The First Channel Chop Goes off with a Splash

Portishead Channel Chop Pursuit

Held Saturday 10th February

The Channel Chop was held for the very first time this year. 24 dinghies were faced with a gray wet day and a blustery SSW wind, a two-hour pursuit race was run with two laps of the bay before venturing out across the tide and shipping lane to Newcome with the shipping obstacles. The first boats away were the Toppers of Dru Townsend and Flo Hawker.

With 2 inshore laps complete, the fleet headed offshore, into the mist towards Newcome. Dru held the lead with Ben Flower in a Laser in second, and John Harvey sailing his Aero 7 in third. Dru led the race for 50 minutes until caught by Ben. As they closed the end of lap 3 the leading Fireball of Chris and John Gill was closing the leaders down.

Ben held the lead for a while, but with the wind as strong as it was, it was inevitable that the trapeze boats would come through to dominate. At the end, local sailors, the Gills in their Fireball were well out in the lead, but it was a photo finish for 2nd place. Anthony and James Willcocks in a Fireball just pipped Terry Curtis and Peter Grieg in their Osprey.

Sam and Leanne Thompson sailed very well to come 4th and were first non-trapeze boat in their Merlin Rocket, with single handers Ben Flower, and Simon Hawkes in his Phantom taking 5th and 6th.

Unfortunately, the southerly wind meant this year’s “Channel Chop” failed to make a true appearance, despite some exciting offshore legs. A great day of sailing was had by all and everyone was glad to get ashore to warm up!

Once back in the clubhouse all were able to review their race replay via the GPS tracking system on the big screen and, this is now available online through It was clear that many locals stayed inshore to pick up a big tidal eddy on the beat.

1st Chris and Jon Gill Fireball 15083 Portishead Y&SC

2nd Anthony and James Willcocks Fireball 14928 Portishead Y&SC

3rd Terry Curtis and Peter Greig Osprey 1281 Castle Cove SC

4th Sam & Leanne Thompson Merlin Rocket 3711 Royal Naval SA

1st Junior Jonathan Griffiths crewing father Trevor in RSVision 261 Roadford Lake SC

Full results and photos are available on

Colin Jarvis Portishead Y&SC (OOD)

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