All posts by Matthew Wright

Fate of WSSYSA Annual Regatta to be reviewed in July

The WSSYSA Executive Committee continues to meet regularly to discuss the running of the Annual Regatta at Cobnor in September as planned and to make all necessary arrangements on the basis that it will proceed.

However, we will continue to monitor guidance provided by the Government, the RYA, educational and outdoor activity organisations to determine whether the event may go ahead safely. A final go/no-go decision will be made at the end of July and communicated promptly on this website and directly to all member organisations.

WSSYSA Early Season Regatta cancelled

Perhaps not unexpectedly, the WSSYSA Early Season Regatta scheduled for Saturday 13th June at Arun Youth Aqua Centre, Littlehampton, has had to be cancelled due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic and lockdown conditions. We look forward to supporting a similar event in 2021!

Slow handicap regatta beats weather at Pagham

The forecast didn’t bode well, but despite the promise of strong wind and rain 15 young sailors from four different clubs joined together at Pagham Yacht Club on Saturday 15th June for a new event in the WSSYSA Calendar – a Slow Handicap Regatta.

With experienced weather watchers at Arun and Felpham the verdict was “no chance of sailing”. But at Pagham just a few miles west the conditions were excellent for racing! A good breeze but certainly manageable, even without a reef for most.

So, after a race briefing by the race officer, Ross Fisher from Felpham SC, the four safety teams set off to lay the trapezoid course with a start line off the club. The mixed fleet of Laser 4.7s, Teras, Toppers, Fevas and a Pico all launched successfully with the help of an experienced beach team and all was ready for the first race. Then during the five minutes to the start a sudden squall came through that tested sailors and safety crew alike. Visibility from the race office ashore plunged to very little, with comments being raised about the lack of wipers blades on the windows! By the time the first Laser (Miles Vidler from Crawley Mariners YC) had reached the first mark the squall had passed but both Chloe Robinson (Pagham YC) and Samson Cross (Crawley Mariners YC) in Toppers and Anna Collins and Joe Markworth in a Feva struggled and subsequently retired from the first race. After just that one squall the wind gods behaved themselves and the rain held off sufficiently long for four races to be completed.

Miles proved to be the one to beat showing mastery of his Laser 4.7 both on the upwind leg and on the awesome reaches. He achieved bullets in every race with the two following 4.7s of Jack Goodland and Zak Smith (both from Pagham YC) constantly vying for position, perhaps losing ground against Miles by chasing each other around the course — they certainly had a great day testing each other to see who could be fastest.

In the second race Mia Gray (Tera Sport) and Josh James (Topper 4.2), both of Felpham SC, were both over the start line by a huge margin. A prompt from a safety boat encouraged them to turn back from half way up the first beat to re-cross the line. Josh did this and went on the post a sixth place but Mia didn’t quite back track far enough so did not conform with the correct starting procedure. Rules is rules so she posted a DSQ on Race 2. Meanwhile the Laser trio blasted through to take the top three places closely followed by Edwin Cross (Crawley Mariners YC) with the best result of his day in fourth place.

Race 3 saw a rested Samson in his Topper bravely get back sailing after his DNF (with downwind shore recovery) and DNS in Race 2. Well done, Samson!

The first three races were timed to be around 30 minutes for the lead dinghy, but the last race was reduced to two laps and 20 mins as the weather was closing in.

One factor affecting all racers was the strong tidal flow east to west. Many competitors made a huge arc in going from mark 3 to mark 4 having not taken sufficient account of the effect of the flow. Only one racer (Josh) made a consistent straight track between these marks. A learning point for everyone else!

Four races completed on a decidedly grotty day was quite an achievement, so a big thanks to the race officer and his team, safety crews and the beach team for a smoothly run and fun day. The kitchen crew were also busy supplying hot drinks and hot food.

A big thanks to Vicky Collins (Rear Commodore Sailing, Pagham YC) for organising the event and to Pagham YC for hosting it. And big thanks too to the parents who hauled their children and dinghies over to Pagham.

The prizes were awarded in two age groups as follows:

1st – Miles Vidler, Laser 4.7 (Crawley Mariners YC)
2nd – Zak Smith, Laser 4.7 (Pagham YC)
3rd – Jack Goodland, Laser 4.7 (Pagham YC)

1st – Joshua James, Topper 4.2 (Felpham SC)
2nd – Edwin Cross, Topper (Crawley Mariners YC)
3rd – Mia Gray, Tera Sport (Felpham SC)

Team Race Taster Success

The winning Bosham team racers!

A team racing event hosted by WSSYSA at Bosham SC combined coaching and racing to give over 30 sailors and coaches a taste of a popular alternative to club fleet racing.

The event, which took place at Bosham SC on Monday 6th May, drew teams from Worthing SC, Crawley Mariners YC, Thorney Island SC and the hosts to battle it out in a two Fevas vs two Fevas format with the team whose boat finishes last losing.

