Event report 2016
Record numbers for Itchenor Sailing Club’s Schools Week Championships
A record number of young sailors descended on Itchenor Sailing Club in Chichester last week for the 64th Schools Sailing Championships, sponsored by MPI Brokers and JDX Consulting.
On Sunday, 105 entries from 40 schools arrived at the club for the Fevas training day. The thirteen and fourteen year olds were greeted with glorious weather and a special welcome message from Ben Saxton, one of two Itchenor members who have been selected to represent Team GB at the Rio Olympics.
Despite a delayed start on Monday after the first race was abandoned due to a wind shift, Hayling College’s Henry and Rupert Jameson led the fleet with Churcher's College Louis Wright and Jamie Allen), Ditcham Park (Finley Dickinson and Tom Gorringe) and Portsmouth Grammar School’s Henry Chandler and Louis Johnson also in the leading pack. These schools dominated most of the races throughout the day with the Jameson brothers coming out on top following another win in the final race.
Tuesday’s racing began with a 10-knot breeze that built all day. After race five the top of the fleet was highly competitive with Hayling College just one point ahead of Portsmouth Grammar School. As the final race counted down Jameson and Jameson triggered too early and picked up an OCS leaving Portsmouth Grammar School needing a third or better to win the regatta. The Portsmouth Grammar team of Chandler and Johnson held their nerve and got a bullet to win the championship by two points.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the Feva fleet was replaced by Fireflies and 420s sailed by mostly fifteen and sixteen year olds. After Wednesday’s practice day, the senior championships got under way with 39 Fireflies and six 420s from 17 different schools.
Thursday saw some superb racing with six races completed for each class. The race officer moved to a black flag after a general recall, and Julian Fung and William Jacken of Rugby School showed early pace to take the first race win for the Fireflies. They were challenged all the way by Gabriel Ing and Primrose Barker from Magdalen College School who won the second race, whilst Tonbridge's Dom Lewis and Oscar Wright took race three.
By the afternoon the breeze had increased to 15-knots with strong gusts which caused a few capsizes, but Alex Baxter and Ben Nicoll, representing Bartholomew School, showed great speed to win two races, although RGS Guildford’s Patrick Croghan and James Dickinson capped a consistently strong day to lead overall.
In the 420s, it was Ben Childerley and Nick Burt of Sherborne Boys' day, taking first overall following four race wins with another Sherborne boat – Harry Guy and Timo Malikou – in second
On the final day of Itchenor Schools' Week both the Firefly and 420 fleets managed four more races in 15-knots from the south west.
In the Firefly fleet, Bartholomew’s Baxter and Nicholl showed blistering upwind speed to win the first race, but the RGS Guildford team completed a superbly consistent series to count nothing below third place and take the Sir Richard Fairey Trophy for first overall.
In the 420s, Childerley and Burt showed a clean pair of heels, discarding two third places to count only race wins.
Charles Hyatt, Commodore at Itchenor Sailing Club commented, “ We are proud to be able to continue our support of schools sailing. The increasing numbers and the quality of the competition attest to the strength of sailing in schools across the country. I would like to thank our sponsors, MPI and JDX, for their support and the many club members who make this event possible.”
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