Five Cranleigh crews, from the Lower Fifth and Fourth Forms entered Itchenor Schools Week this year for the second time. There were 102 entries which was the most that could be handled and the largest ever fleet.
The practise race on Sunday 26th June in fresh winds gusting 20 knots saw Archie Grant and Tom Hartley placed 4th, Daisy Roberts and Harry Hall 22nd and Max Hartley and Freddie Esplen 25th.
The first main day of racing started with a moderate westerly wind that was forecast to decrease during the day. Our crews had a good start but unfortunately this race was abandoned due to a poor course being laid. The wind decreased for the next race which meant that our heavier crews were less competitive. Kate Harris and Jaz Davis as well as Charles Handley and Louis Burden had a good race, finishing 33rd and 35th respectively with less success for the older and heavier crews. The remaining races of the day were a mixed bag. Archie and Tom were disqualified from one and yet had a 29th, Charles and Louis had a marvellous fourth race achieving 10th place, whilst Kate and Jaz were very consistent in the top half of the fleet. Max Hartley and Freddie Esplen were learning fast and improving whilst Daisy and Harry were inconsistent. At the end of the day the teams felt that their best was yet to come.
The second day dawned with sun and no wind but the forecast was for steadily increasing wind up to 20 knots by the middle of the afternoon. The first of two races during the day saw two of our crews suffer equipment failure so they were unable to compete. The other three crews all had good races being placed in the middle of the fleet with Kate and Jaz doing particularly well. The next race was held in stronger winds. This suited our heavier crews with Archie and Tom in 15th place and Daisy and Harry in 31st. Unfortunately the race officials cancelled the final race as they felt that the wind was too strong.
Our crews learnt much and enjoyed the racing; they spent over seven hours on the water on the first day without a break which was physically and mentally demanding. The results taken as a whole were slightly disappointing but there were many demonstrations of excellent sailing from all the crews with results in some races well into the top third of a very competitive fleet. This bodes well for the future.
A special mention and thanks to Piers who led the team with style and much wise advice, to Emma Ellin for her assistance throughout the year and the parents who drove, fed and provided beds for our competitors. Cranleigh is now firmly on the sailing map after a good season’s racing.