Dinghy Racing on the Sussex Coast
Thanks to the arrangements we have with the Open Dinghy Club, we are able to offer our members the chance to race on the sea at Angmering in sussex. Sailing on the sea is a very different experience from sailing on the lake, but it is generally agreed that sea sailing experience is another excellent way of developing your all-round skills.
At first the open sea can look a bit intimidating of course, as you set off from the beach apparently heading for France, although with familiarity this becomes less of an issue. Then you have to contend with the waves. On a reasonably calm day these are not such a factor, but when a bit of a swell builds up, they present additional challenges in terms of tacking and gybing, and in making use of the wave action by ‘surfing' along or down them. You may also need to take account of the effect of the tides when setting your course between two marks, particularly since these are often placed a long distance apart.
But perhaps the biggest and best difference between sailing on the sea and inland is that on the sea you tend to experience wind that is more settled in strength and direction. This makes it a little bit more like those textbook situations that you read about but don't seem to experience very often at a smaller inland location when you are sailing over shorter legs and in frequently shifting wind conditions.
Our coastal racing programme comprises six events run on Saturdays at various intervals over the summer. On each of these days, three races are scheduled, forming two competitions running during the earlier and later parts of the season.
Although we normally talk about these events taking place at ‘Angmering', a more precise definition of the location would be ‘East Preston'. There is a small car park located in the middle of a caravan site, with access to the sailing club and beach beyond. It's not the easiest place to find if you have not been there previously, so it is probably best to ask someone for directions if you are going for the first time. There is a charge for the car park which is payable at the refreshments kiosk on the beach. If space in the car park is not available it is usually possible to drop off your boat and park nearby.