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Home / News / 31 May 2017: Swallow News
Home / News / 31 May 2017: Swallow News

31 May 2017: Swallow News

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Published 14:23 on 31 May 2017

The Norman Moore Trophy has been raced for at Itchenor Sailing Club every year since 1953, and over the years has grown in importance to become the premier home event for the National Swallow Class. As several owners and some boats are currently 'off games', a slightly diminished fleet of 17 boats gathered on Saturday morning in a solid 20-25 knots of breeze and sunshine for the first of five races.

Swift, having recovered Jeremy Sibthorp by his feet following a pre-start crash gybe to avoid a Swallow contretemps ahead, went on to open their score sheet with a win. Gwaihir lost a good initial lead but held off Echo to take second place.
By the two races in the afternoon Charlie Hartley, son of skipper James Hartley, had been substituted for the somewhat bruised and wet Jeremy and Swift was back to business but by then the Gwaihir team had recovered their form and posted back to back wins. In race two Christine Graves's team Skua, helmed by Chris Creak was second, followed by Swift then Tony Glover's Darter. Race three saw the same first two with Bluff, taking the last podium place ahead of Migrant. The course congestion as the fleet caught up the XOD fleet at marks where the favoured mark exit crossed the incoming fleet was exciting but all part of racing in Chichester Harbour.

The club was full in the evening as the current fleet and many past Swallow sailors gathered for a Gala Dinner to Celebrate 70 years since the formation of the class in 1947 in preparation for its featuring in the 1948 Olympics.

Sunday was to be a very different sort of sailing. PRO Phillip Pascall managed to find a zephyr of breeze to start race four but with its 40 degree shifts and vagaries of strength there were plenty of traps for the unwary. The race was initially led by National Swallow Class chairman Malcolm Green sailing Archon but it was Bluff who eventually won with Echo taking the third. Gwaihir were pleased that there would now be a discard score allowed as otherwise would have posted a very large total! The afternoon brought torrential rain but still hardly any wind so at 1500 the excellent race management team brought out the "N" flag and all were towed home for tea and prize giving.

The final result was
1st Gwaihir. Mike Wigmore, Mark Struckett and Charles Hyatt
2nd Swift. James Hartley, Rob Sutherland, Jeremy Sibthorp and Ian Tillett.
3rd Bluff. Hugo Fisher, Nigel Masding and Richard House.
4th Echo. Simon Slater, George Miller, & James Cunnison.
5th Skua. Christine Graves. Chris Creak, David Maclean, Robin Knott and Nick Boyd.

Full results here

Swallow 70th Gala Dinner Photos.

Photos c/o Kirsty Bang.

Would you like to race a Swallow? The sponsored 'ready to race' spare Swallow is available for visiting guests to use at Itchenor SC Points Week 12-16 June, the Swallow Championships weekend at Cowes 15-16 July and Cowes Classics regatta 17-21st July. Contact to book.

Points Week Social Events.

Please book your social events for Points Week. After all their hard work the organisers need the reassurance that you are going to be there! The programme is here.

Bembridge here. Saturday 3rd June.

The Mermaids and BODs visit us again this Saturday and as usual some of them would like to swap one of our crews, who are supposed to know their way around the harbour!, with one of theirs. If you would like to pre-volunteer please contact Marcus Irwin-Brown at <>

Otherwise the swaps will be arranged over lunch on Saturday so be prepared to put your hand up then.

Trip to Bembridge. Sunday 4th June.

Don't forget our trip to Bembridge on Sunday 4th June. Tony is the contact for this trip to the other side of the pond for lunch. The start time is 09.50 so don't be late and bring suitable gear, and safety gear, for a day at sea.

