Meet Sue Nash – Ultra Volunteer!

One of Dell Quay’s ‘Ultra Volunteers’, Sue has invested unprecedented amounts of time, energy and goodwill in Dell Quay. Sue was our Commodore from 2017 to 2019.  Prior to being Commodore she was sailing secretary (2012) and Vice Commodore (2014).  
Currently Sue is:  

  • Dell Quay’s Chichester Harbour Federation Representative with responsibility for promoting the protection of the environment;
  • Part of the JW organisation team (since 2005)
  • Chief Instructor

Sue first joined Dell Quay in 1999.  She attributes her love of the water to living near the sea since her teenage years.

suenash1I tried a bit of sailing in my teenage years but the interest grew when moving back to Chichester in 1998. There was one thing I really wanted for my family and that was to enjoy the harbour and joining a sailing club was key to this. The family friendly nature of DQSC was what made this decision easy, along with meeting a fantastic group of people, living very local to us – they were all members and encouraged us to join.

I would say to women and girls who might be interested in sailing, the things that Helen Penfold and I would frequently say when we first set up WOW (Women on the Water) in 2006. Fond memories of being up to our waists in water at the start of the season, gently pushing ladies out in toppers and picos. The cries from in the boats being
“I’m too old for this”, “It’s too cold”, “Need to wait for the summer”, ‘I’ve forgotten what to do”, “I’ll leave this for my family to do”.

We would reply saying: “You can do this”; “You did really well last season”; “Think of that drink at CYC!”

A couple of hours later, especially following a cup of coffee or something stronger at CYC the cries were of a different nature – grinning faces, lots of laughing and a great sense of achievement.

At this time Helen and I felt that we ought to do our dinghy instructor training and a few years later saw me doing my senior instructor course.  The above cries came back to bite me on the …… Yes there we were, off Cobnor, flukey F5, in PICOs, well actually not in PICOS, we had all capsized. Needless to say, I heard myself uttering: “I’m too old for this, it’s too cold to be swimming in Chi harbour in February with a load of instructors in their 20s”, when I was fast approaching being old enough to be their grandmother – well nearly.

suenash2What I have really enjoyed, as well, being part of the family that is DQSC, is seeing the juniors grow from – in some cases, cutting teeth as babies (amongst other things!) on our sedate sail down the harbour in our Topper Cruz, or seeing them in junior activities or in Junior Week, progress their sailing and, in some cases, go down the instructor pathway.

On that senior instructor course, the majority were male, but it is so good to see our young female juniors coming through and becoming instructors and senior instructors. I have loved giving them references over the years and finding out how they are progressing at university and work. Some of our juniors have gone into careers that have kept them near the sport or the sea – Charlotte Buchannan, after a spell at the RYA is the outdoor Development Manager at Cobnor Activities Centre and Sam Denyer, previous DQSC chief instructor, is project manager at Pendennis shipyard, Falmouth having gained her Masters in Engineering.

I am so proud that we also supply the Harbour Conservancy Patrol Team with competent and skilled young adults including their first all-female team – Phoebe Noble and Fran Sprules (photographed).

I was honoured to hold the position of Commodore more recently, following in the footsteps of the first female commodore at DQSC – Mary Ross. Mary eventually got her own boat in 1971, a Solo. She called it Qualm – ‘had qualms about telling Patrick (her husband) she had bought it and qualms about sailing it’. There weren’t many ladies sailing in Mary’s day – about 4-6 at the club. Mary spoke of the wives of the racers sitting in the clubhouse knitting but ‘of course they ran the club’. They gossiped and made the decisions.


Nowadays it isn’t just about racing, sailing or knitting, there are paddle activities that can attract girls and women onto the water and once there….they may just try the sailing. It is a great community to get involved in, meet friends for life, have fun, learn a new skill and yes…at times get wet. It’s about being in the fresh air, on the water, in an area of outstanding natural beauty and, if you are lucky, having a seal pop up alongside you. Go for it!


Nikki Buchanan

I joined the club in August 2000 as part of a family membership. We were very excited at joining the club. Earlier in the summer we had seen from the 'Crown and Anchor' Pub garden terrace, a group of children just having the best time, larking about in 'Toppers' The sun was out and view spectacular. The children were 5 and 7 and those kids sold sailing to them.

