Double Dan - Race Report - August 2015

Despite a light wind forecast there was a good turn out last Sunday for Clacton Sailing Clubs annual 'Double Dan' event.

Catamaran on the beach - Double Dan 2015

Pictured above: Competitors gather on the beach

Clacton Sailing Club Sailors first had to sail around the coast from Holland-on-Sea to Brightlingsea before racing back in the afternoon.

As usual the event was timed so that the flooding tide assisted the cruise south and ensured all competitors arrived in plenty of time to enjoy the hospitality of the neighbouring club for lunch.

Tide assists downwind start

The race itself was started with the ebb in full flow which combined with the north easterly wind to produce a tide assisted downwind start in Brightlingsea Creek adjacent to the sailing club.

Competitors carefully reached along the line avoiding other river traffic in the congested waters as the timing signals were sounded ready to bare-away and despite the race expecting to take more than an hour  the start was considered crucial

Over the line early

Jack Dempsey and Ian Wright - Double Dan 2015

Pictured above: Jack Dempsey at the Helm with his crew Ian Wright

A second gun signal sounded and indicated one or more competitors were over the line early;  Jack Dempsey (14) as the youngest sailor in the race and helming a Dart 18 with Ian Wright as his crew was just a fraction eager and sportingly headed back to re-start.

Liam Wright sailing with Daniel Brzezinski for the first time and also in a Dart 18 was clean away and made a perfect start heading down the creek on a broad reach.
They were chased by a fleet of catamarans including other Dart 18's, Dart 16, Hurricane, Spitfire and a Nacra 20 as well as a single dinghy; Sam Ranson had teamed-up for this event with Beth Elliott to sail the course in a Laser Two and had originally set sail from Holland-on-Sea that morning at 8am.

Long beat to windward

Once out of the Creek the boats settled into a long beat to windward that took them past Point Clear, Lee-over-sands, Seawick and eventually Jaywick then Clacton. This is a beautiful unspoilt section of coastline much of it only accessible from the sea.

The decision to stay inshore and sail a shorter course or head out to sea in search of stronger wind and current was compounded by a confused sea state and each competitor made his own decisions.

Rounding Clacton Pier all boats settled into a starboard fetch as the finish line came into sight. Positions changed during the race due to both skill and luck: Matt  Burrell sailing his catamaran single-handed admitted a lucky wind shift had allowed him to overtake Jack Dempsey within 100m of the finish.

Sam Ransom and Beth Elliott - Double Dan 2015

Pictured above: Sam Ransom and Beth Elliott arrive at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

The Results

Pete Boxer and Eilish Dempsey sailing a Spitfire cat managed to just finish ahead of Stelios Tabis and Jeff Parrmay sailing the Nacra after a close dual when their positions changing on each tack.

James Parsons sailing with James Stacey in their Hurricane was first boat across the line with Larry Foxon and Mike Rolfe crossing the line some 23 minutes later.

The actual result was a guarded secret until the prize giving. Larry and Mike had won overall on handicap but by just 10 seconds on corrected time with Parsons and Stacey a very close second.

After 2 hours of racing Sam Ransom and Beth Elliott came in a well deserved 3rd place.

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