Dinghies descend from far and wide

12sqM Sharpie at the Bosham Classic Boat Revival 6th & 7th September.jpg
12sqM Sharpie at the Bosham Classic Boat Revival 6th & 7th September.jpg

Dinghy sailors from all around Chichester Harbour and others from as far afield as Scotland are gearing up for one of the biggest annual regatta weeks in the UK.

Chichester Harbour Federation Week regularly attracts entries of more than 350 boats and the 2014 event – the 51st time it has been held – begins on Monday, with racing every day until Friday (August 11-15).

The regatta is run from Hayling Island Sailing Club, with entrants divided into 16 fleets, racing on three separate courses.

The fastest boats, which include Olympic classes such as the 49er and Finn, cover the largest area, stretching from the harbour mouth to close to the entrance of the Bosham Channel, while the youngest competitors race on more sheltered water close to the club.

Dinghies of all classes are welcomed, in class or handicap fleets.

It is both a family event, with often several generations of the same family competing in different types of boat, and a serious part of the racing calendar, with competition for the coveted Fed Week plates intensifying as Friday’s final races draw near.

While competitors come from a wide radius, all the volunteers involved in running the event are from Chichester Harbour sailing clubs. They are setting courses, starting and finishing races, calculating and displaying the results, manning safety boats or carrying out any of the myriad other tasks essential to the event’s success.

For spectators, following the progress of individual races is not always easy but there are spectacular views of multitudes of dinghies, some of them – such as the hydrofoiling International Moths – crossing the water at incredible speed. Best vantage points are the beaches at East Head or Sandy Point on Hayling Island.

An innovation this year is a second inter-club team trophy for junior sailors.

As for the long-established non-age-restricted inter-club team prize, competition is expected to be fierce, especially between clubs with the largest number of racers in the event, principally Hayling Island SC, Mengeham Rythe SC and the two Emsworth clubs.

New, too, will be a knock-out team event, sailed separately from the main racing, and as ever there is a full social programme.

Competitors can enter for the full week or individual days – full details are on www.chifed.org, where results and reports will be published during the week.

Classic Revival: Judging by the interest in the Bosham Sailing Club’s annual Classic Boat Revival, it is hard to believe it is only in its fourth year.

This unique event, due to be held over the weekend of September 6-7 aims to offer a fun, competitive environment for classic racing dinghies that may not be in the first flush of youth, combined with some great parties – just like the good old days!

Obviously trying to recreate the heady days of dinghy racing in the 60s and 70s, with 100+ start lines and a lively Open Meeting circuit was a non-starter, but getting a good selection of classic racing dinghies out on the race course together, throw in some parties for good measure and the basic framework was there for this unique event.

Conceived as an event to get those much-loved classic racing dinghies back out racing again, the event attracts competitors from all over the country and with five races over two days and a live band party on Saturday night, organisers are expecting a record turnout for the 2014 event.

While the racing on the water is hotly contested, the competition to win the coveted Concourse d’Elegance is no less so. Seen as a just reward for countless hours of restoration topped by the finishing touches of a wonderful paint/varnish job, this trophy has seen some interesting winners over the years.

Outstanding among those are the 2013 winner, a gleaming Enterprise No 472, and the International 14 in 2012.

To contact the organisers or enter the event please visit www.ClassicBoatRevival.co.uk