The major sailing event of 1999 was the 23rd Royal Escape Race on 28 May in which 104 boats entered.

The event opened with the Race Briefing at the Old Ship Hotel on Thursday evening after which the boats left Brighton on Friday morning in fine sailing conditions watched from the Old Ship Hotel by local celebrities headed by the Mayor of Brighton and Hove and hosted by Cliff Jenkins.

The IRC Fleet of about 20 larger and faster boats left first at 0800 and the remainder moved off together at 0815 hrs.

In mid-Channel the wind died and in consequence the first boat (Fay’s Fantasy) did not arrive until 1948 hrs although the Finish monitoring team led by Frank Kay had been on duty from 1530 hrs. Of those who relied on sail alone none arrived until after 2100 hrs and the monitoring team were in constant action until after 0800 hrs on Saturday.

The first sailing vessel to arrive without motor assistance was Chantelle (John Hayman) whose corrected time of 13 hrs 50 mins made them the winner of the IRC Fleet.

The winner of the PYC Fleet was Watchmaker (Julia Frazer) with a corrected time of 15 hrs 34 mins and the winner of the Slow PC was Honour Bound (David Hunt)with 16 hrs 32 mins who on points was the overall winner.

The Royal Naval Unit at Sussex University provided a guardship HMS Pursuer and officials of the organisations involved in the planning of the race attended a lunch-time reception on board on Saturday.

The race organisers hosted a party for participants and local celebrities led by the Mayor of Fecamp at the Hotel Normandy on Saturday evening and the hardier souls went from there to a disco at the Fecamp Yacht Club which went on all night.

The celebrations continued on Sunday morning with a cheese and wine party hosted by John Bacon, one of our most devoted sponsors who has just retired as General Manager of the Old Ship Hotel.

Most of the boats participating returned on Sunday or Monday in rather windier conditions than on the day of the race.

The winning crews collected their awards at the Prize Giving Dinner at the Old Ship Hotel on 11 June.