Dennis Wood Memorable Cup - Race Report - May 2015

Clacton Sailing Club raced for the Dennis Wood Memorable Cup last Sunday under fabulous blue skies and warm SW winds.

Close start - Dennis Wood Cup 2015

Pictured above: Little room as competitors cross the start line

Like all Sunday races this year it was to be an 11 o'clock start as the beach restoration work has allowed sailing at all states of the tide. Spectators lined the promenade at the cafe to watch the catamarans and dinghies being rigged and going afloat.

10 minute postponement

The race this week required a 10 minute postponement as the rescue boat set the buoys which allowed all the competitors to take practice runs at the line and set their watches. As a consequence the actual start was well rehearsed and extremely tight with most boats hitting the line at speed as the wind freshened to force 4.

Manoeuvres at the start line

Martin & Debbie Chivers racing their Dart 18 catamaran had manoeuvred themselves in the closing seconds to be just upwind of Rob Mitchell sailing his Dart 16 who was covering Pete Boxer & Eilish Dempsey in their Dart 18 as the gun went off and all 3 cats cleared the line on starboard tack in very close formation.

The dinghies also enjoyed a close get away with John Summerfield, and Toby Mitchell both in Lasers and James Stacey this week racing in one of the clubs Topaz dinghies.

Most boats left the first tack on the windward leg until they reached the layline to the buoy so they could enjoy the benefit of the remnants of the flooding tide that was carrying them upwind.

James Stacey and John Summerfield - Dennis Wood Cup 2015

Pictured above: James Stacey in a Topaz and John Summerfield in his Laser

The small advantage from the start line was maintained and the first 3 cats rounded the windward mark in the same sequence and still tightly packed.

Robert Mitchell demonstrates complete mastery

The fast broad reaching leg out to sea allowed Boxer and Dempsey to overtake the Chivers duo who struggled to settle into the pace in the rolling swell but it was Rob Mitchell who was untouchable as he demonstrated complete mastery of his Dart 16 controlling both sails single-handed from the wire. After gybing at the seaward mark there followed 2 fast reaching legs back into the ODM and back out to sea before heading off to the downwind  buoy.

Robert Mitchell in Dart 16 chased by Pete Boxer and Eilish Dempsey in thier Dart 18 - Dennis Wood Cup 2015

Pictured above: Pete Boxer and Eilish Dempsey in thier Dart 18 Chase Robert Mitchell in his Dart 16

Larry Foxon and Mike Rolfe were always in contention in their Dart 16 and specially so when Mike discovered the joys of trapezing allowing Larry to use all the power from the sails.

Daniel Brezinski seems to be well matched with his new crew Jack Dempsey on their Dart 18 as they gain race experience together.


Full capsize

The wind had shifted slightly on the second lap and allowed Boxer & Dempsey to make the windward buoy on starboard without tacking and keep clear of the incident that was about to happen: Behind them the Chivers cat had sailed low for speed and tacked onto port crossing just ahead of Mitchell.

In perfect text book tactics the Chivers then attempted to put in a quick tack slightly upwind of the charging Mitchell but instead slammed over into a full capsize.

Rob Mitchell later described missing the falling mast by the narrowest of margins having to rapidly bare away then head up again in time to make the mark and all this whilst single-handed on a fully powered-up flying catamaran.

Martin and Debbie Chivers Dart 18 Capsize - Dennis Wood Cup 2015

Pictured above: Martin and Debbie Chivers righting their capsized Dart 18

Fabulous race in exciting conditions

Overall a fabulous race in exciting conditions that was over far too soon. Martin and Debbie retired after righting their Dart as did Toby Mitchell who is still getting to grips with his Laser.

When the handicap results were calculated it was the well deserving Rob Mitchell who won ahead of Pete Boxer / Eilish Dempsey with John Summerfield managing a very well deserved 3rd in his Laser .

Robert Mitchell takes first place - Dennis Wood Cup 2015

Pictured above: Robert Mitchell thrilled with his win


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