Haslett Mug - Race Report - April 2017

Well those that didn't will never know what they missed....great tactical racing in the morning then almighty blasting reaches along the coast in the pm.

Mike and Sue Suffield  - Haslett Mug 2017

Picture above: Conditions suit the experienced team of Mike and Sue Suffield in The Haslett Mug Race

Light offshore winds

With the combination of a light onshore wind forecast, cold temperatures and a strongly ebbing tide last Sundays Clacton Sailing Clubs Haslett Mug race was very nearly postponed.

Unable to bare the idea of not sailing and as the optimistic competitors rigged and prepared their boats for a ‘ghoster’ some tantalising puffs of winds started to play across the sea surface and Martin Chivers set a modest course with the option to shorten.

Over early

With the tide under the boats on the start line there was a real risk of going ‘over-early’ and the start signal was indeed immediately followed by a second blast indicating that one or more boats had made false starts.

Both Mike & Sue Suffield in their RS200 dinghy and Daniel Brzezinski in his Dart 18 turned back and re-crossed the line leaving Brian Allen to sail clear in his Dart 16 catamaran.

Critical tacking

In the still relatively light winds judgement was critical to know when to tack or gybe to either use or counter the effect of the tide around the triangular course.

Husband and wife team Mike & Sue have been sailing together for 20 years much of the time in the tidal estuary of Salcombe and as such are quite the experts in these conditions. Tacking the RS dinghy to take advantage of the wind shifts surely gave them an advantage upwind over the less agile catamarans.

Once around the windward mark the fleet headed off on a broad reach to a seaward buoy and then back downwind to the ODM. Brian Allen was first to hoist his spinnaker and challenged Pete Boxer and Eilish Dempsey who were by this time leading in their Dart 18.

Mike & Sue with their kite up could sail lower and surf longer on the rolling swell in their flat bottomed dinghy. Once round the ODM it became obvious they could also point higher than the cats in these conditions as they began the sausage leg back to the seaward mark.

Upwind and downwind legs

Upwind and downwind legs split the fleet of dinghies and cats and it was hard to predict the effect of the handicap adjustment on the final positions. The original course was shortened to two laps and after an hour and a half of racing just 5 seconds split the first two places.

Well deserved winners

Mike & Sue Suffield were the well-deserved winners having come second in the same race last season. The couple only stated sailing together at the age of 50 proving that age need not be a barrier to competitive sailing.

Now we have a week in recovery then it's next weekend to do it all over again.

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