Dennis Wood Cup - Race Report - May 2017

More great racing this Sunday for the Dennis Wood Cup.

The Crews - Dennis Wood Cup 2017

A hardy bunch of club sailors gathered for the start of the Dennis Wood Cup last Sunday at Clacton Sailing Club in chilly north westerly winds under grey skies.

Father & Son team

Using this last chance to tune-up before the National Championships father and son team Ian and Liam Wright led from the start in their Dart 18 catamaran and went on to claim the win.

They were closely chased from the gun with Larry Foxon and Mike Rolfe in their Hurricane and Rob Mitchell in his Dart 16 coordinating their line charges to the second.

Broad reach

The fleet first headed offshore on a broad reach where the strength of the ebbing tide became noticeable.

Mike Rolf and Larry Foxon - Dennis Wood Cup 2017

Pictured above: Raising the main sail, Mike Rolfe and Larry Foxon

The alert crews understood that it was possible to gybe early on this leg as the tidal leeway would help the cats drop down to the first buoy.

Neck and neck

Liam at the helm of the Wright Dart had sailed deep and reached this buoy ahead of the Hurricane but it was only a question of time; Hardening-up onto the first reach the two cats raced neck and neck with Larry and Mike easing ahead as the fleet headed back upwind to the ODM.

Pete Boxer and Eilish Dempsey in their 18 meanwhile were enjoying a tussle with Rob Mitchell sailing his 16 single-handed. Racing rules say that the overtaking boat must keep clear and with the following swell there was a moment when the faster Dart 18 nearly sailed up and over the back of the Dart 16 before finally managing to squeeze past upwind.

Off the pace

Dan Brzezinski will also be racing at the Dart 18 National Championships next weekend and used this race to tune-up with his new crew Brian Allen.  Slightly off the pace on the start line they could never get back with the leading pack but later went onto make rig adjustments as part of the never ending learning cycle of sailing.

Many opportunities

From the ODM the course led back out to the seaward and then off towards a buoy laid to the south with each lap being made up of two triangles.

Sailing back inshore into the fluctuating force 3-4 winds that veered during the race to the north created many opportunities.

Cats are notoriously slow to tack compared with dinghies so that it becomes more of a strategic decision whether to tack on a wind shift.

The Winners

Ian and Liam Wright - Dennis Wood Cup 2017

Pictured above: Ian and Liam Wright prepare before the race

Originally intended as an ambitious 4 lap race Commodore Derek Cheek shortened to 3 laps and pronounced Liam and Ian Wright as winners on handicap. We wish them every success at the National Championships next weekend.

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