Where are the summers of sunshine and force 3 sea breezes? That was the question on everyone’s lips as Fed Week 2008 ended. It had been a difficult time for both race officers and competitors, with the first two days blown off as winds gusted up to 40 knots, extra races fitted in on each of the following two days and a frustrating mix of calms and major windshifts on the final Friday.
But there were smiles and cheers at the prize-giving as the usual plethora of coveted Chichester Harbour Federation plates were handed out to the winners from the 390 entries – a very creditable total given the poor forecast at the beginning of the week. In all, 48 clubs were represented, 37 of them from beyond the harbour.
Fed Week always encourages potential top competitors of the future, and there were 45 boats in the Series 3 classes, 25 Fevas - both almost all sailed by youngsters – and a lot more under-18s all through the faster fleets.
Most senior of the fleets, the Solos, had 32 entrants, but they were overtaken by the RS200s – biggest fleet with 46 boats – fast asymmetrics (38) and fast handicap (34) and matched by the medium handicap. Innovations on the water among the 65 different classes represented were at two extremes: foiling RS600s and RS Teras, while the oldest boat was a beautifully restored 1936 Swordfish, older than the combined age of its father and daughter crew.
There is always close competition for the Inter-Club Cup, taken this time by hosts Hayling Island SC, with Emsworth Slipper second and Mengeham Rythe third, all three well ahead of the six other entries.
Optimist winner was Niall Houston (HISC), but there was equally consistent top-five sailing from the three helms behind, Hamish Streeter (HISC), Jemima Lawson (Emsworth) and Robert Masterman (HISC). Ben Chrystall (Dell Quay SC) won overall in the Toppers despite having to miss the final day’s racing, with Langstone’s Tobias Haber second, while Miracle father and daughter Andrew and Cassie Martin (Chichester YC) led the slow handicap with a perfect score.
Family combinations were common in the Fevas. The Fisks from Emsworth, with father Paul helming, won from clubmates Will Lewis and Hugo Tucker, with Rob and Elliott Wells (HISC) third.
HISC members dominated the Solo fleet, with Nick Rawlings winning from David McGregor and Chris Powles, and the Flying Fifteens, where Roger and Barbara Palmer won on tie-break from Mark Wood and John Williams. John Tremlett (Locks SC) repeated his 2007 success in the Finns, from Henry Bagnall (Royal Lymington YC).
The medium handicap result also relied on tie-break, with Ian Porter and John Hartley (Wayfarer, ESSC) beating Mike Lyons (Blaze, Burghfield SC) by dint of their final race win.
Both the fast handicap and fast asymmetrics lost one race, declared void after a protest. Winners respectively were Keith Walker and Rhys Pickett (Fireball, HISC) from Richard Keevil (Contender, Langstone SC) and Christian Reynolds (Musto Skiff, Locks SC) from Theo Galyer and Jack Spencer (B14, Emsworth Slipper SC).
Some of the best class racing was in the RS fleets. In the 200s, Sam Littlejohn and Becky Hyde (HISC) had a perfect score, as did Matt Johnston and Gael Pawson (Thorney Island SC) in the 400s.
Next year’s Fed Week date is August 17-21, when everyone will be hoping for rather more settled weather!
FED Week images - http://www.digigraphics.co.uk/Fed_Week_2008_Wide.html
FED Week images - http://www.aroundthecans.com