Sir Henry Chisholm Trophy Weekend
Published 15:18 on 6 May 2022
The May Bank Holiday saw 19 Solent Sunbeams on the water for the fleet's first major event of the year. On Saturday morning, the Sunbeams were well-behaved and away on their first attempt in a South Westerly breeze which had taken some time to fill in. Bright sunshine and cotton wool clouds over the South Downs confirmed this was a sea breeze that was now in control over the gradient Easterly wind. The fleet were rewarded with a short sharp race that had a windward mark at Ellanore. The fleet was well spread across the line at the start lead by Fleury, closely followed by Holly, Betty, Argosy and Kitty. Danny had started further down the line and tacked across just behind the leading group. Fleury tacked to cover Danny and Holly, leaving Betty to continue on starboard into the shallows on the Eastern side of the harbour. A lucky header allowed Betty to tack and clear the leading group and continue into Ellanore on a slight lift, rounding the mark to head for the zone mark (Tern) situated just to the South of the port hand goal post. Holly and Fleury had a bit of match racing on this leg, allowing Danny and Betty to gain slightly on the downwind leg. A beat back to East Head saw Danny pass Betty to take the lead which she held to the shortened course finish at Park.
At the start of race 2, the fleet blotted their copybook by being too keen on the ebb tide and this led to a general recall. The first leg saw a lot of position changing with Argosy leading the fleet on its tide-assisted way up to Dunes. Sky worked her way through the fleet to round Dunes a boat length behind Argosy. The next mark from Dunes was Peacock, which was dead downwind and caused a pile up of boats at Dunes as the combination of tide and wind shadow caused a melee to form involving a large part of the fleet. With the strong Ebb tide Argosy managed to avoid the main fleet arrival but Sky was not as lucky and rapidly went from 2nd to 13th after avoiding action and turns left her on the Winner Bank for a few minutes. Argosy managed to stay ahead and steered towards the shallower water to the East. Betty took a more Northerly course and managed to pull away from the main fleet which decided to follow Argosy heading for East Head and the longer route to Peacock via the shallows along the North side of East Head. A smaller group headed by Betty, with Danny, Fleury and Kitty took the rhumb line across to the edge of the Stocker bank via Lowles and Astra, before crossing to the Eastern edge of the channel and heading down towards Peacock. This route turned out to be a few boat lengths quicker than the East Head cruise and Betty followed by Fleury and Danny were just ahead of Argosy as they crossed to the Eastern bank and then rounded Peacock before heading for John Davis. The fleet split tacks in the main channel and it was easy to overstand John Davis in the strong ebb tide. Danny managed to pass Fleury, but Betty held her lead to the mark and then headed back down the Western side of the channel heading for Park. Danny slowly caught Betty with Fleury behind, a boat length or two ahead of Argosy, with Query and Kitty following them. Keen to avoid the following fleet catching them, Danny and Betty sailed parallel courses alongside each other until they reached Park, which they rounded in line abreast. Danny immediately gybed and took the Southern shore to the finish, whilst Betty took the longer route round the Northern shore. After nearly two hours of sailing, Betty crossed the line just under one boats length ahead of Danny.
On Sunday, the PRO and team were well prepared and set windward-leeward courses for both races with the first mark at Ellanore. The Eastern shore proved to be the place to go to find some relief from the strong flood tide, although a small group tried the Western side using the triangular plateau to the North of the Camber post. This initially looked a promising choice but the leg across the tide to Ellanore soon removed any advantage. Fleury took a good lead on this first leg, although this was always at risk from sailing into a hole, given the strong flood tide and light winds. A short down-tide port-pole leg to Astra was followed by a beat up to East Head with the tide making it difficult to judge the lay-line into the buoy. A quick gybe round East Head took the fleet on their route to the next turning mark at Baker followed by a beat up to Rookwood for a finish at Baker. The southerly wind at around 8 knots had behaved well during the race although there was a slight smattering of rain at times during the morning. With Fleury winning and Danny and Holly scoring well, this meant going into the last race, with one discard, 4 boats had 3-6 points and could still win the series if they posted a good final race result and others faltered.
The second race of the day started in a similar wind to the first with the fleet again heading for Ellanore. This time the right hand shore proved to be the better option with the flood now reduced as High Water approached, making the leg across the channel less of a handicap. This group of boats rounded ahead of those who had tried the Eastern shore where the wind had reduced to around 5 knots. Danny, having chosen this route, must have been pleased to see that her 3 main rivals had gone left. Danny rounded first followed by Spray and Alchemy. A run down to Peacock followed as the tide turned and the wind started to collapse further, made worse by many being blanketed by sails from the XOD fleet. The course was shortened and with the finish at Peacock, Alchemy slip their way past the two leading boats on the run down to the line and win.
45 Sunbeamers attended the Henry Chisholm Dinner in the evening and the prizes were kindly presented by Chris Clatworthy, a close friend of Henry Chisholm, who had raced Sunbeams from the 1950s through to the 1980s, including 35 Cowes Weeks in Sugar Daddy with her husband Alan. Congratulations to team Danny (Roger Wickens and Tim Martell) on winning the Bowl. A short series of anecdotes was kindly provided by Peter Gormley, who had been very involved in the Sunbeam fleet at the time Henry Chisholm had been class captain. John Ford also presented a model of Melody to John and Petra Tanner, the current owners, John himself having been given the model by a previous owner Mike Harting. The evening ended with the Class Captain leading the toast to the great man with some kindly donated port we hope he was looking down fondly!
Last updated 15:23 on 6 May 2022