Double Dan - Race Report - July 2017

Last Sunday Clacton Sailing Club organised the annual long distance race back from Brightlingsea known as The Double Dan.

Crews on the Beach - Double Dan 2017

There was a healthy turn-out of CSC catamarans that were joined by an equal number of dinghies from Gunfleet SC on the cruise along the coast to start line in what promised to be record-breaking conditions with moderate to fresh northwesterlies and spring tides.

Robert Mitchell and Mark Butchers sailed to victory in their Dart 16 once the handicap had been calculated and took little over an hour to complete the course.

Congested waters

More used to sailing on the open coast the congested waters of Brightlingsea creek seemed a little crowded to the visitors.

A strongly ebbing tide and following winds threatened to carry the boats over the start line early and in the 5 minute start sequence the river seemed full of crossing sailboats frantically having to avoid each other, moored yachts and other river traffic.

Cats Start - Double Dan 2017

Picture above: Catamarans head off at start

In the closing seconds Matt Burrell with his crew Dan Brzezinski managed to thread one of their bows of their Hurricane cat between the boom and hanging mainsheet of Andy Dunnett’s Laser. Once untangled both boats fortunately went onto make clear starts.

Over early

It was with some relief that Race Officer Martin Chivers recorded just Stelios Tabis and his crew Jeoff Parmay as being over-early in the 20’ Nacra requiring them to re-start.
The fleet raced away out into the relative open waters to pass the only mark of the course at the Point Clear sandbank.

Brightlingsea Sailing Club members brothers James and William Stacey were first over the start line and became the chase boat sailing a near perfect race to cross the finish line as first boat home in just 53 minutes. Handicap calculations relegated them to 3rd place overall.

The Spitfire was chased by three Hurricanes and two Dart 16s with the dinghy fleet close behind and made a fabulous spectacle racing first south then east then north east around the coast.

Mono's Start - Double Dan 2017

Pictured above: Monohull sailors begin race

Having crossed the line in second position Brian Allen and Ian Wright despite sailing fast made a tactical error of heading too far offshore in their Hurricane hoping perhaps the gains from the stronger tide would outweigh the increased distance compared with hugging the coast.

Larry Foxon and Mike Rolfe in the next Hurricane pointed high and took 500m off the Allen boat but were over-hauled and eventually beaten by Burrell and Bzezinski by just 3 minutes.

Epic battle

But it was to be an epic battle between the two Dart 16’s that would go on to place 1st and 2nd place overall.

Mark Venables sailing with his son George were able to point higher than the Mitchell / Butchers cat and soon built up a healthy lead. Both Dart 16's hugged the left side of the creek as previous event experience had proved this to be the best option.

Robert Mitchell & Mark Butcher - Double Dan 2017

Pictured above: Winners - Robert Mitchell and Mark Butcher

At the top of the creek the Venables had to put in an additional tack to clear the St. Osyth beach. Michell had reduced the lead at this stage and managed to clear the beach without tacking which proved decisive.

The wind direction meant that the catamaran dominated the results this year with the first 5 places.

The dinghies of course enjoyed their own race within the race with Lasers, Solution, RS200 and a Hobie 405 all led home by brothers Jack & Paul Berry sailing their Fireball into 6th place overall.

Special thanks to Brightlingsea Sailing Club for once again hosting the start of the race, without them this race would not be possible.

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