Double Dan - Race Report

Sailing boats from Clacton & Gunfleet Sailing Clubs teamed-up again last week for the annual Double Dan event.

Crowded start line 2 at Brightlingsea Sailing club

Pictured above: Poised for action - Eilish Dempsey and Pete Boxer in the Spitfire

A total of 13 sailing dinghies and catamarans from both clubs made an early start for the leisurely cruise down the coast in light winds helped along by the incoming tide to rendezvous at Brightlingsea Sailing Club for lunch.

New challenges at the start line

Crowded start line 1 at Brightlingsea sailing club

Pictured above: Crews jostle for best starting position at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

The high water start line was set in the congested river in front of Brightlingsea SC which brought new challenges to sailors that are were more used to the freedom of the open coast but was ideal for the numerous spectators that had gathered.

Tactical options

Once across the line the boats sailed a short reach out into the River Colne then hardened-up onto a beat heading south into the wind.

A number of tactical options opened-up as the river opened into the sea with crews looking for signs of increased wind under the various cloud formations and considerations of how to make the most of the ebbing Spring tide.

The two fast Hurricane catamarans hugged the east coast at Point Clear whilst the Spitfire and Dart 16 catamarans headed west over towards Mersea Island and were rewarded by fresher conditions.

The dinghy fleet were more nimble and could tack quickly and take advantage of the wind shifts and generally stayed in the centre of the river.

Roman and Irina Vassilijeva and children Anton and Gleb in lark dinghy

Pictured above: Roman & Irina Vassilijeva and thier children Anton and Gleb in their newly refurbished lark dinghy

Hurricane takes an early lead

As the coast headed east at Lee-over-Sands so the boats were able to free-off back onto a reach and the fleet spread out with James & Eddy Parsons trail blazing in the Hurricane now more than 400 meters in the lead.  

James and Eddie Parsons Hurricane

Pictured above: James and son Eddie Parsons take early lead

Brothers James and William Stacey in their RS500 tried launching their kite around Jaywick but found the course still too tight on the wind for it to be efficient. It wasn't until the boats rounded the end of Clacton Pier that the kites could be used properly as the course allowed a broad reach into the finish line at Gunfleet SC.

James and William Stacey RS500

Pictured above: Brothers James and William Stacey making it look so easy

Spitfire first across the finish line

Pete Boxer and Eilish Dempsey sailing the Spitfire managed to catch and pip James and Eddy at the line to crossing as first boat home but the handicap results were to tell a different story.

The winds had continued to freshen throughout the race building to a perfect Force 3 SE'ly and whilst the the leading catamarans completed the course in one and a half hours the slower boats enjoyed the stronger winds for a higher percentage of their race duration. 

Race Results

First prize overall was awarded to brothers Charlie and Harry Spence sailing their Hobie 405 dinghy who made a gracious acceptance speech on behalf of Gunfleet SC.

Brothers Charlie and Harry Spence Hobie 405

Pictured above: Winners Charlie and Harry Spence sailing their Hobie 405

Harry Swinbourne, another Gunfleet sailor took 2nd place sailing single handed in his Topper

Robert Mitchel and J. Owens were the highest ranked sailors from Clacton SC.  


The two clubs get together one more time this season at this weekends Gunfleet Regatta for more competitive sailing fun.


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