24 Oct A Gallon of epic Proportions
A shifting 12-15kts and a slight chop greeted the fleet as they arrived at the start line 1.5miles off the Wittering shore line. The forecast predicted a strengthening breeze, shifting from its South Easterly direction to the South West and bringing rain!
The epic course involved 5 triangles and 5 sausages out at sea before turning right at the bottom mark for a 3 mile charge back into Chichester Harbour and a complete lap of the harbour finishing at the Gallon. The fleet was away with a clean start, most of the fleet heading inshore and out of the tide. At the windward mark it was Mike Lennon and Andy Partington tussling for an early lead closely followed by the rest of the fleet.
Charging down the run with the boats sailing flat out in close proximity the challenge was to call the jybe angle, Lennon and Partington looked as if they had nailed it only to discover they were heading for the wrong mark. Seizing the opportunity Dave Spragg (guest helm at the back of the Pascalis boat) rounded the leeward mark first followed by Martin Jones and Douglass Pattison. These three boats were locked together in a titanic fight which saw the lead change several times over the next few laps as a spectacular thunderstorm struck the fleet. The wind increasing and torrential rain reduced the visibility to a few hundred yards as the fleet tore round the course only mildly concerned by the proximity of the lightning strikes!
On the final rounding to start the charge for the harbour, Doug Pattison lead closely followed by James Fawcett who caught the leading group with some awesome upwind work. As the two leaders sped off in the general direction of the harbour entrance under kites, Jones rounded and swiftly dropped his kite to resume a more direct course, on seeing this, the two leaders dropped and headed up. Again, even after nearly 2 hours of hard racing, the three leaders were now neck and neck. As they entered the harbour the breeze softened and it was kites up again for an “on the edge” ride down to Emsworth before a beat all the way back to Itchenor. Pattison held his lead all the way crossing the finish having raced for two and a half hours and leaving Fawcett and Jones to battle it out in a tacking duel up the last beat.Itchenor Gallon 2007 1 1500 Douglas Pattison & Damian Ash 2 1497 Martin & Neale Jones 3 1524 James Fawcett & George Nurton 4 1496 Dave Spragg & Martin Pascal