Clacton Sailing Club Regatta - Race Report - July 2015

The Clacton Sailing Club Regatta held last Sunday was as much an excuse for a reunion of old club members as for some exciting racing and was great success in both respects.

Racers gathered on beach prior to Clacton Sailing Club regatta.

Pictured above: Racers gather on the beach

Guest of Honour Geoff Wright with his wife Veronica open Clacton Sailing Clubs 2015 Regatta

Guest of Honour Geoff Wright with his wife Veronica opened the event with his stories of CSC Regattas going back 40 years and discussions with the Race Officer about what makes a good race course. Other surprise visitors included previous Commodore  Phil Foster and his son David aka 'Ginger' and old photo albums were pored over with delight.

Richard Walker was welcomed as the visiting Commodore from Gunfleet Sailing Club although it was unfortunate that this year his sailors were unable to attend as launching from their club remains prohibited whilst the coastal defence works continues.

Cats gathered on the beach

Pictured above: Competitors prepare.

Perfectly on queue

Perfectly on queue both the RNLI inshore D.Class and the all weather Atlantic 85 ribs arrived and anchored off the beach with the crews joining the spectators up at the cliff top clubhouse. Soon after their arrival the morning racing for the RNLI Trophy got under way in fresh force 4-5 south-westerly winds and a building southerly swell.

RNLI Crews arrive right on time for beginning of the Regatta

Pictured above: RNLI inshore D.Class and the all weather Atlantic 85 ribs arrive

A healthy turn-out of catamarans started ahead of the mono fleet but all were to race around the same fast course.

Racing begins

Ian Wright sailing with his son Liam in their Dart 18 were clear ahead within seconds of the gun having audaciously secured the most inshore position of the line and headed off well upwind of the fleet on starboard tack.

The strongly ebbing Spring tide was to be one of the features of the race making the windward leg most frustrating as each boat had to make a judgment call when to tack having over-stood the lay lines. Poor decisions meant additional tacks and the fleets stretched out on this first leg.

The Mono fleet enjoyed tight racing with selection of Lasers, Tasers and Toppers.

James Rolfe launching his laser dinghy finished 2nd in his class

Pictured above: James Rolfe with his Laser dinghy

Andy Dunnet must have thought he had a flying start in his Laser but failed to realise he was over early and was later sadly to retire.

John Summerfield sailing with Martin Berryman seemed always in control in their lightweight Taser dinghy and would go onto to win the Adult Mono Pennant

John Summerfield and Martin Berryman receiving RNLI pennant

Pictured above: John Summerfield sailing with Martin Berryman recived the Adult Mono Pennant

After the technicalities of the upwind leg the rest of the course seemed to be more a test of boat speed and handling as two broad reaches took them past a fast gybe at the seaward mark and onto the downwind mark. Out at sea a deepening swell was developing and this increased the risk of nosedive for the cats or a broaching 'death roll' for the monohulls.

Leading the pack

Ian and Liam with the responsibility of leading the pack sailed the wrong course on the fist lap until they realised their error and fell back into second place and were never quiet able to recover.

The course then tightened to a fetch back into the ODM before tacking and freeing off immediately onto two screaming reaches out to sea and back to complete the first lap. The outside gybe mark in these strong wind and wave conditions normally combine to produce a capsize zone but it is a measure of how racing standards have improved this year that there were no incidents.  

Wild conditions

The wild conditions however tested sailors and boats in other ways; Mark Venables demonstrated able seamanship having managed to sail ashore after retiring with a broken Laser mast and was cruelly rewarded as he then tore the sail in the shoredump close to the beach. After the stresses of jumping the waves on the way out in the fast reaches Stelios Tablis's crew Simon Mathewson fell through a tear in the trampoline of their Nacra 20 and also forced their premature retirement.

First catamaran and overall RNLI Trophy winners were Robert Mitchel and Gary Corton in their Dart 16.

Geoff Wright presents the RNLI trophy to Robert Mitchel with his crew Gary Corton

Pictured above: RNLI Trophy winners were Robert Mitchel and Gary Corton with guest of honor Geoff Wright

James Stacey (16) deserves a special mention for having helmed the big Hurricane catamaran in these conditions completing the 3 lap course in 59 minutes to win the Cadet Pennant.

James Stacey  taking charge of the powerful Hurricane catamaran to win the RNLI cadet pennant.

Pictured above: James Stacey and James Parsons with the Hurricane Catamaran

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