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Glyn Charles Pursuit Race 2008

Tuesday, 06 May 2008

For report, please scroll down.

Pictures by Ian Roman;  
An amazing 215 boats entered this years event, with 11 footers beginning and ending the starting sequence: the Mirrors racing off a handicap of 1475, and the foiling Moths, starting an incredible 87 minutes later, on 580. We had hoped to race with Iain Wilson in Glyn’s own old Ultra 30 “United Airlines”: now down to five trapezes with a carbon rig and a lead bulb. However the Chichester harbour federation officers somewhat missed the point of the race in judging that allowing us to sail would set a precedent to encourage sportsboat racing in the harbour. As it happened, easily the most dangerous manoeuvre was performed by a cruiser as it tried to motor straight through the middle of a hoard of beating RS 200’s!


Despite the restriction, entries from Ian’s Ultra, Adrian Stead’s Farr 40 Latino Mascalzone, and Ian Walker’s Volvo 60 boosted the money raised for the John Merricks Trust, a charity which Glyn himself endorsed, to over £ 4000.

Our adventure began on the road to Hayling Island: a puncture saw us standing by the side of the road waving our trailer wheel hopefully in the direction of any passing dinghies: fortunately  LDC Racing Sailboat’s own Adam Brougton was able to make a quick sale by the roadside and we were quickly on our way.


A latish start in our Laser 4000, an hour after the Mirrors, gave us the chance to appreciate the huge range of craft and sailing experience that had come to join in with the fun. It is very rare that you see a Chichester Harbour One Design, International 14’s, Foiling Moths, Wayfarers, and the full range of modern family dinghies: RS Vision, Stratos, Laser 2000, sharing a start line.

With a first beat against the tide to a windward mark just off the clubhouse, the definite “start of the summer” feel hinted at an increasing sea breeze, but this was not to be: a calm spot made the first mark an early make or break point for many. As more and more boats arrived at the same spot, the reach of the calm patch increased, and the fast track around the mark became increasingly difficult to find. We saw multiple rounding efforts, many penalties, and even a capsize by “Seahorse” editor Andrew Hurst (who won a buoyancy aid for his efforts), but emotions remained remarkably calm. Mrs BTL suggested our strategy, based on her past Fed Week experience: reach in fast from a “fat” port layline, look for a gap to wriggle through, and tack well up tide of the mark and straight onto the tight two sail reach which followed.

In the larger fleets of RS 200’s, Merlins, and Solos, those successfully rounding were protected from the faster boats behind by their classmates still enjoying the fun. Successful sniddlers included overall winners of the Glyn Charles Trophy and a beach club holiday donated by Neilson, Dicken Maclean and Emma Groves in their RS 200, and second placed 200 sailors Katrina Gilbert and Eluned Jones, who won a trip for two people to race aboard a classic yacht at the Regate Royale at Cannes in September.

This prize was donated by Graham Walker, a past team mate of Glyn Charles: he also donated a beautiful perpetual trophy: a ½ model of Indulgence, their world championship winning keelboat, which was presented to top youths Tim Gratton and Chris Taylor in their RS Feva.

Mike and Jane Calvert led the Merlin Rocket charge, finishing in 3rdplace: sit-out boats were definitely the order of the day with first performance boat Chips Howarth’s Fireball just holding off the B14 and the first two International 14’s in 28th place.
Everyone had a story to tell in the bar: RS’s Nick Peters not only lost his wager with aforementioned employee Adam in the RS700, he also owned up to being passed by an RS Vario on the last run: Nick if you will keep producing fast boats what do you expect?
Bill Masterman, the tallest sailor in Chichester Harbour as well as one of the most experienced, won a copy of RYA Tactics for his dramatic mounting of the Winner Bank in his K6: one 14’er was heard to call “there must be plenty of water there, it’s above Bill’s knees!”
The Daily Sail prize - £50 for the first foiler plus £200 to charity – was won by Moth guru Si Payne back in 152nd place, but only after an exciting tousle with Jason Belben. Jason explained that tactics are a bit strange in variable conditions: it is worth sailing a lot of extra distance to find that extra bit of power to double performance from Laser speed while “sea hugging”, to faster than a 49 er when foil bound.


Though the emphasis of this race remains firmly on fun, successful competitors were treated to a fantastic array of prizes from sponsors and supporters.

A special Gill “give it a go” prize went to Julie Turner and Bridget Juniper who were seen reading their Laser 2000 sailing manual in the dinghy park before the race, the “try another sport” prize of a pair of Scott skis was claimed by last place finisher Joe Austen, and family prizes and spot prizes were distributed through the finishers .This event really has established itself as one with something in it for everyone: once again, thanks to the sponsors, all the organisers, and of course the sailors.






















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