Matt Wright from WSSYSA was on hand to provide coaching on boat speed and handling, and visiting coach and team racer Paul Kameen provided tactical coaching and on-the-water feedback. Event Director, Nick Rusbridge, provided sailors and attending coaches with  an overview of event management and an introduction to on-the-water umpiring.

With a fair wind and plenty of help from the team supporters, the teams completed a round robin and went on to sail seven races against opposition. Medals for podium places were awarded to: 1st, Bosham; 2nd, Crawley Mariners; 3rd, Worthing.

Many thanks are due to the teams attending for providing equipment and their time and helping to make it happen. Feedback from the teams was positive, and WSSYSA is looking to run a similar event towards the end of the year.

Update – Pagham YC regatta

The website has been updated to include the Notice of Race and Entry Form for the Pagham YC- WSSYSA Open Youth Regatta, which this year replaces the Topper Traveller of previous years.

The event takes place on Saturday 15th June at  Pagham YC and is tailored towards slow-fleet racing – entry is open to all dinghies with a PY of not less than 1207 (this includes Laser 4.7, Feva, Tera, Topper and Pico, for example).

The event is very reasonably priced at £5 per single-hander and £7.50 per double-hander and we’re hoping for a bumper turn-out.

Come along and join in the fun! Details on the website

RYA L&SE regional instructor training – 2019

The London and South East region is offering a host of instructor training opportunities in 2019 covering sailing, windsurfing and powerboating (see link below). So if you can’t find locally the training opportunity you’re looking for, why not consider something a little further afield – and take the chance to see how things are done in other clubs?

Bookings via Simon Winkley at, or online

RYA L&SE instructor training 2019

WSSYSA Youth Training Fund 2018

The WSSYSA has been established for many years and is well known for its provision of youth training events, formerly sail training and latterly racing events including the flagship WSSYSA Regatta, all aimed to encourage young people to participate in sailing in West Sussex. As its affiliate members, mainly sailing clubs and organisations, have developed and become more self sufficient, the demand for WSSYSA activity at a local level has diminished and the Management Committee has decided to offer Youth Bursaries to encourage young sailors to progress their personal development in racing or sail training.

Bursaries are available to promising young sailors younger than 19 years on September 8th in the year of the award to support their racing beyond club level or nationally recognised training activity. The bursary is intended to provide modest financial assistance to the sailors to support on going participation in racing events like Youth Nationals, RYA ranking events or selection for teams representing GBR or the RYA at international level. It could include participation at such events or sustained coaching activities or attendance at national programmes in furtherance of the development of their talent. It does not include attendance at home club organised activities. Equally it could be used to support sail training activity, for example, attendance on a RYA Instructor or Senior Instructor course.

The recipients are expected to provide a return to their sponsoring club/organisation by contributing to the development of youth sailing sailing from where they came. So candidates should indicate how they will provide such return support in order to encourage their peers and junior colleagues to participate in similar activities in the future. Candidates will need to specify how the bursary is to be spent, potentially identifying personal goals/targets, which will need to be verified and endorsed by the sponsoring club or organisation.

The number of the awards is limited and is determined by the Management Committee of the WSSYSA. In 2018, up to 7 awards of £300 each could be potentially made.

The timescale for 2018:
  • May 1st: Launch of 2018 bursaries on WSSYSA website
  • July 14th: Closing date for entries for 2018 bursaries
  • September 8th: Presentation of bursaries at WSSYSA Regatta

Applications maybe made anytime during May 1st to July 14th.

The nominations should be made on the attached form and endorsed by the supporting club or organisation. No more than two awards will be made to individuals from the same club or organisation (the organisation is expected to coordinate all applications from its members and select the two most deserving for submission to WSSYSA.

WSSYSA Regatta 2017 – Results

The 2017 edition of the WSSYSA Regatta took place at Dell Quay Sailing Club on 9-10 September. Three races were completed on the Saturday in high winds but none on Sunday, due to the worsening weather conditions, thus the series comprised three races with one race to discard. As in 2016, sailors competed in four fleets: fast handicap, slow handicap (excluding Topper and Optimist), Topper, and Optimist.

Congratulations are due to the following sailors whom medalled in their respective fleets:

  • Fast: 1st – Alex Mayger (Laser Radial, Felpham SC); 2nd – Jonny Brown (Laser Radial, Arun YC); 3rd – Jack Miller (RS Aero 5, Felpham SC)
  • Slow: 1st – Jamie Dadswell & Megan Renson (RS Feva XL, AYAC); 2nd – Erin Aldis-Hobbs (Laser 4.7, Felpham SC); 3rd – Miles Vidler & Maria Townsend (RS Feva XL, Crawley Mariners YC)
  • Topper: 1st – Sam Brackley (Felpham SC); 2nd – Alfie Lester (Felpham SC); 3rd – Tom Twist (Felpham SC)
  • Optimist: 1st – Tom Dempsey (Chichester YC); Elfie Grant (Chichester YC); 3rd – Ella Jones (Dell Quay SC)

The team trophy was won by Felpham SC.

WSSYSA Regatta 2017 Results