There were always various boats in the family but my experiences of sailing were really those of the 'Character Building' ones rather than having been taught anything. We were really taken along as the passengers by my somewhat maverick father to accompany him on his latest sailing Fads. Anything I learned on the way was by osmosis, learn from other peoples’ mistakes, and being chucked in at the deep end.

nikkibuchananEarly on I found sailing to be both tedious and boring or fun. We had a small day boat on the Norfolk broads and endless tacking on narrow interconnecting rivers going nowhere fast was the dull bit from a sailing perspective. Games were made up from sitting on deck like 'guess where the great crested grebe will pop up ' Spot the Coypu 'so a love of wildlife was fostered. It was only after anchoring up on one of the large expanses of Broads water that sailing was fun. Away from parents, my younger sister and myself set off in a small junk rigged dinghy. All the more adventurous as we had just found this boat drifting down one of the rivers with no owners identification and we used it for a whole week.( this was the 1960's) Any tuition was about ten minutes with instructions being shouted from the mother ship. Thereafter we were on our own. Absolutely brilliant.

Other 'Character building ' events I recall were given Titles like the' Aldeburgh Grounding'. Poor understanding of Tidal conditions by my father led to stranding on the Mud flats. At least we had a bilge keel so remained levelish until we could refloat but this was at 4am in the morning. Funnily enough only one outing in Aldeburgh as the boat was towed home. I think my longsuffering mother had 'Words'. The 'Reed bed Rescue' was quite epic. Overnight winds had caused anchor dragging. The hired motorboat was wedged in the reed bed on Barton Broad. A combination of anchor hauling and using a punt stick finally got us out far enough to start the engine. I think that's where I must have learned about windage and also some choice words in the English language - these words were also directed at a later device - the long shaft Seagull 2 stroke engine most loved by sailors worldwide back in the day! I use these words today in certain situations! Most memorable event named 'The Andraix Sting’ was being pursued by a small Spanish gun boat while off the coast in Mallorca. A small sailing day boat had been purchased abroad.The waters were non tidal and there no mud grounding potential. It was warm so mother was happier. Spanish gin was also very cheap back then. What should have been a day sail, with picnic and swimming turned into something else. About one hour after leaving port we were tailed by a Spanish customs boat for some time. My dad's view was to stay shallow so they couldn't get close. Bad move…they were looking for drugs, gun and general contraband runners. His tactics backfired, we were hailed to go close to them for inspection and to present our passports. Somewhat of a contrast to 'Coypu spotting ‘. Despite all this exposure to sail based activities we were never let loose on the helm so were at best useful crew.

Fast Forward, I lived and worked in London. I had dabbled with windsurfing at 18 and now really took to it. Trekking down the A4 to the infamous gravel pits by Thorpe park I had my first ever taught RYA course. Triangle and sausage courses were learned. Rig set up practiced and stories of freestyle wave sailing by the instructor relayed in the pub later. I was hooked. You could go really fast, You could fly off the board really fast, You could still end up in reed beds and yes swear a lot. The bright coloured butterfly sails, the whole 'cool' of windyplanking , what was there not to like? So a passion of many years took us to many coastal destinations for weekends and holidays.

Luckily my husband had sailed at school, non sailing parents though, dented his ambition to have his own boat as a youngster. He did have the skills l lacked with the ability to rig, tow, understand 'head to wind' and how to pick up a mooring. Outboard engine hiccups did not however elude him!

So the time came to our own purchase. We bought an old Wayfarer from the renowned Ian Porter which had been used for training school kids. Pimped up to a gorgeous blue and sporting a race stripe as well, it was transformed from its previous livery of a rather grim mustard yellow.

Launching from Itchenor initially we found the stress of towing it down each time with young kids somewhat onerous. Hilariously, history does repeat itself and we ran out of water going aground on the snowhill channel on one outing but at least it was on the rising tide and it only delayed us by a couple of hours. The channel is gravel so we were able to walk a shore and wait. All was taken in our stride, this had happened before, no worries as they say ...we just didn't bank on the voracious appetite of the wittering mosquitos in August.

