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Chichester Chase To Finals

June 9, 2023

Chichester Chase To BKL Finals

Under 18’s Team Gelert (Llandegfedd SC (G)) smashed out the first 3 races of the Marconi BKL event to lead with two wins and a 2nd place. Proof that their pre-event training in SB20’s back in Wales and at the Warsash Spring Series was the ideal prep.

Team Chichester led by Richard Anderton (regular SB20 class sailor) rose to the challenge, and in the 13-19kts North Easterly, their additional experience took them to the top of the leader board recording 6 bullets and a 3rd place by the end of day 1.

Kites had been flown throughout the strong breeze and it became clear that downwind sail handling was key to the event, when a few races were sailed ‘no kites’, bringing the fleet much closer together as they crossed the finishing line and then headed ashore having completed 14 races on day one.

Image courtesy Pat Healey MSC

The Marconi clubs volunteer members, first time organisers of a BKL event, had done a great job on day one, and built up a crew change routine that saw the races turning around with increasing frequency as the day progressed. Both volunteers and sailors enjoyed the Apr├Ęs Sail Chilli whilst recovering from their exertions and reflecting on their performances on the River Blackwater.

The umpires had been kept busy throughout the day and whilst decisions were explained over dinner, the bosuns set about undertaking overnight boat maintenance in preparation for day two. It was reported the chat in the Royal Hospital School minibus on their way home, was all about whether their two young teams might get one over on the staff team the following day.

Sadly, after valiant efforts racing started with one less boat on Sunday morning, but through the efforts of kSail support staff both on the water and back at HQ, the schedule still worked and 27 races were sailed across the weekend.

Chichester’s lead after day one looked difficult to claw back, but the racing was even closer on day two mainly due to the Royal Hospital School sailors now becoming familiar with the SB20’s and learning from observing the kite handling techniques of the leading boats. In races 18 and 21 RHS (Pink) took two wins, beating Chichester into second place in one, and you guessed it, beating their teachers in the other.

Image courtesy Jenny Ball MSC

Team Gelert led by Harry Sims, also finished day 2 with a return to the form they had displayed at the start of the event, but this wasn’t enough to pip RHS Pink who came out winners of the under 18’s teams. All 3 young teams progressed well throughout the event and we look forward to watching their future development as keelboat racers.

The lower half of the leaderboard was extremely tight, with little difference between the teams from Banbury, Eastbourne and King George’s SC who along with RHS Purple kept kept scoring points off each other in the close sailing.

Marconi’s own team were left too much to do on day two to catch Team Chichester, but they finished of the weekend in style with 4 wins to finish 2nd overall. The full results can be found here.

Teams Chichester & Marconi are now invited to participate in the BKL final at the Royal Southern YC 29 Sept – 1 Oct.

RHS Pink are currently sitting in pole position to grab the Youth entry to the finals, but all will depend upon the average points scored by youth teams in all of the other BKL events this season.

You’ve got to be in it to win it!

We look forward to reporting from the next BKL event which will be sailed at the Royal Northern & Clyde YC on 24 -25th June.


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