Bosham Finn Open – 24/25 June 2023

Warm weather and a gentle breeze greeted the sailors taking part in the Bosham Finn Open. A weekend of six races, three each day, around harbour marks in Chichester Harbour – a great opportunity for the visitors to test their school physical geography, physics and meteorological skills, and of course, navigation and orienteering. But only as long as the wind played ball.

Seventeen Finns, including two wooden classic boats, arrived on Saturday morning to be briefed and prepared for the short sail to the start line. The first race started after a short delay to allow sailors to get to the start from Bosham, upwind against the tide took longer than some had allowed. Several sailors sailed across from Hayling Island SC, and were warmly welcomed by the rest of the fleet. The wind direction had settled by midday to be SSW, about 10 knots, allowing a course to be set to test boat handling skills as well as harbour navigation! A lead rib was used to guide sailors around the courses but still allowed some degree of navigation from sailors on which side of the channel to opt for when going against or with the tide.

Race 1 saw the fleet split at the start with most opting for the southern shore of the harbour, but as the windward mark approached there was little difference between the two groups. James Cole led around the windward mark, despite the pressure of pulling his outhaul through the boom whilst rigging, Tim Carver got the better of James on the run down the Thorney channel leaving him to take the win, followed home by James Cole and Roman Khodykin.

Race 2 found the vast majority of the fleet going to the southern side of the harbour saw a similar story, with Tim taking another win from Roman in second, and Julian Smith third.

Race 3 saw a steadily improving Julian take the win, with Tim in second and Russ Ward in third. The sailors then sailed back to Bosham to enjoy Tea, sandwiches and cake in Bosham Sailing Club.

Sunday dawned bright but with a light SSE to begin with but with increasing strength as the wind pushed right to give a forecast 15 knots.

Sunday’s first, race 4, again got away cleanly but without a lead boat to help with navigation saw the leaders, led by Russ Ward, go too far to windward on the first leg, only to see the locals in the middle of the fleet round the correct mark and head off downwind. This really benefitted Tim Carver who had run solidly aground soon after the start and was clearly at the back of the field. He quickly took a lead that he held to the finish. Local boys, Matt Walker took second, followed by Julian in third.

Race 5 saw a gradually increasing breeze, with Julian taking the win from Tim and Roman in third.

Race 6, with the wind now nudging 15 knots, saw Julian Smith, Martin Hughes, and several others tack immediately on the committee boat to commit themselves to tacking up the harbour’s north shore, hoping to stay out of the worst of the now strong flood tide. Early on the short tacking took its toll but once clear of the immediate shallows and into the edge of the Thorney channel they were both able to hit a lay-line to be lifted into the windward mark. Meanwhile, the majority of the fleet had again gone for the southern shore but found themselves battling more tide and getting headed as they approached the mark. Julian Smith rounded first closely followed by Tim Carver,  James Cole, Martin Hughes and Jeremy Drummond to head off downwind. At the leeward mark, the front of the fleet was still close. Tim Carver rounded first and tacked immediately to take starboard tack to the windward mark, however, failure to un-cleat the mainsail before racing has one result, Tim was forced into a swim as his rig plummeted onto the round yellow racing mark. This left the route open for Julian Smith and James Cole who both continued in towards the previously advantageous northern shore. Martin Hughes tacked once clear of the floundering Tim Carver and started the long upwind slog to the windward mark. Quickly he was over the worst of the tide and continuing to be lifted on starboard whilst Julian and James battled the tide. A massive wind shift and tack to port put Martin on the lay-line to lead around the windward mark, sail the run and hold off Julian Smith and James Cole to take an epic win in his classic wooden Finn. Sailors then made their way back to Bosham for more tea, sandwiches and cakes, and the prize giving.

Tim Carver took the final honours and the well-decorated Bosham Plate home as the victor with a smiling Julian Smith taking an honourable second place.

Who said old Finns don’t go? Two refurbished wooden Finns from the late 1950’s and early 60’s competed in the event. Finnochio, a wooden Fariey Marine hull sailed by Peter Blick with a carbon mast and a modern sail, and Mainstream a Jeremy Rogers hull sailed by Martin Hughes with a Needlespar mast and 1993 Dacron sail. Peter finished a creditable 12th whilst Martin even managed to win the final race in the windiest conditions of the weekend. Martin Hughes retained the Amoeba Trophy for first classic boat, and with the last race win, managed third overall.

A fantastic weekend organised by Bosham Sailing Club provided some excellent testing sailing in more ways than just physical sailing. Many thanks to everyone who helped organise the event.

Report by Owen Davies.

Results: Bosham Sailing Club: Finn Open Meeting


Entrant Boat Sail No.
Tim Carver Tallulah
Julian Smith 720
Martin Hughes Mainstream
Roman Khodykin Tokyo 2020
James Cole If 6 was 9
Andrew Wylam Black pig
Steven Board Finn 56
Chris Barbary 7
Owen Davies Finnal Fling






Latest Race Reports…

The Finn fleets have a very active racing programme at all levels from Olympic level though to the equally keenly fought Classic fleet. To read the latest regatta reports click the images below.

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