Sports Festival Trophy Update

The breeze was beginning to whine through the rigging as the Sports Festival All-in Handicap competitors prepared for the worsening winds.

Sports Festival Trophy
And Dart 18 Class Points 4
15th August

The breeze was beginning to whine through the rigging as the Sports Festival All-in Handicap competitors prepared for the worsening winds. Just the intrepid Dart 18 catamaran sailors were on the water, readying themselves for the preliminary flag sequence to unfold.

Just after the start flag dropped two cats came to a classic port/starboard dilemma, with the starboard boat (wind coming from the right hand side – for landlubbers!) having right of way. A smart change of tack to clear the line saw Martin & Simon Chivers escape unscathed and power towards the first turning mark, whilst the ‘offending’ boat capsized in their efforts to stay clear.

The remaining Darts sheeted in hard to chase after Team Chivers. It then became a cat-and-mouse game, with diverging courses to fight the steadily increasing winds and building seas bringing several spectacular capsizes. With good seamanship – and no doubt a little luck – just two boats keeping upright throughout the race, bringing them home 1st and 3rd overall, the positions split by Liam & Ian Wright, despite several capsizes. All but one of the remaining cats had chosen the prudent option to retire as the wind had developed into a gusting Force 5 as they came safely ashore.

However, the drama began way out to sea, with John Sewell & Eddie Parsons fighting a fearsome gust and completing a spectacular pitch-pole somersault to end up completely upside down. Neither sailors were injured and they began to plan how to turn it the right way up again – catching glimpses of the Club’s safety boat making its’ way to them. But here the problems began to escalate – the tip of the mast was buried in the sandy bottom and took some while to extricate it. Almost bobbing along like an oversized pogo stick, the mast finally broke , making the rescue and retrieval a lot easier. With the sea current running with the wind, the safety boat towed the still upturned cat back to shore, landing at Gunfleet Sailing Club’s ramp, where it was collected and returned to CSC on a road trailer.  The whole incident was kept under observation by a mobile crew from the Coast Guards, who only moved on when they were satisfied all was well. Many thanks to the Coast Guards and the Club’s safety boat teams.

The results were:-

Sports Festival Trophy

1st Martin & Simon Chivers
2nd  Liam & Ian Wright
3rd  James & Harry Parsons

The winds continued to increase as the incoming tide swallowed up the beach, preventing launching for the afternoon’s Dart Class Points 4 and the race was postponed, to be sailed at a later date to be advised.