Time to join a club we thought. So here we are 20 years in with many skills learned as part of the Dell Quay sailing Community Non Sailing skills of powerboat to first aid on the water. Junior week organisation. From 'Start racing to regular racing'. Fresh air, fitness and friends really sum it up.

Inspirations As a child we followed Sir Francis Chichester on a wall map around the world. Amazed years later to see' Gypsy Moth' and how small she was.

More recently Ellen MacArthur



World Sailing DQSC

I first began sailing at Dell Quay (DQ) when I was 14, 56 years ago. A school friend, Penny (nee Pascal), invited me to crew in a dinghy race, in her Firefly. The only question was, did I like the sea? I had been floating in the sea since a toddler and loved swimming, so that wasn’t a problem.  As well as Penny’s dinghy, I crewed in several others over the years. DQ was a friendly club and I was never without a boat. I made many friends, including Tony Williams, who asked me to marry him and share Moppet, his Firefly.

Sailing was very different in the 1960s. We had no formal training, no qualifications and no life jackets for racing until I was 16. We learnt to sail using the wind and the tides, and by making mistakes. The worst that could happen was a capsize, which was usually sudden and cold as we didn’t have wet suits until we made them in 1974. I don’t remember being scared, and we had loads of fun. DQ arranged picnics and dances and there were harbour race days to meet many others.

We gained our Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualifications and I did a First Aid course at DQ and later a radio course. Our first cruiser was a 19ft Hunter Europa (a squib with a lid). Although it was new, we couldn’t afford extras such as cushions so slept on a bit of carpet. We used a second-hand Seagull as an outboard, which doubled up to drive the rubber dinghy from DQ to our mooring at Westlands, learning the hard way about how wet this could be.

Over the next few years we explored the South Coast, buying bigger boats as our son grew older. We found France (initially Cherbourg) with just Radio Direction Finder (RDF), then later got to the Channel Islands and Holland with DECCA and GPS. The Hunter Sonata was stripped out so we learnt to fit out the cabins and equipment. Then a Hunter Horizon followed before we bought a Westerly Konsort.  We continued sailing at DQ and always kept a dinghy, changing firstly to Lasers and, now, a 17ft Cornish Crabber with Bermudan rig.

In 1996 we bought a Westerly Corsair, Windeye, and finally sailed to the Isles of Scilly, a long-held dream. Another dream culminated in a sail across the Atlantic in 2005. We recruited friends at DQ to come with us and broke the cruise into several passages. Sue and Barrie Pearson came with us to Spain and ex-Commodore John Martin came with us from Portugal to Madeira and then Lanzarote to Tobago. Our son, then at University, looked after our mothers and also routed us around weather systems. It was a marvellous adventure and the 4 months off work to explore the Caribbean was a wonderful experience. It was something I never imagined as a teenager in Chichester Harbour, sailing past the queues of boats waiting to go into Chichester Marina and thinking that could never be us.

judywilliams1Tony and I retired in 2010 and sailed to the Baltic, which was beautiful, and we had 4 seasons there before returning home for a refit, then sailing to South Brittany where Windeye is now berthed.
We rejoined DQ and have had much fun with smaller boats. We recently bought an old Westerly Merlin, Windchat, and hope to join the DQ rallies when COVID allows. We have explored parts of Fishbourne Lake in a kayak and bought paddle boards.

Sailing is now a way of life and yes, I have been cold, tired and wet in most of our craft but it’s the good bits which make me keep returning to the sea. My closest friends are all members of DQ, and sail a Moody, a Westerly and Victorias. DQ was where it all started and hopefully will continue for many years.  

Judi at the helm in the BVIs by Tony Williams
Judi Williams




Meet Sarah Hooper – on the benefits of being a reliable crew, how best to be rescued and being the highest placed woman in the Osprey Nationals.

I was basically born a water baby and learnt to sail as soon as I had the opportunity which was in Larks when I was at Bristol Poly – not very glorious but at least I learnt which strings to pull just enough to crew for somebody.

