The Chichester Optimist Open attracted over 40 boats to what was going to be an exciting day with gusts over 15 knots coming from the South West. The wind certainly proved a challenge for the younger sailors and great fun for those more experienced. Fortunately, the rain held off and the sailors could enjoy the blustery conditions in the relative safety of the Chichester lake. The Club set out two race courses for the Main and Regatta fleets.
The race officers for both fleets managed to get in three good races despite the constantly shifty wind. The Main Fleet was positioned in the slightly windier location just above of the main channel and the Regatta Fleet’s course was located in a more sheltered area closer to the Clubhouse. The Main Fleet got off to a good first start, the younger sailors coping well with the breezy conditions. There were a few capsizes but they were managed very well by the safety boats to hand. At the front of the fleet there was some very close racing between members of the Development Squad – Sam Thompson and Alice Snook and it was a very close battle for 1st place, Alice only gaining a significant lead on the last and final beat. The wind increased to over 15 knots during the race with some exciting gusts. Race position depended on keeping the boat flat and dry.
The second and third races were much of the same with first and second places being constantly uncertain yet Alice managed to prevail in the second race and came 2nd in the third race to end up with a result of two points (after a discard) and 1st overall.
The regatta proved to be a resounding success with the shifts, gusts and tide giving everyone some good and fun racing.
As always tea and cakes were provided by the club to ensure that everyone went home with a smile.
Full Race results and many more Photos can be found on our open meeting race result page.
Race Report by Claudia Bush, Photos by Brian Ayton.