Sussex Sailability has been taking part in Chichester Harbour Race Week held each August at Hayling Island Sailing Club for several years. Everyone was disappointed when the 2020 event had to be cancelled and so we were keen to be back with a vengeance in 2021.
A total of around 20 disabled sailors and volunteers came along over the course of the week-long event, either to race the Sussex Sailability RS Ventures in the handicap fleet or to take the opportunity to explore Chichester Harbour in the Sonar keelboats.
The beginning of the week saw torrential downpours, leaden skies and very strong winds. Fortunately, by Tuesday, the worst of the weather had past and we had a week of mainly sun and fresh sea breezes.
The RS Ventures had a very competitive battle between each other (without particularly troubling the scorers amongst the rest of the Race Week fleet). James (skippered by Gary Gathergood) had the best of the first couple of days racing, but Ollie (skippered by Chris Hodge) came back at the end of the week to leave honours even after four days of close racing.
The Sonar fleet enjoyed exploring the picturesque reaches, creeks and occasionally sandbanks of Chichester Harbour. A cruising element to the Race Week was an excellent, and serendipitous, addition to our Race Week plans – hopefully something that we can build on in future years.
Many thanks to all of the volunteers and the delivery crews who made Sussex Sailability’s participation in the Race Week possible. Notable thanks to Andy Macgregor for the donation of distinctive race week shirts.