Storm Petrel & Grethe Fly The Flag In Bosham

Whilst the majority of the BOD fleet were enjoying the short sharp racing of the mini series here in Brightlingsea, Storm Petrel and Grethe were enjoying some short sharp racing of their own down in Bosham.  For the second year running the BOD fleet was represented at the Bosham Classic Boat Revival which this year was raced on 5 and 6 September and featured more than 60 wonderful classic dinghies of all shapes and sizes.

IMG_3913Bosham is one of the most beautiful sailing club venues in the world (it’s in the middle of a National Trust village and even has a meadow!) and Chichester Harbour provides perfect BOD river racing conditions with the spectacular South Downs as a backdrop – it’s a little bit like running racing in the area around Brightlingsea, Pyefleet and Alresford Creeks to give those of you who haven’t been yet some idea. This year Saturday brought stronger northerly winds which were very shifty and gusty and three terrific triangle/sausage race.  Sunday initially looked like it might turn into a hot sunny but airless wash out, but just as the warning signal went for the first start at noon a glorious sea breeze kicked in and instead we got two more fantastic triangle/sausage races, this time with mark roundings to starboard for a bit of added excitement.

IMG_3728Last year the BODs had dominated the event with our five boats filling places 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7.  Whilst of course we all sailed beautifully, even we had to admit that in the ideal BOD conditions of Chichester Harbour perhaps our Brightlingsea estuary sailing based PY number was a little too advantageous.  This year they dropped us down a bit and it helped to promote some really close racing with several other very well sailed boats.  Sadly they did adjust our handicap quite enough to push us into the “fast” fleet where we would have raced against the Classic National 18s and Chichester Harbour 18s, but the change did ensure we had to work our socks off and got great racing against some brilliantly sailed Fireflies, Yachting World Dayboats and Enterprises, plus a Torbay Minnow, a Christchurch Coot and an Emsworth One Design.

IMG_3503C54 Storm Petrel was sailed by her usual crew of Alan Hicks, Craig and Jayne Bond and C51 Grethe was sailed by Fi Brown, Mike Stannard, who many of you met when he sailed with Gritter and Fi during Pyefleet Week this year, and Peter Jones, who had crewed for Fi in Bosham last year.  Whilst the smaller boats could hold the BODs on the first beats where short tacking up the shore against the tide was the order of the day throughout the weekend, once we hoisted our kites downwind we began to stretch away and ultimately the BODs largely match raced their way around the course.  Two of the Fireflies and one of the Yachting World Day Boats were particularly quick so we still had to be careful not to get so caught up in our own battles that we let them make significant ground but essentially it was head to head all weekend.

By the end of the first day and with three races in the bag top FD sailor Will Henderson sailing a beautiful Firefly with his wife Mandy was leading the fleet on 7 points with 2014 Firefly National Champion Paul Kameen crewed by Claire Jones in his Firefly second on 9 points.  A single point behind them was Grethe with Storm Petrel fourth on 11.5 points, and David and Fiona Macfarlane’s Yachting World Dayboat one point back in fifth.

With all to play for on the last day the fleet really went for it with plenty of start line drama on the very short lines and some frenetic tacking up the banks against the flooding tide.  With the wind down a little the Fireflies and Enterprises were more nimble and able to roll tack more efficiently so it was harder work for the BODs to get clear air on the water.  Paul Kameen’s Firefly took race 4 with Storm Petrel second and Grethe third and Will Henderson’s Firefly fourth.  Going into the final race the two Fireflies could not be beaten, but with just half a point now separating them and the Macfarlane’s YW Day Boat hard on their heels Grethe and Storm Petrel were in for a big showdown.

And what a show down it turned out to be with the two BODs trading places on almost every tack and gybe and the Macfarlanes giving it their all.  On the line Paul Kameen and Claire Jones took their third win of the regatta and discarded a sixth place to claim overall victory. Will and Mandy Henderson had their worst result of the regatta and immediately discarded their sixth, place but had still done enough to secure second overall.  Second in the race were the Macfarlanes but up ahead the two BODs had crossed the line almost bow to bow with less than a foot between them on the line so the results were too close to call afloat.  Back ashore the scoring team got to work and revealed that Storm Petrel had just pipped Grethe on the line meaning both had finished the regatta on 12 points with Storm Petrel taking third place thanks to a half point advantage in their discards.  Grethe took fourth and the Macfarlanes fifth.

IMG_4054Whilst the racing was outstanding its only a small part of what this event is all about.  Seeing such a wonderful array of Classic dinghies and day boats together is a truly glorious sight and Bosham Sailing Club and the event organisers do a fantastic job of attracting both locals and travelling visitors to the event.  It’s incredibly friendly with competitors always keen to talk about their boats and the club team could not be more helpful.  Particular mention must go to Regatta Chairman Andrew Young, BSC Bosun Gavin King and his team who really went above and beyond the call of duty to help the BODs, Steve and Jane in the BSC office, all the team behind the bar and in the galley, Bosham Harbour Master Mike McGrail and of course the Race Officer and his team on the water.

IMG_4077After two great days of racing and two fun evenings of partying the event closed with a superb afternoon tea prepared by the ladies of the club and the prize giving in glorious sunshine on the club terrace.

Throughout the weekend the BODs had been drawing admiring comments from fellow sailors and members of the public alike and lots of people stopped to chat to us about the boats and ask questions.

It’s great to get the BODs out and about so that a wider audience can appreciate them so we hope to continue sending teams to Bosham and other events around the country and even further afield so help spread the BOD word.  After last year’s transport teething problems this year moving the boats went like clockwork and we really have some good systems and arrangements in place to make going on tour very easy.  If anyone would like to go to Bosham in 2016 (date tbc but likely to be first weekend of September) or has ideas for other classic or traditional regattas that the BODs could attend please contact Fi on fiona.brown@fionabrown.com with details and she will help with coordination and communication.

Our thanks to event photographer Chris Hatton for the great images accompanying this article.

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