More than 100 boats took part in last weekend's Glyn Charles Memorial Pursuit Race

More than 100 craft, ranging from Mirror dinghy to Laser SB3, braved the Bank Holiday leisure-boat traffic in Chichester Harbour to remember an old friend and great harbour character by competing in the fifth Glyn Charles Memorial Pursuit Race.

Competitors included Olympic gold medallists, and several Volvo round the world race competitors. Amongst others, Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith rushed back from the Spa international regatta in Holland to race their 49er alongside local club sailors

The incredible haul of prizes, included a Sunsail holiday, and £1,000 worth of Gill wetsuits, was donated by sponsors generous in their memory of Glyn, all happy to see over £700 raised for the John Merricks Trust.

The calibre of the spectators was almost as impressive: – many well known sailors including Olympians, coaches, and former crewmates of Glyn Charles, travelled to Hayling to remember old friends.

All were rewarded with warm sunshine, a challenging course around Itchenor and Emsworth channels, and a genuinely friendly atmosphere despite some frustrating conditions on the water.

To complete the spectacle, race officer Greg Wells set a downwind start against the tide, across the harbour entrance. The spectators cheered as fleet after fleet concertina’d around South West Pilsey, the first turning mark

Comfortable winners of the Sunsail holiday were Ian and Jane Porter from Hayling Island… “We were lucky, our traditional spinnaker took us on a square run in the last of the breeze away from the start. Watching the faster asymmetric classes struggling downwind in a calm patch encouraged us around the course. After a lap, we could see that the Flying Fifteens and RS 200s and 400s were making little impression?we then knew that we were in with a shout? long live the Wayfarer!”

RS 200 sailors Jonathon Lewis and Millie Parsons sportingly retired from fourth place having missed a mark in the early stages of the race, giving the 400 of Roger Gilbert and James Stewart the coveted top RS spot?..”I’m not really sure what happened: we spent most of the race sailing around the course on our own. We had a flying first three legs, but didn’t realise just how well we were doing until we pulled through the Flying Fifteens. Having a pivoting centreboard helped quick recovery from our groundings!”

First Juniors were Frances Peters and Olivia Pettit, from Chandlers Ford, in their RS Feva,.. “We had a really good last leg with the spinnaker, we managed to keep up with the 200s and just hold off the faster boats just behind. We were especially pleased with our navigation in not following the Solos around the wrong mark on the first lap!”

The Mirror of Andrew Streeter and Alexis Steele, first to start, led the fleet for over two hours, and finally finished sixth. They made navigation easy for the chasing pack including RS Fevas, National 12, Solos and Wayfarers.

The first trapeze boat to finish was Neil Upton Brown’s singlehanded RS700? ” “We were racing each other rather than thinking about the overall race: all 9 RS 700s had their turn at the front, and this competition helped keep the pressure on to push us all through the fleet. I only got to the front of the 700s at the last mark?Wayfarers?…. I couldn’t even read their sail numbers? were they in the same race?”

Rob Wells in his Flying Fifteen blamed loosing touch with Olympians Barry and Sue Parkin (first keelboat in ninth place) on Sue’s underhand tactics..? “We were closing fast on the run, when Sue started taking her top off? being gentlemen of course we immediately lowered our spinnaker in order to avert our gaze and not cause offence!”

One of the traditions of the race is that prizes are distributed throughout the entry list, giving competitors who normally miss out on prizes a chance to take something home. Beneficiaries of one such spot prize were Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell, Star world champions, who had also rushed back from winning Spa regatta to take a memorable 70th place? “What a great day” said Steve… “It’s always good to sail with real sailors who enjoy their racing?. Glyn would have loved seeing the Star out in the harbour, watching the asymmetrics trying to pass us to leeward and falling into our huge wind shadow! We are plotting how to fit a spinnaker to the Star for next year’s race!”

Nick Peters in 31st led the biggest fleet of 15 RS 800s. “Our sniddle over the Winner bank gave us a clear advantage over the pack. It was loads of fun, a fantastic day. Another hour’s racing and we may have got to see the Wayfarers!”

The impressive fleet of nine modern International 14s, spectacularly fast in straight lines, found the beats and runs too narrow to make any real impression on the fleet. Top 14 was James Fawcet and Bruce Grant from London, in a creditable 69th place.

Overall Results

1st Wayfarer: Ian and Jane Porter

2nd Wayfarer: Ted and Wendy Gadd

3rd RS 400: Roger Gilbert and James Stewart

4th RS 200: Sarah Taylor and Claire Upton-Brown

5th RS Feva: Frances Peters and Olivia Petit

6th Mirror: Andrew and Alex Streeter

7th RS 700: Neil Upton-Brown

8th RS 700: Ben Oakley

9th Flying Fifteen: Barry and Sue Parkin

10th RS 200: Peter and Sue Bannister

11th RS 200: Rebecca Kent and Mark Chisnell

12th Flying Fifteen: Roger and Barbara Palmer

13th International Canoe: Paul Patrick

14th RS 200: Sarah Allen and Elly Haines

15th RS 700 Nick Rawlings