When I started working full time I realised how valuable my weekends were, so one Sunday I put together a rudimentary sailing kit, strapped it onto my moped and went down to the local sailing club – SMYC on Shoreham beach – in the hope that someone would want a crew. Well sure enough, somebody hadn’t turned up, I explained my lack of experience, and next thing I was out in the sea crewing in a race on an Osprey.

sarahhooper1At the time, SMYC was quite a keen dinghy racing club and we always did Olympic courses. I would go there at every opportunity and I got to crew on a few dinghies, mainly Merlin Rocket, Fireballs, Ospreys and occasionally a Tornado – an Olympic class catamaran. It was great experience with a variety of helms. One day I went out on a Tornado – there weren’t many other boats out as it was quite windy, and so we sailed in the harbour to avoid the quite lumpy sea. With 2 hulls, these boats are quite difficult to tack, and sure enough we missed a tack and landed up having to go through the harbour entrance and over the bar. We tried to tack again but we flipped it on its side. I vividly remember hanging on to the top hull in quite a sea and the wind just took us as the trampoline acted as a sail! Well I couldn’t hang on for long, and so dropped down into the water and grabbed something else which promptly broke – so there we were just bobbing about in the sea. Luckily at that time there was a coastguard at Shoreham harbour entrance and they called the lifeboat – so I got rescued by these gorgeous lifeboat hunks in a rib!                        


After a few months I proved to be fairly bomb proof and reliable at turning up, so  someone asked me to be a regular crew for them on an Osprey. This was quite a coup for me as they are exciting to sail with a trapeze and good size spinnaker and very good sea boats. It was Great Fun. As neither of us had family ties we would do the open meeting circuit and race at SMYC when there were no open meetings. One year the Osprey Nationals was held at SMYC and so we took part. I should explain that this was quite a challenge as I was about 5ft 6ins and weighed about 9.5 stone. My helm was not a lot bigger. The optimum size and weight for an Osprey crew is about 6ft + and 12-12.5 stone! Our best result was 13th (out of 80-100 boats) in a massive sea in force 5-6 – Hugely exciting! Basically we managed to keep the boat up right! But it also meant I won the prize for the highest placed female over the whole week. Nationals are excellent experience and its exciting with so many boats all (more or less!) the same with near perfect courses and gate starts.

sarahhooper2We raced the Osprey together for a couple of years, but I had a hankering to helm myself and I managed to save up enough to buy my own boat – a full rig laser  - there weren’t any small rigs in those days. About this time I met Martin who had just done a RYA dinghy beginners course in Mirrors on Piddinghoe Pond. He thought he had learnt to sail and went out and bought a Fireball! I’m not sure how we got through this together- there were certainly some embarrassing moments. However we persevered and we did his first Nationals at Torquay, and another at Abersoch. However again I wanted to helm as well so we sold it and bought a laser each and went up to Abersoch again to do the Laser Nationals. I’ll never forget going to the first briefing  - I couldn’t see a thing and I felt like a midget - there were all these huge blokes that I would be racing against for the next week! – needless to say it blew old boots all week and I didn’t do very well!


Well then the Kids appeared – I sold my laser while I was having my contractions – the bloke didn’t negotiate!

We joined Dell Quay in 2002 and have raced Martins Wayfarer and my laser and my 2000. I have done Fed week a few times but I have only done Dell Quay open meetings and Fed week a few times since the Kids were born.



Phoebe, Lizzie and Fran have all worked for Chichester Harbour Conservancy on the Patrol Team. Whilst Phoebe started in 2017 and Fran in 2018 Lizzie is the newest female Dell Quay recruit starting earlier this year, meaning that the female part of the seasonal patrol staff are solely Dell Quay members!

fran2Our passions for sailing all started at Dell Quay where we took part in Junior Week from a young age. Whilst Phoebe had a talent for racing, Fran much preferred capsizing or anything that meant swimming, either way it was on the water. The progression from junior to instructor was a natural evolution set out by our predecessors particularly the two female Senior Instructors. Dell Quay provided a great opportunity for us all to progress to instructors because of the inclusive funding of courses based on the repayment of two years help at Junior Week.  Becoming Dinghy Instructors allowed us to give back to the club and help inspire young individuals to get into sailing and hopefully one day become instructors (Phoebe taught Lizzie so it must have worked in this case).

fran3The opportunity arose for all of us to become members of the patrol team seasonally to fit alongside our university degrees. The appeal was not only the fantastic opportunity to give something back to the Harbour but to challenge ourselves and spend our summers in the sun (although it is non-existent at the moment) following the path of others from Dell Quay, five in total so far. The ability to help people is an appealing part of the job from finding vessels aground which need to be towed off the mud or returning broken down vessels to moorings to aiding injured animals or simply collecting Harbour Dues.


