by Suzy Hamel
The Glyn Charles Memorial Pursuit Race was held at Hayling Island Sailing Club on Saturday 21st May. All proceeds of the event are presented to The John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Overall winners - Glyn Charles Pursuit Race 2011
Winners were Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane sailing an International 14, second Jason Russell, Moth Foiler and third Jon Ibbotson and Sophie Mackley in a National 12.
In all 160 boats entered this charity pursuit race, run by Hayling Island Sailing Club, with a great entry from Bosham Sailing Club, which was Glyn’s home club at the time of his untimely death whilst competing in the Sydney to Hobart Race in 1998.
As ever the race was sailed in the spirit that has become accustomed with this pursuit race. Whilst taken seriously by some, the majority of competitors are ‘celebrating Glyn’s Life’ by taking part and having a fun sail with their loved ones in a vast array of different dinghies around Chichester Harbour.
In these ‘difficult’ economic times the sponsors should get a special mention for supporting this ‘must do’ dinghy race by supplying some super prizes which were spread throughout the finishing boats – Musto, Harken, Gul, Tacktick, Scott, For Her From You and HISC: we thank you sincerely.
Margaret Charles and Ian Walker - Glyn Charles Pursuit Race 2011
Margaret Charles, Glyn’s mother, presented the prizes and thanked all the competitors for attending and for helping to raise so much money for the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
With the warm wind blowing from the south, at speeds between 12-16knots, Greg Wells, the PRO, set a course stretching down towards Itchenor and Bosham and then back over to the Emsworth Channel before heading back to HISC. It is the norm for this race to try and take in as much of the Harbour that Glyn loved so much.
The first boats to start were the RS Teras with some helms under 10 years old! With the prospect of a 2 ½ hour race ahead of them in a strong spring tide, fingers were being crossed by parents on the HISC balcony that little Johnny would make it back safely from his ‘trip’ around the Harbour!
The singlehanded Mirror of Nigel Thomas took the lead about one hour before the finish, which he held onto until last year’s winner, Jon Ibbotson in his National 12, reeled him in with 20 minutes to go. Things were looking good for the first Glyn Charles ‘back to back’ victory for the N12 but out of the closing pack Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane in their International 14 and the foiling Moth of Jason Russell, with minutes to spare, put their noses in front and kept in those positions until the finish.
The largest fleet on the day was the RS200s (23 boats) with Tom Morris and Emma Porteous heading them home in 10th position. Mike and Gemma McIntyre were the first keelboat finishing 19th in the super competitive Flying Fifteen fleet (19 boats).
139 boats finished the race, the Teras all made it ashore safely (credit to them - they all finished) and £2,000 was raised for a great charity – the John Merricks Sailing Trust, which is what the race was all about. Glyn would have loved today’s race and its unique atmosphere. For full results click here.
John Merricks Sailing Trust website