Butlins Cup - Race Report - May 2017

Clacton Sailing Club held the annual Butlins Cup race last Sunday in perfect blue sky summer conditions.

The Fleet - Butlins Cup 2017

Rob Mitchell with his new crew Mark Butchers sailing their Dart 16 catamaran were well-deserving and clear winners of this long distance race.

Race Officer Martin Chivers set the course to a buoy at Clacton Pier and then back out to the seaward buoy off the CSC club at Holland-on-Sea with a sausage leg before the finish line designed to challenge the fleet.

Onshore Southerly winds

Brian Allen and Mike Rolf - Butlins Cup

Picture above: Brian Allen and Mike Rolf Sailing the Dart 16 X

Light to moderate onshore Southerly winds and a strongly ebbing tide allowed the boats to edge up to the start line under good control giving a lovely spectacle of the fleet of catamarans crossing in tight formation.

It was good to see Stelios Tabis with his regular crew Jeff Parrmay skipper his big Nacra 20 across the line for the perfect start ahead of the chasing boats and go on from that moment to act as trailblazer for the entire race.

abis and Jeff Parmay - Butlins Cup 2017

Picture above: Stelios Tabis and Jeff Parmay before the race

In the closing seconds Rob Mitchell had left just enough space from the ODM to allow Pete Boxer and Eilish in their Dart 18 to drop in from windward and edge past into second from the line.

Rob and Cathy prove themselves once again

Rob and Cathy Mitchell have proven themselves as serious contenders this season with impeccable start line judgement also hit the line as the gun sounded.

Close Racing - Butlins Cup 2017

Picture above: Close quarters – teams battle it out

Sailing close hauled on port it looked like it would be possible to make the Pier on a ‘fetch’ without needing to tack. Crews carefully adjusted the set of the sails and gently trimmed the cats down by the head to increase the waterline length and the helms maintained the optimum course steering using feedback from the sail ‘tell-tales’.

Quick 'Hello' to Gunfleet SC

The Clacton fleet had the chance to say a quick hello to neighbouring sailors as the course took them through the Gunfleet Sailing Club fleet of Laser dinghies who were tuning-up for the start of their own club race.

Dan Brzezinski teamed-up with Cadet Gleb Petrovski this week on his Dart 18. Although starting slightly late he had positioned his boat closer inshore where the effect of the current would be less. He gently sailed past the Dart 16s and steadily clawed-back distance on the other 18.

Gleb Petrovski - Butlins Cup 2017

Picture above: 'Laid back' - Gleb Petrovski

Brian Allen teamed-up with Mike Rolfe for the first time in his Dart 16X and sailed the upwind leg confident that they would soon enjoy the benefit of flying the kite on the return leg.

Tack at the Pier Bouy

Tacking at the Pier buoy the boats had again to re-orientate themselves for the return leg. Sailing back with the tide and free of the wind the lead boats paid less attention to the exact course but allowed their cats to make the most of slight swell. Brian Allen even hoisted his kite but soon realised the wind had backed to the east and with the next buoy set out to sea the leg actually required the boats to beat to windward.

Rob Mitchell & Mark Butcher on Catamaran - Butlins Cup 2017

Picture above: Rob Mitchell with new member Mark Butcher

The first team to realise this would gain a huge advantage; Rob Mitchell and Mark Butcher led the fleet of brightly striped sails of the Dart 16s and characteristically spotted the opportunity early. Whilst the Nacra and Dart 18s were now engaged in a tacking duel out to sea off Holland Mitchell had sailed the shorter course from the Pier and closed within shouting distance of the lead boats at the seaward buoy.

Rounding the seaward the cats could finally sail a downwind leg back into a buoy laid for the race closer to Frinton. Brian Allen could finally enjoy the benefit of his kite and pass Mark and George Venables in the standard 16 without this third sail.

Results

Rob Mitchell & Mark Butcher - Butlins Cup 2017

Once the handicaps were calculated Mitchell & Butcher came in ahead of Rob & Cathy Mitchell both in Dart 16’s with Boxer and Dempsey in 3rd.

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