No two days are the same on patrol and a highlight from last season came from finding a 6ft tuna in the Harbour…6ft!


Meet some of our youngest sailors – the Firefly girls!  Sofia, Zara and Beatrice (all under 10) have some sage advice for sailors.






Meet Jean Moore – a regular Women on the Water (WOW) sailor who understands the great benefits of sailing with other women and is a confirmed fair weather sailor!  

Sailing – Women and Girls

The benefits of sailing with other women:-

  • No one minds, if as you are about to launch, someone needs to run back in for a pee.
  • We laugh if a minor error occurs.
  • We don’t have a shouty skipper. Why is it that men feel the need to shout commands on boats?
  • If there is inclement weather, no-one minds if we have coffee and cake instead.

One of the great things about sailing for me, is the enormous sense of achievement to be able to get out in the harbour, just pottering about and staying upright is fine. I am a fair weather sailor, getting cold and uncomfortable is not an attractive option and yes, I can hear someone saying “its all about the right clothing“. However, for me, having to don a cumbersome dry suit for a sail in a dinghy detracts from the enjoyment.

jeanmooreOn a lovely sunny day, with light winds and warm enough for t-shirt and shorts is perfect, a few trips like that in the summer are just so uplifting, that you can store those memories up to keep you going through the winter. Remembering how to rig the boat, judging the wind direction and strength, then actually launching and sailing out without a motor is so empowering.

Getting out doesn’t always happen without incidence, I’ve been pushed back on to shore by the wind, forgotten to put the bung in and got stuck against the line of tenders by the slipway, but eventually succeeded. Various people have helped me launch, men, women and children, which is fabulous because I’m so bad at asking for help but club members especially are so willing and kind that you really feel encouraged.

Likewise coming ashore can be a challenge, but again help is often at hand. And being towed back to shore after the wind has died is not unheard of.

Sailing out in the harbour is such a treat, whether it’s just an hour to relax or part of an organised dinghy cruise with picnic and social time it’s just great to see other ladies out and whizzing past with beaming smiles. I was also really impressed to see two young female members of the club, not old enough to drive on the road but qualified and trained to take a safety rib out at a club racing event.

Women on Water is a supportive, fun and social club session aimed at building confidence and skills. It’s a welcoming group and a good stepping-stone to finding out what kind of sailing you are comfortable with, and where you want to go next.





Juliette Binning, age 16, on her DI pathway;

I have been a member of Dell Quay since 2006! I started sailing in our Wayfarer, Moly with my dad and family and in our old oppy, Sunshine. Now I usually sail a Laser 2000 with my dad or friends.

My favourite thing about sailing at Dell Quay is the people and the atmosphere. Everyone is friendly and the activities are always fun. You are always pushed to enjoy yourself whilst learning to sail rather than be overly competitive about racing. Also, the relatively sheltered location makes an ideal spot for learning to sail.

If someone was nervous about sailing I would just say to give it a go! Although it feels nerve wracking at first, once you get used to it is a great way to make friends and have fun on the water.

When I go sailing I pretty much always take sun cream and a hat – since I am quite pale.

I also might take a snack and probably water. Sailing has definitely given me more confidence and is a brilliant skill to have. I have gained several qualifications from it – like my first aid course – already.

As well as this, I have made friends and have had lots of fun!

When I was younger I used to be really scared of getting stuck under the sail in a capsize. Suffice to say I am no longer too worried about it since it has only happened twice and really wasn’t that bad.

If I was sailing to a desert island I would definitely take some food, water and sunglasses.

In general, I prefer a leisurely sail but I enjoy racing too – as long as the course isn’t too long!

To be honest, I can probably tie maybe 4 knots or 5 on a really good day. I like to think I am pretty good at improvising when necessary although a knot expert might disagree.






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