Itchenor Sailing Club

Itchenor Sailing Club Schools Week

Schools Championships was started in 1953 under the name of The Public Schools Firefly Invitation Championships. Its aim was to promote inter-schools sailing competition and the encouragement of young sailors. There was a very attractive winning school prize of a complete Fairey Firefly 12ft dinghy; probably a first of such a large scale prize in the UK. This was a pioneering idea of Colin Chichester-Smith and Charles Currey both of the dinghy manufacturing company Fairey Marine. They both sailed International 14 footers at that time from Itchenor and asked the Club to run the event which soon became a UK prestigious match.

Fairey Marine went on to present a complete Firefly until 1971…..some 19 years. To reduce their financial commitment in later years Ratsey & Lapthorne, the sole sail makers, presented the sails. The Firefly first prize was replaced in 1972 by today's engraved plate The Sir Richard Fairey Challenge Trophy

Leading facts and changes in the history have been:

The 12ft National Firefly was the single-handed boat in the 1948 Olympic Games in Torquay, Devon, UK.

In its second year, 1954, there were 40 entries, and since then an average of 35 has been maintained. During the 50 years some 90 plus different British Schools have participated.

In the early years the compulsory rule of both crews having to alternate per race in the helmsman position was dropped and is now no longer part of the event rules.

Itchenor Sailing Club members, especially in the early days before the schools purchased boats, loaned their own Fireflies. The members also throughout its history have accommodated all competitors and sailing masters in the Club and in their private homes.

The extension of the invitation to all schools and allowing more than one entry per school.

Dolphin Computers, the only event sponsor, assisted the event for a few years.

In 1985 the change of boat from Fireflies to International 420s to encourage the development and fun of schools using a spinnaker and trapeze boat.

Lenham Dinghies from Spain and Tani Bassadone presented a complete International 420 to the winning school boat in 1997.

The Astral Trophy was presented for the first all-girl crew.

Teams from USA schools also participated in late 90's and early 2000's. They were over in the UK participating in other International school/university events.

Lasers Radials, as a single handed boat, was included as a separate class in the 1997, 1998 and 1999 event. This did not catch on.

The format was changed in year 2000 to include 2 days of training prior to the event. This proved popular and produced a higher standard and closer racing throughout the fleet of very varying school abilities.

The format of the event is now to have one day of training followed by two days of fleet racing with Fireflies and International 420’s. The race format is adjusted year by year to best fit the aims of the schools each year, but typically comprises a number of back-to-back races to encourage good boat handling and fast learning for less experienced sailors whilst maintaining a high standard of competition at the top of the fleet.

In recent years the event has been sponsored by MTGY(details at

In 2012 the regatta celebrated its 60th running, with 36 Fireflies and 19 International 420’s from 20 schools.

Previous winners have included double Gold Medallist and Silver medallist Rodney Pattisson, double Silver Medallist Ian Walker and International sailor Phil Crebbin




Friday 18th April
18 to 30s Party

Saturday 26th April

Tracy Edwards MBE. Tracy skippered the first all ladies crew in the 1989 Whitbread, becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year award. She later broke 7 world records with her all female Maxi multihull, Royal Sun Alliance. She is now a much sought after motivational speaker. Come and share her life and her adventures. This will be a special evening with a delicious two course meal and coffee. Numbers limited so book early. £25 per person. Talk and dinner at 7.30pm.

ISC Summer party

Following the success of last year we are once again organising an ISC Summer Party which promises to be even bigger and better than before.

We have just booked the band Urban Central, a fantastic five-piece pop rock band who cover some of the greatest party floor-fillers from the 60s to 2000s.

They have recorded with Toyah, The Average White Band, Richard Cottle, Bucks Fizz, The Sweet, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others.

Book now for an evening of wonderful food, great company and the chance to dance your socks off. Price to be confirmed.

Don't forget to look at our Photo Gallery page for more images

Junior Fortnight 2013, Day 9. Images: Mary Pudney




Racing Season Begins
29th March

Fitting Out Supper
12th April

Points Week XOD/Sunbeam
16 - 20th June

Junior Schools Regatta
23rd - 24th June

Schools Championship
25th - 27th June

Dinghy Fest
12th - 13th July

Mirror Training Week 1 –
14th - 18th July

Mirror Training Week 2 –
21st - 25th July

Junior Fortnight Week 1 –
28th July – 1st August

Junior Fortnight Week 2 –
4th - 8th August

ISC Regatta
16th August

ISC Club Day
23rd August

Points Week Swallows
25th - 29th August

Laying Up Supper
25th October

8th-9th November