David Valentine (GBR66) reports:
With over 330 boats and 500 competitors, and dinghies ranging from RS Elites to Foiling Moths to Oppies, Chi Race Week is 5 days of 2-3hour races per day across the large expanse of Chichester Harbour, one of the largest naturally made harbours in the world, and sailors from all over the UK and the globe seek to attend, including many Team GBR sailors.
The local D-Zero team setup camp, with flags provided by Rodney @ Suntouched, and neatly paraded the 8 D-Zeros (1 – Black, 4 – White and 3 – Grey) in a line. (See Photo) The choccie bars in 9m format we were to race against using the same handicap numbered 6 in total, so a reasonable fleet for our own starts, though didn’t wish to join in our party, probably shamed by the beauty of the DZ !
Monday arrived, and having setup my office right by the water in my VW Transporter (its tough juggling clients and sailing), awaited the first race with little wind. Flags were raised to say go afloat and we spent the next 2 hours drifting around as the wind came and went. As a little breeze arose, the Race Committee sent us home to have a chat and a beer over what could have been.
The level of sailing was high with a Team GBR sailor, an ex-GBR squaddie (whom recently had rocked up in a seriously old algae covered Laser at a local Open and beaten everyone by yards to take the Silverware), an ex-Olympian windsurfer, and a few others with National titles.
Tuesday, another great office, and wind was already there and forecast to be F3/4. There are 3 courses, one longer for faster craft, one not quite so long for mediums and one for the youth Toppers and Oppies. The longer course had 7 starts of which we were start 5, just ahead of the Finns with Rodney watching our moves !
Breeze built and we were off, Tim Weeden and a couple of Aeros leading the way, with Pete McCoy (Team GBR – Finn) in a borrowed DZ chasing his brother in an Aero hard. Not quite such a good start put me chasing hard with Scott Derham right on my tail. A 40minute beat took its toll on some legs, and made the reach and downwind in F4 hard work. Second lap and there was a very good mix of Aeros and DZ’s. Some confused chop and another hard beat , before a downwind leg to the finish. The McCoy brothers had by then overhauled Tim, though fighting each other managed to turn it in on the runs. However Pete showing his GBR training pulled away again – believe Tim’s comment was “I had nothing to offer against him”. Pete took the win, followed by Tim, Phil McCoy in his Aero taking 3rd, with a couple more using the bigger sails to overhaul there D-Z’s though in close succession 3 more DZ’s and others followed. Yours truly took a 7th, so plenty to do after the first race. A relatively new DZ sailor was given some setting up tips and boat handling, as the rest prepared for 2 races on the Wednesday.
1- Pete McCoy (ESSC) – Zero, 2- Tim Weeden (ESSC) – Zero, 3- Phil McCoy (ESSC) – Aero
Third day, with 2 x 2 hour races planned and an earlier start than planned to make the best of the tides and weather. Pete had to head back for Finn training and readiness for the Gold Cup in Hungary, so 1 less DZ. Great start out of the blocks against a strong tide, though I decided to take what I thought as the less tide option across a sandbank and broke right as didn’t want to be a sheep. Others pushed on against the tide heading for the far southern shore and less tide. At the first mark, I nicely rounded in almost last or felt like it, though made some good ground on the Aeros in front through the rolling waves downwind. At the bottom mark, everyone rounded and followed my old route, though not being a sheep, I went left and still against a strong tide, made the shore and gained massive ground in the lesser tidal flow, and made the windward in 3rd surprising more than a few. Working hard downwind against an Aero and a lighter DZ, rounded the windward mark having been taken by the Aero and ahead of the other DZ by inches, though was slowed by the Aero on rounding and Ben Oakley (an ex-Olympic windsurfer) nipped ahead. Not giving up, I then managed to outdrag them 200 metres to the finish line and nipped into 3rd – result.
1– Phil McCoy – Aero, 2- Tom Kennedy – Aero, 3- David Valentine – Zero
Next race and wind building to a good 4, a really tight start into the 40 min beat punching the tide, and despite starting at the Committee end punched the tide past quite a few to the lesser tidal flow, where some had started on port, rounded the pin and took the shorter route though less wind. Plenty of breeze on the downhill, a few rollers to mix it up and plenty of chop. The Aero’s were making the most of the bigger sail and pulled ahead. On the uphill, the D-Zeros came back hard, with some place swopping between David and Ben chasing Tim hard. Last run and the Aeros had pulled ahead though not by much. One Aero decided he was a tad warm and put it in to cool off, or that was the excuse. Close racing meant there were plenty to watch and comment within a few yards of each other – well, it was an Aero !. Rounding the leeward, a shortish beat to the finish, and I managed to outdrag Ben, a lighter sailor, to the finish by a couple of inches. Grey boats must be faster than Black or White !
