Gould triumphs but Hayling rule roost

RS200s, largest class in Chichester Harbour Race Week, make a colourful spectacle. Picture: Andrew Filipinski
RS200s, largest class in Chichester Harbour Race Week, make a colourful spectacle. Picture: Andrew Filipinski
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Andrew Gould is celebrating after a dominant performance at Chichester Harbour Race Week.

The Emsworth Slipper star chalked up a perfect score of three wins in his MPS – Musto Skiff to take the honours in the fast asymmetric fleet as many of the week’s overall winners hinged on Friday’s final races.

It proved to be a fitting finale to one of the UK’s largest dinghy regattas – as non-stop sunshine and a good breeze accompanied the battle for honours.

This year’s event drew 313 boats and almost 500 sailors to compete on three separate courses.

Dinghies ranged from the fastest Olympic class, the powerful 49er, to tiny Optimists where the youngest would-be Olympians are just setting out on their racing careers.

As always, the sailing was run from Hayling Island Sailing Club (HISC) by volunteers from the Harbour Federation member clubs.

While Gould was cruising to glory, there were other fine displays.

David Sayce and crew Nick Rees were unbeatable in the Fireballs.

Their HISC club-mates Niall Huston (Laser), Dominic Hall (Laser Radial), Lucy Bakker (Topper) and Phoebe Peters (RS Tera Pro). were also on top form.

As were Neil Robinson (Finn, Mengeham Rythe) and Alex Mayger (Laser 4.7, Felpham).

Mayger’s father, Guy, finally came out top in one of the closest-fought classes – the Solos.

He left it late, though – overtaking his rivals for first place overall in Friday’s final race.

But the Maygers were not the most successful family among the entrants – as the home club’s Peters contingent headed four classes.

HISC also triumphed in the inter-club team competition.

But a very strong challenge – decided only on tie-break – came from Felpham, who had only nine competing boats in comparison to the 175 from HISC.

Entries for the week came from as far afield as Cornwall, the Midlands and even Northern Ireland.

Biggest of the 15 fleets was the RS200, which hit 50 entrants.

Solos, one of the harbour’s most popular small dinghies, were out in force, too.

And there was a welcome increase in standard-rig Laser competitors.

Among the faster classes, the Fireballs mustered enough entrants for their own start and there was good support in fast handicap and asymmetric handicap classes, as well as from the Finns.

Fewer youngsters than usual were out on their smaller course, probably because many regulars had moved up to RS Fevas.

But a lot more Optimists than last year augurs well for bigger junior fleets in 2016 and beyond.

Chichester Harbour Race Week 2016 will be held from August 15 to 19.