(N) Moore Brass Tacks

Typical to lose the fine weather just in time for the weekend (and after the CC had promised wall to wall sunshine too!). Who didn't feel cold at some point whilst wind, rain and salt water destroyed our make up?
Spare a thought for Jeremy Sibthorp though. Ejected from Swift in a crash gybe avoidance manoeuvre, but thoughtfully with the mainsheet still wrapped round his foot, he was being towed along at 7 knots whilst observing the underwater marine life all around before James and Rob managed to grab both booted feet and bring the spluttering Jeremy back on board. They then went on to win the race! Minus glasses and with a wee bump on his forehead Jeremy and the rest of the team were in fine form at the dinner later.
Gwaihir's lead at Dunes after just one windward leg of R1 was huge. How could they possibly have lost it? Got into the right gear later in the day though.
The strong spring tide was evil at Dunes. Skua with Robin Nott driving, clobbered it on both laps losing many places in the process. Long keels and long faces and they weren't alone.
Echo's secret weapon: James Cunnison brilliant sailor, boat techie, athlete and wise guy. Well with Jonathan as his father and guru you would sort of expect it.
Full marks to the displaced Blue Tit team trying Svala out for size - just 2up in 20+ knots. They were more up than down too.
Other boats on the up: Charles P got Cockersootie going nicely with his scratch crew and Chris Creak (he enjoys a blow) got Skua a well-earned 2nd in the first b2B race after a bit of nifty mark rounding inside a melee of other boats.
Harlequin had a nice new jib on well it was when the racing started.
Welcome warmth and sunlight for the drinkies in Malcolm's garden. The senior guest contingent looked very much more youthful than the jaded sailors.
Beware Archon in the light stuff they almost won the Sunday morning lottery but Bluff was eventually victorious in this snakes and ladders contest.

SWALLOW NEWS - 2nd May 2017

Posted 22nd May 2017

Last call for the Swallow 70th Anniversary Gala Dinner.

This event is now only five days away and final arrangements and table plans are being made NOW. If you have not got your tickets yet then please book with the club office TODAY. Tony would also appreciate a note on his EMAIL HERE as he has the thankless job of finalizing the table plan.

And of course next weekend is the Norman Moore Trophy. Our unofficial in-harbour Club Championship. The advance forecast is wall to wall sunshine and a force three to four. What more could we possibly want.

Team racing match; Itchenor Swallows v the Oxford and Cambridge Sailing Society.

It was like the Americas Cup in 2013. At lunch the visitors needed only one more win to take the trophy, and had four races in which to do it, but your trusty Itchenor Swallows team had other ideas. Four back to back wins in the afternoon for the Itchenor Swallows secured the win, the first since 2011.

The Itchenor Swallows Team. Malcolm Green, Simon Slater (Capt), Mike Wigmore, Chris Creak, Nigel Masding and Kit Glover who unfortunately missed the photo.

Trip to Bembridge. Sunday 4th June.

Don't forget our trip to Bembridge on Sunday 4th June. Tony is the contact for this trip to the other side of the pond for lunch.

SWALLOW NEWS - Mid May 2017

Posted 15th May 2017

Ponder Trophy report.

It was one of those difficult calls. To Dunes in race one, leg one, of the three race, all to count, Ponder Trophy. Do we go right and cheat the tide around Pilsey Island or all the way round the left and through the anchorage at East Head. The answer was left with Swift, Marengo and Migrant fighting it out but a lucky shift brought Gwaihir in from the right at the last moment to lead by a boat length which they immediately squandered with a "kite on the wrong side" hoist leaving Swift to romp to the well-deserved win. The shortened course after one lap caught a few out but Marengo secured the last podium place.

By now the sun was out, and a solid 15-20 knot South Westerly was in, giving champagne sailing conditions for all. Race two should have been simpler with a first beat to East Head but Swift had other ideas when threading (or not!) a Swallow through an Int14 size gap in the fleet from a port tack start. The consensus was that the rule should say take a 360deg. penalty for each boat infringed, but if that was the case they would have missed tea by the time they finished! The race unfolded with a tight battle for second taken by Swift with Solitude third.

