Fantastic Felpham sailors take West Sussex honours

Felpham's Mitchell Campbell was third in the fast fleet / Picture by Bill Brooks
Felpham's Mitchell Campbell was third in the fast fleet / Picture by Bill Brooks
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Felpham cadets are West Sussex county champions again.

For the seventh time in eight years, they are the top dinghy racing team in West Sussex. More than 110 children in 89 dinghies raced in three fleets at the West Sussex Schools and Youth Sailing Association annual regatta, hosted by Felpham. Competition for places was tough, but the Felpham youngsters showed their dominance in all three fleets.

With points scored by the top five placed sailors in each fleet, Felpham SC were clear team winners with 46 points. Crawley Mariners YC were second with 197 and Arun Youth Aqua Centre third with 202. Teams from Arun YC, Dell Quay SC, Sussex YC and Pagham Lagoon Sailing also entered.

With northerly winds promising a flat sea, shifting winds and gentle neap tides, the inland teams were potentially favoured. However the home club sailors demonstrated their mastery. Around midday on Sunday a sea breeze kicked in turning the wind through 180 degrees and there were some waves and stronger wind for all to enjoy.

Tom Rusbridge (national race officer) set a variety of courses to test the sailors and the youngsters demonstrated their knowledge of the flag signals and race instructions in sailing the right course each time.

Dave Cockerill (race coach) gave instruction before racing and video debriefing after each session.

Competition for places was tough, but the Felpham youngsters showed their dominance in all three fleets.

In the fast handicap fleet Daniel Gibson (Crawley Mariners) notched three wins in the six-race series to hold top place on eight points. Showing a high level of sailing skill, he was racing an RS Aero 7 having only started sailing the dinghy less than two weeks earlier.

He was closely followed by Ed Gerwat (Felpham SC), who was showing consistent form in his dad’s Laser – never scoring less than third place to finish on ten points.

Mitchell Campbell (Felpham SC) racing his Solution was third on 14.5 points. Phoebe Noble (Dell Quay SC) was awarded the best placed female sailor in her Laser Radial in fifth place.

Alex Mayger (Felpham SC) once again showed dominant form repeating his perfect score at Chichester Harbour Week by recording five bullets in his Laser 4.7 to take top place in the slow handicap fleet.

Felpham took five of the top six places with Beth Wilkinson (13pts) and Sophie Bentley (14pts) showing consistent form behind Mayger ahead of Tom and Amelia Simpson (RS Feva), Shaun Kerrigan from Arun YC in his Laser 4.7 and Sam Atherton with James Hurren in the Topaz Vibe.

The Topper fleet was very close at the top with the top two tied on 12 points; Frankie Jolly took first on coun back from Alfie Lester. With just one point more, Liam Gray took third. All three sailors are from Felpham SC. Erin Aldis-Hobbs (Felpham SC) was awarded best-placed female Topper sailor for seventh place.

The organisation of the regatta was a significant team effort with seven safety boats, many of which had been supplied by visiting clubs. A big kitchen team sold out on bacon butties and the huge parental beach team made swift work of recovery at the close of racing.

ROGER BELTON

DELL QUAY

Dell Quay SC junior racers had a great time at the annual West Sussex Schools Youth Sailing Association regatta at Felpham SC.

The 22 juniors took part in a mix of Picos, Fevas, Toppers, an Oppie, Tera, Topaz and an RS200 - with ages ranging from nine to 18. 

All the team coped really well with the challenges of racing in a fleet of 70-plus boats and sailing out into open water, the first time for many of the team.

Conditions were favourable with light winds for most of the weekend and calm sea. Winds did get up for the last race and the sea state increased to slight.

Dell Quay Topper sailors William Lynas, Fleur Moranne, Rachel Dicker and Charlotte Binning all sailed well, approaching the front of the impressive Topper fleet. Oppie sailor Max Sydenham, just nine, worked hard and managed to complete all six races in an impressive time. 

Both of the Fevas did really well with Lou Dicker and Hazel Jones having a brilliant second race on the Sunday with Alice Atkins and Maddie Thorne giving a consistently-steady performance in the club boat. 

Adam Hall, Greg Kies and Harry Pullenger all managed impressive times and improved on last year’s regatta by 100 per cent, thanks to all the training they have put in at DQ this summer. 

Ned Potter (Pico) had a good performance in this his first Regatta. Jasper McGarry sailed well in the club Laser and will be one to watch, along with the new team of Tom Bettle and James White in the RS200, all out for the first time on the water in these boats.

The star of the show this year was Phoebe Noble who came first in the Laser Radial fleet and brought home the gold medal for DQSC. 

Great results also from Lizzie Kies, first in the Picos, and Josie Thorne, third in the Picos. 

Overall the DQSC race team came fourth with Felpham SC coming first for the third year in a row.

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