Chichester Lake felt fairly busy on Sunday 8 July, when Chichester Yacht Club played host to an entry of 30 RS400s and eight Albacores for a joint open meeting

Chichester Lake felt fairly busy on Sunday 8 July, when Chichester Yacht Club played host to an entry of 30 RS400s and eight Albacores for a joint open meeting. There was a fresh breeze, which backed steadily through the day from westerly to south-south-westerly, with gradually clearing skies, and there were sharply varying gusts, so that everyone had a vigorous day’s sailing.

The starts were impressive, with the RS fleet queuing up at the committee boat end from a minute beforehand in the first race, and being equally keen for the other starts,which had slight port bias, though there were no recalls. The Albacore starts were dominated by the eventual overall winner, who had three firsts. The course was reverse P-shape, with a fairly short first beat which brought the fleet to the weather mark in rather a bunch, with very close tacking by those coming in on port, and some collisions and subsequent 720s. The first two reaches varied in tightness so that it required a nice judgement to know whether the kite could be carried down them: sometimes it was the first, sometimes the second, and each time there were some boats who had got it wrong and were forced to bear off to douse their kite.

The mass of boats covered these legs in two tightly-packed bunches at high speed, however, arriving at the gybe/bear-away mark with overlaps being established right up to the zone. Down the tactical run the fleet spread out a bit more, but it was still a fairly frantic scene among the bunch behind the leaders, through which the Albacores had a to pick a careful route to avoid being targets for the bowsprits! As the day wore on there were several capsizes among the RS fleet, though most recovered to finish after a loss of some places, but the Albacores covered the course with suitable dignity and stability!

No RS400 established an overwhelming superiority, with different winners in each race, but Roger Gilbert and James Stewart, who had a preliminary sail round the lake on the previous day, had two seconds to go with their win and so were deserved winners, as the other leaders had mixed results. The home club had six of its eight RS400s out, but only four of its twenty or so Albacores, most of which are now used only for cruising. There were no prizes for them in the Albacore class, but two of the Chichester YC RS400s made the prize list.. Four of them had ‘hired assassin’ crews, but lacked practice together in fresh conditions, and at least one helmsman, in his sixty-ninth year, has decided gracefully to retire and hand his boat over to the younger generation for future opens.

A majority of the prizewinners in both classes come from inland clubs, which the water at Chichester resembles, being flat and with the banks lined by trees. The tidal flows add to the tactical problems, but are less important in strong winds and to the high-performance dinghies.

Overall Results


1st 873, Roger Gilbert and James Stewart, Frensham Pond SC (3 pts)

2nd 832, Phil Jackson and Gerard Barron, Parkstone YC (6 pts)

3rd 1055, Colin and Tony Prince, Weirwood SC (6 pts)

4th 1009, Colin and Sarah Smith, Chichester YC (6 pts)

5th 1066, Peter Stratton and Paul Newton, Weirwood SC (7 pts)

6th 999, Roger Yeoman and Peter Robson, Chichester YC (8 pts)


1st 8011, Neville Herbert and Steve Penfold, Maidenhead SC (2 pts)

2nd 6922, Michael and Stephen Brothwell, Bexhill SC (4 pts)

3rd 7988, Victoria Brooks and Richard Thorpe, Maidenhead SC (5 pts)