PRO Nigel Pattison and his team couldn't resist the temptation to include a couple of reaches in his course for the final race so the scene was set for another Swift/Gwaihir decider. Mark Struckett dodged several boats to deliver a perfect boat end start for Gwaihir and elected to go right again. Skua helmed by Dave Maclean led the left side in a tight battle but in the end the first three boats including Darter and Migrant came from the right. After a few more beats and runs Gwaihir took the race to secure the trophy. Swift came in third to take the runner up position and Chris Fox sailing Migrant with, 'new to Swallow Sailing' Francesca Leaver in his crew was second to give them third overall. Full results HERE.

A great days sailing in fine conditions. Some didn't like the 3b2b format first used successfully for one day events last autumn so a straw poll at the autumn class meeting will decide if we stick to this format for the Reach and Finella in October.

National Championships NOR and Entry Form.

The details and documents for the Swallow National Championships to be hosted this year by the RLYC at Cowes 15/16 July can now be found HERE.

Points Week Social Programme.

Here it is. Book early to help the organisers please.

Outside Harbour. Sunday 21st May.

Those of you who are not involved in the annual team racing match v. the O&CSS this Sunday may wish to hone your sea sailing skills by taking part in club racing which that day will consist of a race out to Bracklesham Bay, one or two short races out there, and then a race back. If you are interested please try to contact the club office before the day or at least let George know on the day. Don't forget to sign out, take your Omega course card, your VHF radio and your sandwiches!

Trip to Bembridge. Sunday 4th June.

Calling all frustrated offshore sailors! Along with the XOD's we are going to return the favour of the Bembridge SC visit to Itchenor the previous day to make a sprint visit there for lunch. The IH start is at 09.50 to optimise the tides both in and out of the harbour - and later on and after lunch they work nicely for our return. This is both a fun trip and a way to ensure your Swallow is ship-shape for Solent adventures later on this summer. Please let Tony Glover ( know that you will be taking part. In the event the weather or sea conditions are not suitable we will give advance notice and substitute an alternative.

A flavour of Wednesday evening racing

We were all made to line up against the wall, sort of in-line dating, and then paired off except that every boat seemed to have three despite the intention of having as many 2up boats as possible on the start line. So let's introduce Tamsin: she walks the dogs at daybreak on East Head, plays tennis, canoes around the harbour looking for seals, fits in some work and then pitches up as a (rather skilled as it turns out) guest crew who with the distant benefit of some dinghy sailing quickly adapts to roll-tacking a Swallow. All this served Svala very well as with Mike at the helm they escaped the attentions of a port tack Cockersootie on the start line to sail off into the distance. Except it's not over until they shorten the course and Gwaihir with a guest helm slips along the other bank and into the lead when it mattered. Tamsin would have thought it too easy if she had won on her maiden outing so obviously wants to come back for more. Of course the sun shone, there was a pleasant F2, the harbour was empty and our numbers were up (ok only to 4 but at this exponential growth rate we will have 15 by mid-summer). Then we had another good and reasonably-priced meal. When are you coming?

Pondering a Brass tack

It was classic first leg which bank shall we go decision-making in each of the three races. Each time the two main protaganists, and half the fleet with them, went on opposite banks en route to the windward marks variously O/H/JD. How was it that Gwaihir (with Mark driving throughout) got it right each and every time? Does their speed mask what might not have been the right call?
Swift actually won the opener and is nibbling ever closer to Gwaihir's supremacy, particularly in a breeze. Marengo has yet to recapture her Championship speed possibly because David Sloper had jumped ship and was sailing on Swift!
Wonderful sailing conditions over both days - and a fearsome tide which made for some interesting snakes and ladders mark roundings.
Some mutterings that the girls were 'disadvantaged' by having 3xb2b races and quick turn-rounds too (well done PRO Nigel Pattison). It's not the first time of course and the breeze made a quick visit to BV impractical. On the water for a smidge under 5 hours is certainly different. To be further considered?
Those of you who do not have reason to visit Haines may not have seen the 'naked' Blue Tit. Naked in that the underwater gel has been removed and the lay-up can be observed in it's somewhat unglamorous state. Swift also had the treatment this last winter.
Rules observation was sadly lacking in some (close) quarters. We have always prided ourselves on doing the right thing but protests cannot be far away if this trend continues.
When is it time to introduce that new mainsail which has been waiting in the wings. When you don't win all three races?!