1- Phil McCoy – Aero, 2- Tom Kennedy – Aero, 3- Tom Tredray – Aero. Followed by 4 DZ’s
Tired after 2 back to back 2 hour races, Thursday was hard getting out of bed, let alone gaining a beach office; however good wind was forecast ,maybe going to a F5 so porridge and bananas (sorry, BAN-AN-NA ! Said in a minion voice) and the boat was rigged and ready to play. A strong tide running with a strong south westerly made a tricky start. Some pushed to the pin end though only port was a viable option, though others spread along the line. I chose the Committee boat end and slowly drifted down part of the line till the gun. The pin-enders seemed to getting advantage, crabbing across the start or port fly and quick tacks, though were held in the lesser wind rounding the large sand dunes to the south. Punching the tide, I took the longer route though in plenty of breeze, flew across to the lesser tidal route and overtook a few of the pin-enders on the tack. Keeping close to shore and through a few breakers, made it to the windward in 2nd with a great reach to the corner mark. An Aero close on my tail with a younger sailor, meant a tight battle down the next couple of legs. At the leeward, the Aero had snuck past though was still in touch for the uphill, where the DZ pounced again and chased Tim hard up the beat. More tough downwind battles fighting off the Aero though couldn’t hold him off and he got past. Despite everything I had left in my legs, I couldn’t quite get him on the beat and he finished a few yards ahead.
1- Tim Weeden – Zero, 2- Tom Kennedy – Aero, 3- David Valentine – Zero
The last day beckoned and yours truly had decided enough of this cold weather and a sailing holiday in Greece beckoned (see Photo) (I may have said to a few that this was my second Greece trip in August, not sure, though so I’ll say it again just in case !?!?) I was a little sad to go, only a little, as it was touch n go as to whether I could hold by 4th place after 2 discards, so it was a sleepless night though not for the sailing, it was a 2am drive to the airport !
Apparently the race was uneventful in lighter breeze, with the usual mix of Aeros good downwind, Zeros better upwind.
1- Ben Oakley – Zero, 2- Tom Kennedy – Zero, 3-Tim Weeden – Zero
Overall some very close racing usually within a few metres of each others, sometimes by a few inches. Great fun, plenty of post-race entertainment with bands and discos, and lots and lots of banter !
Roll on 2018 – its the 13th – 17th August 2018 if you wish to come and join us !
|1st||Aero9 – 999||Phil McCoy||3.0||1.0||1.0||(15.0 DNF)||(15.0 DNF)||5.0|
|2nd||D-Zero – 186||Tim Weeden||2.0||(6.0)||(4.0)||1.0||3.0||6.0|
|3rd||Aero9 – 1090||Tom Kennedy||(4.0)||(2.0)||2.0||2.0||2.0||6.0|
|4th||D-Zero – 66||David Valentine||(7.0)||3.0||5.0||3.0||(15.0 DNC)||11.0|
|5th||Aero9 – 1634||Tom Tredray||(5.0)||(8.0)||3.0||4.0||4.0||11.0|
|6th||D-Zero – 176||Ben Oakley||(6.0)||5.0||6.0||(15.0 DNF)||1.0||12.0|
|7th||Aero9 – 1078||Hugh Kennedy||(9.0)||4.0||(8.0)||5.0||5.0||14.0|
|8th||Aero9 – 1231||Tim Bilbrough||10.0||7.0||(15.0 DNF)||6.0||(15.0 DNC)||23.0|
|9th||D-Zero – 135||Langstone SC||(15.0 DNF)||(12.0)||10.0||8.0||6.0||24.0|
|10th||D-Zero – 121||Scott Derham||8.0||9.0||7.0||(15.0 DNC)||(15.0 DNC)||24.0|
|11th||D-Zero – 133||Jez Adams||(15.0 DNF)||11.0||9.0||7.0||(15.0 DNC)||27.0|
|12th||D-Zero – 102||Peter McCoy||1.0||(15.0 DNC)||(15.0 DNC)||15.0 DNC||15.0 DNC||31.0|
|13th||D-Zero – Devoti Zero||Simon Boylin||11.0||10.0||(15.0 DNF)||(15.0 DNC)||15.0 DNC||36.0|
|14th||Aero9 – 1637||Greg Bartlett||(15.0 DNC)||(15.0 DNF)||15.0 DNF||15.0 DNC||15.0 DNC||45.0|