Chichester Harbour Race Week

Race Week 2020 August 17th – 21st

Race Week 2019 was the most successful yet….report from Chris Savage – Chairman Chichester Harbour Federation

From August 19th to 23rd your Federation held a truly vintage Chichester Harbour Race Week, cheered as a great success by the 310 entrants from no less than 52 clubs who came to Hayling Island Sailing Club from all over the country.
It is many years since I was involved in running a dinghy racing event so it was with some trepidation that I offered to help on a strictly unskilled basis for the full week, but I’m so very glad I did. Starting on Monday in nearly ‘no go’ weather conditions and with a considerable number of retirements, the racing was ‘on the edge’, with multiple capsizes, torn sails and other damage, but nevertheless exciting to watch and – I was told! – wonderfully exhilarating to participate in, especially for a win! The other four days just got better and better to provide real champagne sailing conditions.
The diversity of entries resulted in 15 races each day in 4 series: a real challenge to the Race Officers and the Safety Officer with the marker boats fully employed to provide the records at rounding marks critical to adjudicating protests. Please look at the brilliant photos (link) which must be among the best I have ever seen for a dinghy regatta.
The Race Box at HISC has an incredible 365 degree view of our harbour, but the opportunities to admire the view were few and far between in the hive of activity generated by the recording team. Software from Sail Event considerably reduced admin with competitors signing themselves afloat and ashore electronically, albeit still supported by the traditional paper system. With all the action and numbers involved, there was relief to record everyone safely ashore.
The scale of HISC’s facilities must be unique and their service and support, as well as catering, were well up to accommodating the largest dinghy regatta in the country and the willingness of their Crew to go the extra distance to make sure all the competitors were locked after was a tribute to the management and Flag Officers.
The Race Team press gangs nearly 100 volunteers who come together for CHRW, albeit with many months of preparation.The Race Box crew, the Race Officers and Safety Officer, the safety and marker boat crews, the super girls who sell the shirts and the organisers of the after sailing entertainment. All worked tirelessly and with skill born of much experience we are so fortunate to have amassed. Their enjoyment in participating is very clear and reflects the satisfaction from the competitors pleasure and thanks.
Evening entertainments by Emsworth Slipper SC with a barbecue, Mengeham Rythe  SC with a quiz evening and the famous Disco night at HISC ensured competitors had plenty of fun on land as well as enjoying the steel band playing them ashore on Tuesday in the Caribbean weather conditions. It was hot!
Photo Peter Hickson
Robert Macdonald, past Fed Chairman and current CHC Advisory Chairman, somehow finds time to act as the Fed’s Regatta Committee Chairman and Principal Race Officer and ably supported by Pam Marrs, as Regatta Secretary, they both undertake an enormous workload.
Alison Wakelin, our Vice Chmn, needed two sessions to present all the prizes to deserving and happy winners and the the large number of promises to return in 2020 was very gratifying. Sponsorship by Chichester Gin, Raymarine, Marine Superstore, Optimum Time and Bentley Walker was greatly appreciated and resulted in some super prizes, some of which were doubtless drunk over the Bank Holiday!
First as ‘Fed Week’ and now as CHRW, the event has been running for well over 50 years, but this was a truly vintage occasion and we hope will encourage even more clubs to join in 2020 when the dates will be from 17th to 21st August. Please put this in your diary now especially if you missed out this year. My thanks to everyone who participated, either helping or as a competitor!
 

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