Bosham Sailing Club hosted the 2018 Tideway Challenge.
Organised by the Tideway Owners’ Association (TOA), this is the official national championships for the Tideway dinghy class and it is hosted by different sailing clubs around the country each year, alongside an organised weekend of sailing.
BSC last hosted the event in 2013, which was the 50th anniversary of the founding of the TOA; and 2018 was Bosham’s turn again.
Visitors were based at the Cobnor Activities Centre, from where a few had already ventured out in exploration, some as far as Bembridge, not bad on a 12ft dinghy.
While there is a strong group of Tideway helms who travel the country, local boats are inevitably strongly represented on every Challenge start-line and, with BSC’s active Tideway fleet, this was the case this year.
A total of 22 boats started the race, of which 14 were from BSC and eight were visitors, the latter from as far as Kettering, Milford Haven and Weston-super-Mare.
Race officer David Macfarlane set a long harbour-marks course designed to keep sailors out for two hours or more. His briefing paid particular attention to ensuring that visitors knew where the marks were and which way they were supposed to round them.
They set off for the committee boat start on a beautiful day and, with the sea breeze kicking in on time, they sailed off marginally after the published time in a good ten to 12-knot south-westerly.
The course involved a gruelling beat up to Thorney buoy and then a run up to Star (halfway up the Thorney Channel). They beat back down the channel and turned right to try to find John Davis, which proved a fair distance across shallows and against what was by then the flood tide.
Having made it, they had to find their way through the mass of anchored boats to East Head buoy, which some presumed (wrongly) was at East Head.
The rest of the course was a run, with marks cunningly chosen so that each one required a jibe; before the fleet rounded the corner and reached the Cobnor finish line.
First over the line was BSC’s Richard Wilde (TW487) and BSC sailors also came second (Michael Young, TW63) and third (Peter Shaw, TW220). First visitor was Hugh Ambery in sixth (TW554). Wilde duly won the Rose Bowl.
The actual Challenge Trophy is for a crewed boat and, with the first nine all being single-handed, the winner was visitor Jolyon Pope, with Andrew Coomlees, in TW54.
A group of BSC members laid on tea at Cobnor after which all gathered for the prize-giving followed by a fleet supper laid on by BSC’s catering staff.
The annual regatta at Dell Quay Sailing Club was characterised this year by light winds and hot weather. Four class races took place at Dell Quay, each sailing the same course set up by race officer Chris West and incorporating the Longmore racing mark over two laps.
In the Solo class race, four boats arrived at the windward mark in close company, with Simon Verrall (DQSC) leading. Verrall eased away and left the next three boats to fight it out and slow each other down.
At the start of lap two Verrall was still in the lead but was overtaken by Robert Benfield (Itchenor SC), who took first place leaving Mark Harper (DQSC) second and Roger Millett (CYC) third.
In the fast handicap race the International 14 of Andy Fitzgerald and Rich Dobson (Itchenor SC) took the early lead on the water but as the wind dropped they decided these were not ideal conditions for a fast skiff.
Three other boats followed their example leaving just four boats to compete for the top places. The RS400 of Chris Rowsell and Sarah Webster (DQSC) led for the last part of the race but the Phantom of Steve Popple (Shoreham Sailing Club) came in first on handicap, with the Finn of Andrew Buchanan (DQSC) second and Rowsell and Webster third.
A total of 18 boats completed the medium handicap race, with some very tight racing despite poor wind conditions.
Andy Palmer (CYC), sailing an RS Aero 7, led around the first mark followed by Andy and Carole Morley (DQSC) in a Wanderer. The sail back up the harbour to the finish line offered two options.
The lighter winds on the port side of the channel or slightly more wind on the starboard side of the channel but pushing more tide. The latter option proved the most beneficial, allowing Palmer to take first place on handicap with the Wanderer of Michaela and Keith Heppenstall (DQSC) coming second and the Morleys third.
In the slow handicap race those taking the port end of the start line arrived at the windward leg first with the Pico of Stephen Holcroft (DQSC) in the lead.
On the next leg the Topaz of Bruce Dupee (DQSC) managed to get past the Mirror and then the Pico to extend his lead by a minute over Holcroft on handicap to win. Holcroft came in second with the Laser 4.7 of Greg Kies (DQSC) taking third.