Emsworth sailors make waves in 29er world

Henry and Louis at the presentation ceremony
Henry and Louis at the presentation ceremony

Young Emsworth sailors Henry Chandler and Louis Johnson have had a very strong start to their sailing campaign in the 29er high-performance dinghy.

The two 15-year-olds paired up at the start of the season and took part in winter squad training at Hayling Island Sailing Club before embarking on a number of tough competitions during the summer.

The final day of racing in Quiberon Bay involved a frustrating wait for the wind but Chandler and Johnson were rewarded with first place in the bronze fleet – a great first international result.

First up was the 29er national championship which took place at the Weymouth and Portland national sailing scademy in July.

Some 75 boats took part in the event, which started with two days of light-wind sailing for the qualifying races where the boats fought for places in the gold and silver fleets.

With strong competition from a number of sailors who were just back from competing in the worlds in California, Chandler and Johnson gained a place in the gold fleet, a great achievement for their first season.

The winds picked up for the next two days and the pair led the junior ranking going into the final day. Gusts of 25 knots plus met the sailors on the last day and only one race was sailed. After a capsize Chandler and Johnson finished 27th overall and second junior boat.

It was straight off to Quiberon in Southern Brittany for the 29er Europeans and a welcoming ceremony with 179 boats from 28 nations.

Tough conditions, with strong winds on the first day and a highly-competitive fleet from all over the world, meant the boys finished the three days of qualifiers in bronze fleet.

Light winds dominated the main racing for the remaining three days with racing not starting one day until 5pm and the fleet not off the water til 8pm.

The final day of racing in Quiberon Bay involved a frustrating wait for the wind but Chandler and Johnson were rewarded with first place in the bronze fleet – a great first international result.

Winter will see the boys trial for the RYA youth squad and have plenty of time on the water practicing. They are sponsored by Harken UK and Zhik.

DELL QUAY

Despite strong winds being forecast, the Dell Quay Sailing Club annual harbour race started in a very light force wind, dying to almost nothing at times.

The race officer set a course from Dell Quay to the lower reaches of Chichester Harbour, taking in racing marks Westlands, Weir, Eleanor and Park.

The lack of wind meant the race took more than two-and-a-half hours to complete, with Peter King being first to arrive back at Dell Quay in his RS 400. On the return leg the wind died at Itchenor but filled in towards the end so that all ten boats were able to return under their own power.

After application of handicap corrections to the finish times the top four places went to the Solos, with Gordon Barclay coming in first, followed by second Simon Verrall, third David Swift and fourth Carol Andrews.

Barclay’s win secures him the Bransbury Williams Trophy for the last long-distance race of the 2017 season.

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