A ‘BRILLIANT’ 2000 open meeting was the enthusiastic response of one young competitor who successfully completed the event at Dell Quay.
The weather provided unusually-exciting and challenging conditions for the 18 competitors as the benign conditions of the second race gave way to heavy squalls, torrential downpours and a sky illuminated by lightning.
Andy Gray, the Dell Quay race officer, set a windward/leeward ‘Olympic’ course into the prevailing south-westerly wind, ideally suited for the 2000-class dinghies.
Those who bravely hugged the eastern shore during the first race gained most from avoiding the incoming tide, with Matt and Clare Sargent maintaining their lead throughout.
In close racing, Pete Harrison and Anne Watkins (CYC) were beaten into third by Will Sloper and Katie Burridge, who edged Katie’s father into fourth. The wind was far lighter during the second race, when getting a good start was essential. The Sargents got a good start which they maintained throughout the race.
Once again, the battle for second and third was a family affair - there were three Burridge boats in the line-up - but this time dad prevailed with Rob and Sarah Burridge taking second ahead of Will Sloper and daughter Katie.
Race three followed a similar pattern with Matt and Clare Sargent taking an early lead, but this time the weather played a part in the proceedings producing a serious thunderstorm, serious wind over tide conditions and 30-knot gusts.
The Sargents capsized, yielding first place to Rob and Sarah Burridge, with daughter Katie and Will Sloper second and Pete Harrison and Anne Watkins third.
Overall results: 1 Matt and Clare Sargent (Army Sailing Association); 2 Rob and Sarah Burridge (Weirwood SC); 3 Will Sloper and Katie Burridge (Weirwood SC).
Mike Fitzgerald and Tim Dormer took the prize for the highest-placed Dell Quay boat.
See a report and more pictures from the 2000 open in the Observer - on sale now
The autumn series at Chichester Yacht Club got under way with the first three races.
And sure enough autumn seemed to have arrived with squally weather and a stiff breeze.
Although the racing started in a force four, the wind built during the three races to a good force five. While the 2000 contingent sailed up to Dell Quay for the 2000 Open, the rest set out in three fleets for the three races.
The modern/fast fleet was largely composed of a clutch of RS boats joined by a Xenon. Roger and Richard Clare took to the water in their RS400, this being Roger’s first sail in a couple of years.
Clearly his skills are still as good as ever as the RS400 led from the front in race one, taking first place on the water and on handicap. Angus and Tabitha Peel in their RS200 were second.
In race two, Alistair and Manu Jenkins in their Xenon joined the fleet and although slower on the water than the RS400, they put in a good time to take first place, with the Clare duo second.
Race three, in higher winds, was tougher, and the Clares again took first with the Jenkins’ second. The Clares lead the series.
The classic/medium fleet was largely made up of Solos and Lasers, joined by a GP14 as the sole two-man boat.
In race one, Andy Palmer-Felgate in a Laser got off to a good start and finished first on the water, quite a way ahead of the chasing Lasers of Ian Payne and Luke South. Palmer-Felgate finished first on handicap with Mark Harper (Solo) second.
In race two while Payne and South in Lasers had some close racing with Nick and Biddy Colbourne in their GP 14, the Colbournes finished first.
The Solo contingent took the next few places with Ian Lissamore second and Harper third.
In race three, South (Laser) managed to get away on the water and finished first with Harper second and Payne third. The Colbournes lead the series.
The slow fleet, unusually, comprised only Optimists. Eliza South bravely went out in race one on her own and thus finished first.
She was joined by Alice Snook and Luke Daniel in races two and three. In race two, South was first with Snook second and Daniel third.
In race three, Snook got ahead of South. Daniel was third. South leads the series.
The next five races are this weekend.
Up-and-coming sailing star Ruth Allen has tasted more success.
She and sailing partner Alice Masterman competed in a 29er class Grand Prix in Wales and finished third overall and first ladies.
Allen, from Emsworth, said: “This means in the rankings we are fifth overall and first ladies which puts us in good stead for the ladies’ Grand Prix championships.
“We have also been selected for youth squad again this year. This is the top ten boats inclusive of three girl boats, but we made it on our own merit not just because we’re girls.
“We’ve also been selected for tailored support which is with two other boats. We will have our own separate training weekends. And we’re competing in Lake Garda, Italy, in the October half-term.”
This weekend they have their sixth Grand Prix in Torquay and the weekend after that, their first squad weekend.
Allen is one of the young sport stars affiliated to the Jaguar Academy of Sport and recently attended a talent day with patrons and ambassadors including Dame Kelly Holmes, Denise Lewis, Rio Ferdinand and Jade Jones.
She said: “I found the day really helpful and have enjoyed trying other sports for a change.”
Allan and Masterman recently competed at the 29er worlds in Denmark. The pair finished 38th overall in the gold fleet and were the third girl pairing. They were also top Brit girl and sixth British boat. They also competed at the nationals at Hayling Island, retaining their ladies’ national title for a second year and finishing 12th overall.