Spring Cup - Race Report - April 2016

Clacton Sailing Club's Spring Cup race was held last Sunday in delightful conditions deserving of the trophy title.

Mark and George Venables - Spring Cup 2015

Picture above: Mark and son George Venables sailing their newly acquired 'Dart 16' Catamaran

Dinghies push the Cats down to third place  

The recent run of success by the catamarans came to an abrupt end with monohulls taking 1st and 2nd place once the handicaps had been calculated.

John Summerfield, this year sporting a new single-handed Solo dinghy pulled back from a bad start to win overall closely followed by James Foxon sailing his Laser One.  

Open class racing allows different types of dinghies and catamaran to race together with times adjusted at the end. This can create some confusion to spectators but it becomes a true test of individual sailing skill and judgement with sailors racing the same course both against each other and against the clock.

Light offshore winds and mirror flat seas

The light offshore winds kept the seas mirror flat on the start line and it was easy for the Race Officer to call 'over-early' for both John Summerfield and Martin & Debbie Chivers as they were caught in the ebbing tide. Both boats had to re-start and set off from last place to chase with everything to play for.

Matt Burrell and Jack Wayland got away clean in their Dart 18 to make the perfect start but were closely pursued by a pack including Mark & George Venables sailing their Dart 16 for the first time.

Liam & Ian Wright also sailing a Dart 18 over-hauled Matt on the way out to the 1st buoy and Rob Mitchell (Dart 16) and Dan Brzezinski (Dart 18) who's crew Jack Dempsey was first out of the trapeze wire also continue this season to show promise as they sailed offshore into steadier wind speeds.  

Beating back into the beach and Larry Foxon and Mike Rolfe in the Hurricane 5.9 out-pointed the Darts to round the ODM in first position to start the downwind leg of the sausage.

Summerfield's Solo, Sam Ranson (Laser 2)  and James Foxon (Laser 1)  were able to sail notably deeper downwind as they headed back out to the seaward buoy.  

Positions changed frequently

Positions changed frequently in the course that was dominated by directly upwind / downwind sailing and really tested technical sailing skills and the ability to read the subtle offshore wind shifts.  

Out at sea again Rob Mitchell (Dart 16) was tight of the stern of the Wright's 18 and as the chasing bunch of cats hardened-up to complete the first sausage. Mitchell split tacks in a classic strategy hoping to pick up a wind shift advantage in the long beat back to end the first lap.

John Summerfield - Spring Cup 2016

Picture above: Race Winner - John Summerfield sailing his 'Solo' Dinghy

By the end of the first lap the Martin & Debbie were starting to get back into the race after their over-early but were again caught by the tide and touched the ODM requiring them to perform a 360 penalty.

The catamarans completed 3 laps whilst the monohulls just 2 and boats finished in close procession.  

In an exciting finish Sam Ranson called water ahead of James Foxon as they luffed-up around the ODM and had the satisfaction of crossing the finish line less than a second ahead. 

James Foxon, who recently qualified as Dinghy Instructor was of course many seconds ahead in his Laser One on handicap and is starting to show his race potential for a  creditable 2nd place overall.  

Special mention

Special mention goes to Commodore Derek Cheek, more usually to be found taking care of the logistics to allow other people to sail this week enjoyed competing racing his Dart 18 catamaran single-handed.

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