all five races she competed in by comfortable margins and take the series with minimum points.

Buchanan’s consistency gave him second place, ahead of Charlotte Binning, crewed by father Peter in the family 2000. The north-easterly wind allowed courses to be set both days from the quay northwards into the open water towards Fishbourne, providing great racing while safely within patrol boat coverage. But most who capsized recovered without assistance.

Easter Sunday, with a strong south-westerly wind, saw the first race in the club’s Evening series, and another, though narrower, victory for Sue Manning (4.7).

Next three places were taken by Solos, sailed by Richard Bridgmont, Simon Verrall and Stephen Holcroft, all within five seconds on corrected time after a 40-minute race.

Reports by Mark Green and Liz Sagues