Impromptu Race - Race Report - September 2016

Clacton Sailing Club had been due to hold their Double Dan race on Sunday, however the weather conditions were deemed unsuitable for long-distance sailing.

Robert Mitchel and James - Unscheduled Race 2016

Pictured above: when two Dart 16's Collide

Unscheduled race

Instead, due to popular demand, an unscheduled race took place, only the hardiest of members took to the water.

The fleet comprised of two intrepid mono sailors in their respective Lasers, while the older members opted to double up on Dart 16 catamarans.

First across the line were Robert Mitchell and Larry Foxton, on the Dart 16, closely pursued by Mark and George Venables, also on a Dart 16, James Foxton was third across the start in his Laser.

Spray and massive waves

The Dart crews took to their trapezes in order to steady the already flying hulls and this was quite a spectacle for beach onlookers, despite the spray and massive waves obscuring the view.

On the final approach to the first buoy, Mitchell and Foxton found themselves in close proximately of Mitchell and new crew James, Mitchell and James called starboard, insisting that according to racing rules the other Dart give way.

Glancing blow

Unfortunately, due to a wind gust, neither boat could bear away and a glancing blow was received by Mitchell and James, this meant Mitchell and Foxton had to perform a 360-degree forfeit and cost them valuable time.

Rounding the buoy, the Venables team were hot on the beam of Mitchell and James.


Foxton battled the rough conditions admirably and kept on the relentless chase of the Darts, he appeared to be closing the gap finding himself still in third position, unfortunately for him while gybing at the seaward mark the conditions got the better of him causing several capsizes which ultimately resulted in a retirement.

Meanwhile, at the back of the fleet, Toby Mitchell, in his Laser, found the conditions to be a test of his sailing skills and after several capsizes he too called it a day and retired.

Dan Brzezinski and Brian Allen, sailing the yellow-hulled Dart 16, courageously made headway to catching the leading boats, respecting the now massive waves and wind gusts that could easily cause a pitchpole if not tamed.


The Venables were not so lucky as George found himself being catapulted round the front of the Dart, still attached to the trapeze wire. Gasps from onlookers were heard as the Dart subsequently nosedived and appeared to wholly leave the water, showing the underside of the trampoline and back beam aloft before hitting the sea unceremoniously.

Miraculously, no-one was injured and the Venables swiftly regained control, righted the Dart and continued the race but it was soon found that the tiller extension had been broken and they too took early retirement.

Mitchell and James, now completing the first lap, found themselves in the lead, followed by Mitchell and Foxton.

Mast falls down

Brzezinski and Allen continued to battle but were unlucky to have a mast shroud break causing the mast to fall down, ironically, Allen was on the trapeze which managed to slow the mast’s descent.

They were aided by rescue teams Neil Warn and crew Pauline and ultimately towed to the shore by Derek Cheek and Toby Mitchell.

The race officer at this point called time, shortened the race and the remaining fleet landed safely.

The Worthy Winners

Robert Mitchell and James were worthy winners and enjoyed their well-earned prize.


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