Solstice Sailing & 'Martins Mile' - News Report - June 2016

Early morning walkers at Holland-on-Sea would have been surprised last Sunday to see dinghy sailors already out at sea as the sun rose at 04:30 for the Clacton Sailing Clubs traditional 'Solstice Sail' later followed by 'Martins Mile'

Early Starters - Sunrise Sail 2016

Pictured above: Early starters keen to set sail at 4.30am

Solstice Sail

Right on que the sun broke through the low cloud to reward the privileged few with a glorious sunrise as a flotilla of club Toppers and Topaz dinghies tacked and  gybed in close formation.

Newcomers to the event this year Mark & Kathy Venables even launched their Dart 16 catamaran to join the fun before all heading up to the clubhouse for a well deserved full English breakfast.

Three Club Boats - Sunrise Sail 2016

Picture above: On the water, three friends make use of the Club Boats

'Martins Mile'

Racing then got underway with 'Martins Mile' that introduced an experimental format with competitors racing a measured nautical mile around 2 gybe marks.

Free to start whenever they chose and at liberty to make as many attempts as possible within an hour  individual timing was communicated on the water from the rescue boat.

Martin & Debbie Chivers, who had devised the event, were early pace setters in their Dart 18 catamaran with a 4 minutes 48 seconds lap time and the challenge was on.

The southerly wind was building throughout the hour such that times steadily improved as the sailors settled into their stride and learnt the fastest route.  

Daniel Brzezinski sailing his Dart 18 single handed made the most runs within the hour and experimented by coming into the gybe buoys wide aiming to exit fast and close.  
Larry Foxon sailing with James Parson in the Hurricane 5.9 hard on the heels of Pete Boxer & Eilish Dempsey in the Dart 18 chose a riskier option to slam-gybe at the marks.

Martin and Debbie Chivers - Martins Mile 2016

Picture above: Martin and Debbie Chivers set the pace in the 'Martins Mile' event

Matt Burrell teamed up with George Venables and really made their Dart 18 fly in the brisk winds and recorded 4 minutes 40 seconds to finish in 3rd place.

Rob & Kathy Mitchell joined in with their new Dart 16 and once the handicap was calculated came in 4th by just one second such is the standard of sailing now amongst the regulars.

James Foxon representing the dinghies had to use all of his leverage to keep his Laser racing hard and flat on the reaches whilst at the same time avoiding the catamarans on the busy race track.

In the end outright boat speed was complimented by acceleration out of the gybe and although Larry's Hurricane was undoubtedly fastest over the water it was the Darts that had the punch to get going again at the buoys.

Pete Boxer recorded the fastest time of 4 minutes 25 seconds with an average speed of over 13 knots. Martin & Debbie improved on their earlier time to finish in second place just 5 seconds behind.

All agreed the format was a fun work-out that helped to sharpen boat handling skills.