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Finn Open at Emsworth Slipper Sailing Club

by Richard Sharp 27 Mar 08:41 PDT 24 March 2024

Emsworth Slipper Sailing Club at the top of Chichester Harbour hosted their first Finn Open on 24th March, as the second event of the British Finn Spring Series, in conjunction with a healthy fleet of D Zeros.

It was great to see several visitors and the brave sailors who sailed up from Hayling Island Sailing Club were much appreciated.

The beautiful sunny weather allied with a skinny cappuccino or two in the lee of the sailing club masked us from the truly epic conditions that were awaiting us further down the harbour!

When we blasted downwind to the sailing area the sun was still shining but it was cold and blooming breezy - massive changes in pressure and dramatic shifts were the order of the day and quite a lot of sailors ended up having a refreshing dip or two.

The brilliant race team set a great course - a trapezoid with a decent beat, two screaming reaches and a wobbly run. The reach across just in the lee of Hayling Island was awesome - flat water and huge gusts coming off the shore but the gybe mark was utter carnage at times....

Race 1

Matt Johnston (Emsworth Slipper) sailed a fantastic first beat to reach the windward mark first. Mike De Courcy (HISC) and Richard Sharp (Emsworth Slipper) were close behind with the rest of the bunched pack a shade back.

The first three fought it out until the last gybe mark where unfortunately Matt dropped it in, allowing Richard and Mike to sail past.

The finishing order was Richard, Mike, Matt and Roman Khodykin (HISC) in 4th.

Race 2

Mike shot off the line towards Hayling Island at pace, tacked ahead of the fleet and had a nice lead at the top mark. Roman had sailed a great beat but unluckily clipped the first mark. Bill Chalker (Emsworth SC) had a good first beat but was rolled in by a nasty gust and had some rudder issues.

Mike looked clear away but a massive gust tipped him in on the run. After recovery from the chilly water Mike headed for an early shower.

It was great to see Ben Davis (Emsworth SC) back in a Finn and he sailed fantastically well after many years out of the boat.

The finishing order was Richard, Matt, Ben and Roman who recovered very well.

Race 3

The Race Officer had moved the pin and it was favoured this time. It was a fairly even start but Matt Johnston showed great pace to lead Richard and Roman around the first mark.

Matt sailed fast and clean and led throughout. The race finished with Matt first, followed by Richard, Roman and Nick Mason (Emsworth Slipper) who was sailing his first Finn Open and really got to grips with the boat in the testing conditions.

John Pyke had a sail blow out in this race sadly and had to retire after showing some good pace at times.

Race 4

The sailors were looking tired for this last race and the forecast drop in breeze didn't happen. The pin was again favoured and there was a gentle coming together between Richard and Matt on the gun. The resulting turns for Matt left Richard free to escape into a clear lead.

Roman was going well in second but got caught by a charging Matt at the last gybe mark. At the finish it was Richard, Matt, Roman and Ben in fourth.

The sailors gratefully sailed safely back to their respective clubs looking relieved to have got through a memorable day.

Overall Results: (top three)

1st Richard Sharp
2nd Matt Johnston
3rd Roman Khodykin

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