SWALLOW NEWS - Early May 2017

Posted 6th May 2017

The Belgique Plate Report.

The Royal Yacht Club de Belgique Plate was a hard contested affair on the 30/31st April. The fleet was not huge but the races were tight and with the unusual format of two full length back to back races the energy and concentration needed sustaining.

In race one, after a short first beat, race officer John Ford sent the fleet on a navigation course around the edge of a number of sandbanks to Channel where a good beat, run, beat could be achieved. Swift, Migrant and Gwaihir fought it out but Swift missed a mark out, a theme you will see recurring, and Chris Fox didn't defend his narrow lead allowing Gwaihir to slip in at the finish.

There was no time for the promised sandwich break before we were all away for a second race. This time the transit leg to the west of the Harbour provided options and the rhumb line of Swift proved best by a boat length to Gwaihir's route of up and through the moorings at East Head whilst the Harbormaster wasn't looking. Swift continued to pull out a good lead before, you guessed it, she led the fleet to Pivot instead of Runway. Migrant was the first to divert taking the lead with Gwaihir holding off Echo to the end.

During the day, one Swallow, whose owner shall remain nameless, seemed to be bonding with a harbour navigation mark. A Sunbeam caught the new Creek Post with her backstay, damaging the post and dismasting the Sunbeam, just as had been pointed out to the posts providers when a cross top mark was insisted on. The destroyer of the green braced pole marking the island between the goal posts and Astra is still unknown. A bit of a demolition day really but softened by a convivial supper at the club in the evening enjoyed by all.

With 24 knot winds gusting to 30+ forecast for Sunday, only the Swallow fleet would show up wanting to race! The Sunbeams cancelled over dinner the night before and only one XOD made it to the start area. Five Swallow crews mustered and three made it to the start area with conditions were much as forecast with gusts to 32 Knots. Gwaihir marked the location of the missing green post by parking on the island for a while before the start. John Ford this time had a brilliant plan setting a triangle with surfing reaches which were too tight for spinnaker thus saving us all the embarrassment of messing up in a big way with our kites. Half way up the second beat whilst locked in a match race with Gwaihir, Swifts entire jib blew off her forestay ending her day. Echo and Gwaihir finished but decided that enough fun had been had after one race and it was time to go home. A day to remember.
Results are HERE.

Swallows on a Wednesday. First race report from this week.

It was exactly HW, the NNE wind made its presence felt immediately and the temperature was well cool.

The entire fleet was right on the line at the gun in the puffy breeze, in the case of Svala right over (our esteemed CC helming OCS for the second time in two Svala races must practice more). Gwaihir (helmed by the Commodore no less) promptly hitched into a useful lift on the way to Wear and though Svala was pressing the leader at the finish that was basically it (helped by some superb spi work by Mr Struckett Snr). Echo (mast down and back up twice before the race) and with a guest helm (who could not quite get to grips with the toe-straps but managed to stay onboard, started strongly but faded when Svala applied pressure to windward and the guest crew demonstrated unexpectedly superior spi drops. A good course and all over in an hour followed by excellent roast duck at a sensible price.

OK every boat got a podium place, the harbour was empty, the sun shone briefly, the worst excesses of the forecast never happened and the XOD's speak the same language. What's not to like? And it can only get better as many others have promised to join us in the coming weeks.

Club and Class Open Day Sunday 7TH May 2017.

The organisation of our Guest day this Sunday is coming together. We have some guests and we have some boats but we are short of other crews and maybe even a helm so if you are available on Sunday can you please email Tom, Mike & Christine to let us know. The link HERE might work!

Try a Swallow.

Svala is now taken for the Norman Moore and is getting good use as part of the clubs new keelboat training programme. She is however still available for Points Week and the Championships. Who do you know who might like to take her? We are keen that she is out on the race course.

Last updated 16:24 on 5 August 2021

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