Class Series 3 & 4 - Race Report - June 2017

Clacton Sailing Club held 2 truly epic races back-to-back last Sunday to continue the Class Series of races.

Mike Rolf & Larry Foxon - Class Series 3 & 4 2017

Clacton Sailing Club held 2 truly epic races back-to-back last Sunday to continue the Class Series of races.

Force 4 SW winds for the first race built steadily to become a solid Force 5 with long rolling swells offshore that provided a real work-out for the sailors.

Race Officer Cathy Mitchell set a leggy course to allow the fast catamarans to properly get into their stride with each race designed to last about an hour.

To hit the start line on starboard tack ready to head out to sea and to make the most of the beneficial flooding tide the cats had to manoeuvre close inshore worrying close to the rocky sea defences in the closing seconds.

In the first race Rob Mitchell sailing with his now regular crew Mark Butchers made the perfect getaway from the line at speed as the start gun sounded closely followed by Larry Foxon and Mike Rolfe in the Hurricane 5.9 and Pete Boxer & Eilish Dempsey in their Dart 18.

Matt Burrell had teamed-up with Brian Allen in the other Hurricane were late off the start but sportingly raced on using the opportunity to tune-up together; In July CSC will again welcome back the National Hurricane fleet and will host a weekend of racing and the local teams are determined to repeat their last years success.

The upwind leg was followed by a wild broad reach out to sea with the crews freeing the sails and trapezing off the rear beams fearful of allowing the bows to dig in with risk of a catastrophic pitchpole.

Larry & Mike led the fleet from this point onwards but could never really shake the chasing Dart 18.

Easing further into a downwind leg the helms gunned the fast cats down the swells with the crews playing the sails and the trimming the hulls intentionally nose-down.

Steering from the rudders at these speeds becomes loose and the body posturing of the sailors marks the difference at the front of the fleet.

Luffing hard at the lower mark the course allowed the windward mark to be made as a close fetch as the first leg of the 'sausage' and then again back downwind ridding the deepening swells before heading back inshore to complete the lap.

The first race was shortened to 2 laps and when the handicaps were calculated Boxer & Dempsey took first place with Mitchell and Butchers 2nd and Foxon / Rolfe in 3rd.

The second race began just 5 minutes after the last boat finished race one. Again the cats clustered close to the rocks and in the closing 10 seconds Boxer & Dempsey ran to the ODM and tacked off to make perfect Port Flyer. Bad judgement convinced them however they were over-early and they dipped back to re-cross the line again leaving Foxon / Rolfe space to escape with a perfect start. This time however the other Hurricane was also on track and gave chase hard on their tail.

The 2nd race was a fascinating demonstration of two evenly matched fast cats match-racing each other in strong winds with the lead changing at least 4 times and the two boats rarely more than a few boat lengths apart.

The Race Officer allowed the full 3 laps to really test the performance and stamina of the fleet.

Mike Rolf and Larry Foxon - Autumn Leaf 2016

Pictured above: Mike Rolf and Larry Foxon

On the first lap Burrell and Allen might have appeared to have the edge but Foxon and Rolfe dug deep seeming to discover a new gear and mirrored the techniques. Both boats pushed each other to raise their game such that it was no surprise once the handicaps times were adjusted that Larry Foxon and Mike Rolfe came in a thoroughly well-deserved first place. Boxed & Dempsey split the Hurricanes for 2nd and Burrell and Allen came in 3rd.

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